As Seen On : Sarah Oleson

What begins a painting? A blank canvas. 

Sarah Oleson likens her yoga teaching practice to art; there should be freedom of expression, creativity, individuality, without judgement or expectation. As a yoga teacher myself, I had never thought of a yoga class in the same way as Sarah: a blank canvas. The more I pondered it though, the more I came to this as truth. The yoga classroom is a vehicle for creation, free movement and exploration; for both students and teachers. However as the teacher, it is your responsibility to create a space where your students can explore their own individual practice; a place for them to find their voice, where they can complete their blank canvas. 

I was able to spend time with Sarah recently, learning more about her efforts and perspectives, both in the yoga studio and beyond. She regularly teaches at various local studios and is a leader of yoga and wellness retreats all around the globe. Sarah also works closely with Lucy’s Love Bus, a local charity whose aim is to provide comfort and care to children battling cancer. September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and 10% of sales from amyvanderels.com this month will be donated to LLB’s Share the Love Campaign.

Sarah, thank you for helping us with our own blank canvas (As Seen On). And thank you for reminding us that we truly cannot waste a day.

In gratitude, 

Kayla

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Your primary occupation is teaching yoga. How many yoga classes do you typically teach each week?
Anywhere from 7-15, depending on the week and If I am away on a retreat or teaching private clients or outdoor classes. 

As a yoga teacher, how do you feel as you step in front of a room full of people at the beginning of class? How do you cultivate confidence for yourself? And for others?
The word authenticity comes to mind. I try to be me. Truthfully, I am always nervous before teaching each class but I see it as though I am just there holding space. Like a blank canvas that I hold up, each person in my class paints a different picture. Similar to art and traditional forms of artwork, not one piece of art would be the same & they are all equally accepted and beautiful. We are all the same. We have hearts and bodies and breath and we use them together. 

You also lead yoga retreats all around the world. What has this experience been like for you?
Teaching and leading retreats has truly been a dream job. I get people out of their comfort zone, take them to immaculate and glorious faraway places where they can re-set and get back to a sense of self.

sarah oleson  | photographed by  emily roscoe

sarah oleson | photographed by emily roscoe

You’ve carved your own path as a local entrepreneur. What do you find most rewarding? Challenging?
I would say the most challenging part is “shutting off the business”. When you work for yourself, you need to know when it is time to not work and have fun. I have my husband, (the most carefree and hilarious human I know) to always keep me in check and make sure I am not working too hard. The most rewarding piece: I have such a lovely community and support system here on the North Shore. It’s all of the connections I have made, seeing other entrepreneurs starting their new businesses, reaching out to them and collaborating in any way we can to hold each other up because that is what it’s all about, right?

How did you and Amy first connect?
Amy and I met at my favorite local coffee shop, the Market Square Bakehouse in Amesbury, Massachusetts. Some of her artwork hangs there and I had noticed customers were wearing her jewelry and it all clicked. Amy also frequents my yoga classes at Yogasmith in Amesbury! 

Do you wear Amy’s designs? What piece of Amy’s can you be seen wearing?
The Inuksuk Dangles with light blue amazonite gemstones.

How are you most often seen wearing your Inuksuk Dangles?
With Overalls! Or Yoga pants.

When you dress for the day, do you put on jewelry last? Or is it one of the first things that you think about?
Jewelry is the finishing touch. I usually am moving around, teaching yoga, taking yoga, so a cute pair of earrings can dress up my yoga clothes.

What does style mean to you personally?
Freedom.

You’re also involved with a local organization called Lucy’s Love Bus. Why did you feel a personal connection to the organization initially?
Lucy (And Lucy's Love Bus) is the reason why I do what I do: heal, connect, and  support. Lucy’s Love Bus was founded by 11-year-old Lucy Grogan, who was diagnosed with leukemia in July of 2002. I was Lucy’s babysitter. I watched her laugh, cry and fight her way through four years of cancer treatment. During this time,  Lucy found relief from intense pain and anxiety through integrative therapies such as massage, Reiki, meditation, acupuncture, music therapy, and therapeutic horseback riding which were not covered by her insurance (as they often aren’t). It was Lucy’s wish to make sure that sick children could have access to free integrative therapies to manage the debilitating side effects of medical treatments. Lucy did not survive cancer, but her legacy of care and compassion live on through Lucy's Love Bus. To date, the organization has helped over 2,500 families and children all over the country with a healing center in Amesbury. 

Any thoughts or words for someone who might be looking to support or get involved with a local organization as you have done with LLB?  
Giving back keeps us all thriving. I have had the most rewarding moments seeing the families at Lucy’s Love Bus benefit from our programs. We are lucky to have our breath and be able to smile. Reaching out to a local non-profit like Lucy’s Love bus will remind you that each day is a gift, so do not waste it.

More information about Sarah and her yoga practice can be found at saraholesonyoga.com

And one more fun thing : This month’s As Seen On featured, the Inuksuk Dangles, are 20% off at check out
[ a little thank you for letting us share our story with you, and for reading until the end! ]

If you or someone you know wears Amy’s pieces and is interested in being featured, please reach out to us. We’d love to learn more about you and what you wear.

As Seen On : Jesika Theos

There is an art to capturing the essence of something: a portrait, a landscape, a piece of jewelry. Through the view of a camera lens, a photographer works to communicate a subject’s truth, true nature, original form, and beauty. For the photographer who works to do this, I imagine it to be a fulfilling creative challenge yet, no small feat. 

