the portfolio

I'm often asked about how I ended up in the jewelry trade. Where did I learn jewelry making techniques? Did I always want to sell jewelry...what's my backstory?

Over Christmas my younger sister bought my nine year old daughter a friendship bracelet kit. Josie opened it up in a hot second and was making matching bracelets for everyone. Abbey laughed and said it so reminded her of me, when I was her age, hawking friendship bracelets out of my caboodle on the playground to all of my friends. I really have no memory of this so it was especially hilarious to me.

I do remember my first real jewelry success was in the fourth or fifth grade when my best friend at the time who also happened to have the same name, both going by Becky decided to sell clay jewelry under the name "Becky's Garden" at a church bizarre. We made the cutest little tags and coming up with the display was one of the best parts. I have not a clue how much we sold but I totally recall that incredible feeling of creating beauty with my very own hands and being absolutely enamored with watching someone else put it on and delighting in how it made them feel...I was hooked.

In my early twenties as a newly wed I got an amazing job at a bead store in Seattle and literally could not contain my excitement (or a paycheck!). I bought all the gorgeous gemstones and learned silk and wire techniques and loved helping customers design their own masterpieces. I went on to teach a few wire classes before ending that chapter and leaving to have my four babies but I will never, ever forget how special that job was to me.

I made wire jewelry. I sold a line of ruffle necklaces in 2009 under the name Orangepoppy and even did a huge show in New York City during the holidays. It was a bust after the worst snow storm in a hundred years trapped everyone in the city but it was a really amazing experience nonetheless.

And then in 2013 I went to a conference with Bob Goff who was speaking on the act of love and he challenged everyone in attendance to do something small to love someone and handed each of us five dollars to carry out our task. Of course I bought seed beads and made earrings and sold them to raise money for his school in Uganda. And out of that five dollars came Rebekah Gough Jewelry as it is today. I just love making jewelry and it always seems to find me again, weaving it's way into my hands and heart.

But I still doubt. I question if I am doing what I am meant to be doing, what's my purpose, am I on the right path? It struck me today that I have been on this path all my life. And even if I quit selling jewelry I know I would continue to fall back into making it because I just can't help myself, it's how I was designed. That feeling of watching someone put on something I've created and instantly feeling more beautiful and valuable is still so powerful to me. It's why I keep going.

Sometimes I think we overcomplicate our purpose. Or we think we need permission to bring our gifts out into the world. But honestly the act of living out who God created us to be is all it takes to bring beauty and value into the places we find ourselves. Loving others with our hands and heart and the gifts that we've been given.

So what's that thing you've always loved to do, are you sharing it with the world?

And no, I've never had any formal training in jewelry making. :)

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