Aileen Ritchie has been making jewellery for around a year now and is the latest artisan to be welcomed to the Uncovered Artistry team. What began as a way to make personalised gifts for her mother and sisters has turned into a collection that Aileen and Uncovered Artistry are proud to share with others. When describing the decision to move from creating gifts for loved ones to selling her work to the public, Aileen notes that pursuing her MBA in Business Administration was a motivation for her, saying that now ‘I feel empowered and capable to really put my work out there.’
In comments like these, Aileen shows herself as someone who embodies the core concept of Uncovered Artistry. After all, the boutique was formed under the belief that empowerment can be found in a relationship between creative processes and the uplifting effects of selling this work in a business setting. This empowerment felt by our artisans then ripples out to those buying their work. As Aileen herself states, ‘If a person thinks that my art is beautiful or valuable enough to buy it and own it, I know that he or she will really cherish my time and energy’ and, as a result, ‘I feel like I am sharing a piece of myself and passing on a story’.
‘Story’ is a word that Aileen finds difficult to avoid when discussing her work. As well as currently studying business and intending to pursue a career in the field, Aileen has been highly creative her whole life and stories have always been an influence of hers. On the topic, she says: ‘I’ve always been an artist. Growing up, I sketched all the time and made miniature sculptures from polymer clay (the kind that you bake in the oven). When I was an undergrad at UC Berkeley, I became extremely passionate about ceramic sculpture. I double majored in art and English literature – and studying literature often inspired my next sculpture. I am inspired by stories, real and imagined. I want to push people’s perspective into new and exciting places, so each person can experience something different, new, and thoughtful. Every person has a unique story, and I want to give a voice to these stories.’
The importance of imagination and story to her work can easily be seen in her jewellery’s whimsy. Her pieces incorporate models of reality recreated in miniature, which bring forth fairy-tale connotations from tiny, playful artefacts and images of nature. In Aileen’s work, a key suggests the mystery of what lies behind the next door; while a bicycle offers the adventure of embarking upon your own story. Her use of these charms is apt when considering how charming these delicate and interesting necklaces are. If you want to involve yourself in a piece of Aileen’s story, you can buy one of her necklaces from our online boutique www.uncoveredartistry.com.
And if you love Aileen’s jewellery as much as we do, feel free to also check out her other work, from visual art to sculpture, in the links below:
Uncovered Artistry is an online shop selling the handmade art and jewelry of domestic and sexual abuse survivors. We support survivors of domestic violence by encouraging creativity and entrepreneurship, financially supporting survivors, and promoting awareness of abuse. Shop online at www.uncoveredartistry.com. Follow us on Twitter @UncoveredArtist.