Coal Township artist turns trash to treasure
COAL TOWNSHIP - Spring in Shelby Foulds' garden brings dragonflies, butterflies and flowers, each intricately crafted from colorful beads strung on twists of wire.
Foulds is gifted at turning trash to treasure. Her rainbow-hued creatures provide the perfect decorative touch to her recently constructed "pallet garden," a Pinterest-inspired raised bed garden built from an old shipping pallet. Threads of larger beads hanging from a piece of driftwood provide gentle noise.
Foulds' crafty ways are rooted in a childhood filled with imagination. As a young girl, she was given a large bin of buttons from her grandmother, which she loved to sort and string together. By age 12, she had graduated to friendship bracelets, which she traded and gave to her classmates.
"I always beaded and did crafts," said Foulds.
She enrolled in art classes in school as well as extracurricular drawing classes, but most of her artwork is based on intuition rather than technique.
"I'm mostly self-taught," she said.
One of the reason her wire creations fit so seamlessly into gardens is because Foulds finds inspiration in the outdoors. She grew up in the countryside near Overlook and spent many hours playing outside.
She also takes inspiration in music. A self-described "Deadhead," Foulds attended music festivals and shows as a teenager. It was at these events that she first sold her jewelry.
She frequently wears pieces of chunky, colorful jewelry she makes herself. She also sews and enjoys making patchwork clothes.
"My taste is just all over because of my eclectic-ness," she said.
These days, Foulds' crafting has taken a backseat to her energetic, playful 2 1/2-year-old son.
"Life got busy," she said.
The reduction in production is one of the reasons Foulds will be selling Paparazzi Accessories at the Anthracite Heritage Festival in addition to a few of her own creations.
Foulds also cited the lower costs of a mass-produced item versus her own handcrafted items as a reason for the change. Paparazzi Accessories items costs $5 each, while a comparable item made by Foulds ranges between $20 to $25. "People don't want to pay for original art," said Foulds.
For admirers of Foulds' intricate beadwork who want to take matters into their own hands, she will be offering a four-week garden bead art class at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays beginning July 10 at the Northumberland County Council for the Arts and Humanities' Kallaway Center for the Arts in Shamokin.
Foulds strongly encourages people to join in with this weekend's art festivities, even if they don't already craft. She said she cannot emphasize enough how important she finds the council for the arts.
"Everybody is an artist, they just have to tap into it," said Foulds. "Without art, life would be boring."