Our next featured artisan is Theresa Barger. Theresa makes handmade jewelry and accessories from all kinds of materials for her shop Apple and Azalea (links below!). While she mainly focuses on beadwork, including natural palettes for her rosary bracelets and morse code necklaces. She also creatively repurposes and up-cycles used t-shirts, plastic containers, and broken flea market jewelry to make new pieces!
What is your background?
I have a BA in Literature from Thomas More College in Merrimack NH which has served - and continues to serve - as an incredibly strong foundation for a life of learning, exploring and delighting in beauty. An Italian-Irish American, I am of course a cradle Catholic. But when growing up in the northeast, it is easy to be "ethically Catholic" and not terribly religious. I was lucky enough to have parents who had rediscovered their own faith as adults and who instilled in me a healthy love and respect for the Church and her traditions on an intellectual level and not just an emotional or cultural one.
How long have you been creating or supporting the arts?
My mom is an artist, and I have been creative my whole life. I have been making jewelry for about 13 years now. It originally started as something to keep me busy while nursing my 4th child. Of course she quickly got too squirmy to multitask like that, but I was hooked.
What inspires your work?
Living in rural NH, nature is often a source of inspiration. Also, when making accessories it is impossible not to be inspired by other makers or the current trends. However, sometimes it is just the material in front of my that gets the creative wheels turning.
What role does the artist/artisan play in society?
An artist's role in society is to show us the beauty we may not necessarily see on our own. It is an absolutely indispensable role and I think this applies to all artists, crafters, and artisans. Each one of their fields is essential to helping the rest of us experience this life to the fullest.
What is your dream project?
I am dying to work with resin and/or leather but don't have the tools to start messing around with other mediums right now.
What couldn't you live without?
I'd love to say something lofty like the works of a particular poet, but with six kids, if I'm being honest, it would have to be my vacuum.
appleandazalea.etsy.com or psq.re/appleandazalea