"Compelled to Create"
A life of words. As a book opens a world of new colloquies, painting descriptions of love, tenacity and perseverance in the hearts of readers; so too does Shelah Ball through the love languages of her life.
Shelah is a woman who breathes a writer's soul into the handcrafted work of jewelry - binding the arts together in ornamental fashion. Her mind fixates on details entangled in her daily experiences. The feelings derived from them are thrust into the bracelets, necklaces and other handmade goods she designs. It's a form of communication that allows her to transfer feelings into palpable physicality. Feel it, make it, let it go. An ephemeral process fueling endless creativity. "It really just takes me over, and when I feel the need to create I can do it for two weeks straight," Shelah elaborates, "'Compelled to Create' has been my motto!"
Words hold a substantial amount of meaning within the jewelry designs. They are used to summarize the spirit and thoughtful driving forces behind each new piece. Family and friends often become muses in her work, "I'm good at reading people and love to encourage them. Giving someone a piece of custom jewelry with those messages is a way I can show them that they are seen and loved."
Exuberant and kind beyond words, Shelah carries a the vision to concinnate moments of impactful positivity in the lives of others, one creation at a time. “A piece of jewelry may not change a person’s life, but it can help empower them to navigate whatever they’re going through or trying to accomplish.” She's heard from those who wear the custom pieces that they have been impacted by the messages they carry.
For the woman who wishes to change the world through art, the life she has impacted the most is her own. Shelah versifies events over the years that have founded her benignity towards others, "I met a man last year who’s dedicated his life to encouraging others. He basically lives in poverty and I felt like I needed to give him something. I had a necklace with me that I spent more time and effort on than most pieces. It had a Native American vibe to it and I wanted to keep it for myself," Shelah tells, "I felt a voice compelling me to give this man the necklace as a gift he could give his wife." Although she felt sad to part with the necklace, Shelah knew he needed it more than her. "It was a very impactful moment."
The interaction left an imprint on Shelah. "It's that still small voice," she conveys, "It takes being present and seeking out opportunities to help others. When I feel it, I listen." Leading a life with that mindset has allowed daily interactions to have ever-increasing intrinsic value. It changes and challenges her to meet difficult moments with positivity and grace.
Shelah is very involved with her community. Volunteering for local organizations and fundraising events has helped her see the various needs present in Tuolumne County. “We all know there are a lot of issues,” she says, “but I believe if each one of us takes time to make a habit of pouring ourselves into our community, we will see it flourish.” Through the outreach, Shelah finds that the older community is encouraged to see people from younger generations involved. Many outreach groups active in the county are spearheaded by elders who aren't able to carry the torches forever. "We have to be active members in our community," she advocates. Shelah has an additional reason to care about what lies in the future of the community, as a mother to children growing up here.
Creating things for the people she cares for is always inspiring to the craft of design. Shelah has been adding items to her stock that originated with her own little ones in mind. While pregnant, she designed a teether and carseat toy which her daughter ended up loving. She now makes custom teething and carseat toys perfect for infants. The toys are made from natural wood animals creatures and soft silicone beading that is gentler for little hands and mouths than hard plastic toys. She will customize these toys with stamps upon request. Plans for more children's items including pacifier clips, baby butt spray and essential oil rollers are currently underway.
One of Shelah's favorite types of jewelry is created from upcycled keys stamped with meaningful words. For Christmas in 2018, she was gifted with a metal stamp kit which led to experimentation stamping words into keys. The way the keys came out inspired her to continue making them as gifts for family and friends, embellished with terms of endearment and encouragement. She hunts for keys to add to her collection and revels in unique finds. The keys are added to necklaces or key chains with complimentary beading and other elements for pops of color and flare. Much of her work involves the combination of metal work with leather, beading and stamped designs.
"I have a precise and intricate attention to detail," Shelah admits, "Being able to put that to use and use my hands to make intricate things is huge for me." She loves to put all the elements together, even with the inevitable imperfections of handmade crafting.
Shelah dabbles in a variety of creative outlets, music being one of the closest to her heart. "Up to this point I had put most of my creative effort into piano and singing. I’ve always painted and knit," she says, "and I love word art which of course transferred into my jewelry." With goals of wood-burning, engraving and expanding her line of handmades, Shelah will always have more wonderful things in store.
Find many wonderful pieces of Shelah's at various shops in Tuolumne including Mountain Home Gifts & Little Roots Toy shop in Downtown Sonora, The Clouterie at Twain Harte, Earthly Essentials & The Twain Harte Flower Cottage at The Nest. Soon Wanderfully Wild Creations will be featured at Sugar Clay Pottery Studio in Mi Wuk.
For online shopping, Wanderfully Wild Creations can be found here, on The BOP Shop jewelry page.