Beth Van De Water in the studio with a black dog named Snow. Boulder, Colorado
Art has permeated my life, yet art as a profession came to me quite late. My path, like most of us, has not been predictable.
Engaging in the magic of children's minds has dominated my adult life. Guiding children to harness their potential while cultivating a deep respect for all the creatures and plants on mother earth, including humanity, has been my life's work. Underlying each year of teaching, was a desire to create something big with my hands not just my words.
I wanted to make life size elephant sculptures out of steel to show the power I felt as mother protecting her daughter from the ravages of domestic abuse. I wanted to be the matriarch of the elephant herd with her physical presence of strength and her unwavering determination to defend.
Alas, a welding class ended in a scorched backyard. (I have not been invited back to this friend's house!). I was driven to try a smaller torch and softer metal. . . I learned to solder and form silver, copper and gold. Etching allowed me to draw on metal to create small works of art sprinkled with precious stones and enveloping larger stones. A sense of whimsy and healing crept over me. The power of the life size sculptures to protect has given away to a desire to find the joy and heart in them first.
This moment of joy in creating small permanent pieces of art in silver and gold is precious. This feeling of peace permeates my work.
Some day still, I will make my life size elephant herd.
Through the profits from belle voir, I am able to donate money to women, climate change and of course the elephants in a way I would never be able to on my own.
3% of profits is donated to women: Women need power, safety, education and freedom of choice in order to strengthen our communities, and to raise loving children with dreams that can come true.
2% of profits is donated to climate change: We have an obligation to reverse the damage our lifestyle has brought upon our earth by dedicating our intellectual resources to creating sustainable and renewable pollution free energy sources.
1% of profits is donated to elephants: The creatures of this remarkable world need our attention. The elephant is a key species which demonstrates the devastation wrought by loss of habitat and human greed and war. Without intervention, the elephant may go extinct in our life time. This indicator species only hints at the peril of all the other creatures in its shared web.
I am in love with, my David whose humor disarms me and whose grace in the throws of life's magnificently challenging punches stuns me.
He never doubted my jerking wild path to find silver smithing. He supported the first raw fragments of this new course, bought my first soldering torch and lathe and provided space for my studio. His love envelops me.
I am a mother to one stunning daughter whose intense presence demands a shift in perspective.
My Alex, who will sit for hours in the studio with me, critiquing work, lending ideas, encouraging, building my website, and sometimes painting along side of me. She has never begrudged all the dinners the studio steals from her, the salads and treats she makes herself and brings to me.
To the countless teachers and lovely friends whose smiles and knowledge inspire me.
CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABILITY
belle voir uses stock metals sourced from manufacturers committed to recycled products, sustainability and humanitarian efforts.
belle voir uses gems stones and beads sourced as fair trade and conflict-free.