I recently vacationed in PEI, Canada, where I met Peter Llewellyn, a well-known artisan. Just six years ago, Peter left his work in the fish plant business with no idea of what he would do next. Returning home to PEI after an absence of 30 years, he had no hobbies and no particular skills outside of the business world.
It was through his family and friends that Peter came to have a connection with seaglass, pieces of old bottles and jars that wash up on the shore after years of being pounded by currents, tides and sand. Seaglass comes in many colours and dates from the 18th to early 20th centuries when sailing ships regularly visited the Island.
Peter discovered he was attracted to seaglass. Seeing a pendant made with it gave him the idea to try his own hand at making jewellery. With no previous experience, and no equipment, he started experimenting.
In his first year he was prolific, creating 58 different products. Today Peter has a large business and is recognized for his work all over the world. I asked him what has contributed to his success.
First, he embraces all the skills he has learned throughout his life, including the business and marketing experience he acquired in his previous career.
Second, he doesn’t limit his art to one modality. Although he started with jewellery, he now uses many media including carving sandstone and soapstone. He intentionally experiments and tries new things; partly because he is self-taught, he isn’t restricted about what he thinks he can do.
And third, he has a strong personality and is not afraid to stand out. He has built a unique brand that includes welcoming people into his studio to create their own treasures with his designs, and teaching crafts to children in his local community.
Peter’s life is a reminder and living example of how each of us can creatively bring all our skills and experiences together in a unique way. The clue is to be open to where the tides take us…
To find out more about Peter Llewellyn, go to http://www.shorelinedesignpei.com