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The Healing Arts

by: Stepheny Smith

I was never the creative type.  I simply didn’t have the patience. Life has a way of forcing you to learn new things, and I’m a prime example.  This is my story.

I still remember the first time I walked down an isle full of glass beads.  My jaw dropped, my eyes opened wide and glazed over.  It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. My love for glass had started years prior when I purchased my first tiny glass bell at a Victorian shop, but I had never seen glass in this form. There were rows upon rows of colors and shapes, just so full of sparkle and texture.  I was in awe.

It would be years before I purchased my first glass beads.  I was too busy working, going to community college, and raising three children. But that’s when life decided to force me to learn a few things.  It forced me to slow down.  About a year after I had graduated with an associate’s degree that had finally opened the door to the office world that I had always dreamed of working in, I got diagnosed with a rare kidney condition called Loin Pain Hematuria Syndrome, or LPHS.   With symptoms of chronic, intense kidney pain, I was no longer able to hold down a traditional job.

I soon found myself at home alone with all the time in the world, but unable to do much outside of those four walls.  That’s when I remembered those aisles full of beautiful glass beads, and I bought my first jewelry making set.  It was love at first necklace!  Once I started, I never stopped.  I sold at least a hundred pieces to family and friends when I decided to start selling on Artfire.com, an online market for handmade goods.  I decided on the name “Jewels of Eden” for my studio, because my middle name is Eden.

 Earlier this year, I joined a support group on Facebook for others who suffered with LPHS.  As a group we had decided to make August 1st the official LPHS Awareness Day.  As everyone was discussing what they were going to do to raise awareness, it came to me that I should make awareness bracelets!  It’s been a fun experience to work with my new friends, bringing them custom bracelets that help spread the word about the little known condition that has taught me so many new things.  For more information on LPHS, please visit www.livingwithlphs.co.uk.  To view my collection online studio, please visit www.Jewels_of_Eden.artfire.com. These beautiful photos by: Jocelyn Barco with Graceful Buckles Photography. She can be found on facebook under her business name.