Jesika Theos is the photographer and visionary behind the product, portrait and brand photography for Amy Vander Els. Jes actually started out in front of the camera, as the model for Amy’s first jewelry catalog in 2017. Since then, Jes and Amy have been working together, supporting each other's creative ventures, collaborating on new ideas in the studio, developing the branding and capturing the essence of Amy’s jewelry.

I was able to witness their collaboration one time while I was working with Amy in the studio, cutting and filing shapes of silver and brass. Amy and Jesika were working on styling some photos for Amy’s latest catalog that she was prepping for a trade show. From my perspective, I saw two badass, female creatives and entrepreneurs on the ground (literally) capturing hot-off-the-soldering-block designs. They each anticipated where the other was going, knew what they wanted to capture, and supported each other throughout the process. I can say confidently that creative sparks were flying. 

Jes, I have to say, I’m now a little relieved that these posts are Q&A format as capturing a capturer feels a little like baking a cake for a baker. You wonder how it tastes for them and if you misread the amount of sugar. 

Was it ¾ or ¼ cup? 

Bon appetit, 

-Kayla

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What piece(s) of Amy’s can you be seen wearing, and what do you like to pair them with?
Primarily the Arrow Dangles, Amy's stud earrings and the Liber Necklace.

I like dressing up something casual like jeans and a tee shirt with a statement earring. It takes the whole outfit up a notch. I mostly wear my pieces day to day, but I love that they are versatile and can work both ways.

Is jewelry the first thing you think about or the last thing you adorn with when it comes to outfitting for the day?

It depends; Sometimes I have a piece of jewelry that I really want to create an outfit around on a certain day, and other times I will start with something simple to wear and then feel the need to jazz it up a bit with a piece of jewelry.

You're the photographer behind the photos of Amy's designs and work. What has that experience been like for you? How has it been collaborating with a friend and co-creator?
Amy and I have a similar fluid approach to our creative process, which I love. We will plan a bit headed into a photo shoot but we both like to leave a lot of room for magic to unfold. 

What do you enjoy most about working in the creative field or working as a photographer?
Owning your own creative business comes with its fair share of ups and downs, but you learn to ride the waves and slowly become empowered by sustaining them. I feel very grateful to be doing something that I love that allows me flexibility, quality of life and many creative outlets.

What is your perspective on personal style or design?

It's interesting to think about how my personal style has evolved over the years. Before I invest in something I try to really think through whether I feel it's something I am going to feel excited to wear. I've been working on pairing down the number of things I own to the items that I really love and make me feel like a badass.

Have your jewelry preferences or style changed at all since Amy started designing and making her own? If so, how so?

I like how Amy thinks about design and functionality. She designs pieces that can be worn both out to dinner but also while practicing yoga. I am usually one to take off all my jewelry before I exercise or sleep, but I like the concept of jewelry that can be worn through it all.

How have you and Amy come to know each other? I’m curious to know how you two met…

We met through a mutual friend who introduced us because we were both into jewelry making. At the time, I had just moved to the East Coast and was toying with the idea that might start a jewelry making business. I quickly learned that I would get hung up on the small things in jewelry making and couldn't get past them. So began my search for another creative outlet, where I eventually found photography.

How has your relationship with Amy evolved over the years that you've known her?

Amy is one of the main reasons I felt it was possible to start my own business. I observed her business steadily grow and evolve and it made me feel that it was possible. She has been a enormous source of inspiration and support throughout our friendship.

More information about Jesika and her photography can be found at https://www.jesikatheos.com/

And one more fun thing : This month’s As Seen On featured, the Arrow Dangles, are 20% off at check out
[ a little thank you for letting us share our story with you, and for reading until the end! ]

If you or someone you know wears Amy’s pieces and is interested in being featured, please reach out to us. We’d love to learn more about you and what you wear.

As Seen On: Linda Vander Els

A mother’s support and love is often simple, pure, and entirely full.

Mothers can seem to flow seamlessly from career advisors, to medical practitioners, to bakers and chefs, to best friends, to that person you can always count on for an extra set of hands. There is often no end to their duties, roles, or talents. If this wasn’t enough, they manage all with strength, ease and grace.

With Mother’s Day in mind, I was able to connect with Amy’s mother, Linda Vander Els. She shared not only which of Amy’s designs she personally loves but also, heart-warming simple aspects of her relationship with her daughter, Amy.

To Amy’s mom, Linda, thank you. Thank you for being a reminder of all that mothers do.

-Kayla

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As Seen On: Linda Vander Els

What piece(s) of Amy’s can you be seen wearing?

My favorite pairs are the Lac Dangles, the Sanctum Hoops and Gira Dangles.  I wear these regularly! And actually, I only wear Amy's designs.

You're a mother of three. Has your relationship with Amy developed in a new way or different way?

Amy is the youngest of my three children and I love having her living close to home and family. When she taught internationally for 7 years, her travels provided many amazing opportunities for growth and exploration, for both Amy and for us. Now having her nearby is wonderful!

Have your jewelry preferences or style changed at all since Amy started designing and making her own? If so, how so?

Amy's creations have encouraged me to wear more bold, larger earrings.

Like Amy, you're a former teacher. To what passions do you allocate your time to now?

After a career of teaching kindergarten and first grade I am very happily retired and take classes in quilting, watercolor painting and encaustic painting with Amy.

Linda Vander Els

Linda Vander Els

And I understand that you also support Amy and help her in the studio?

Yes, I spend a few hours a week packaging Amy’s products for stores and shows which gives us an opportunity to spend time together chatting. Amy's artistic creativity and development of her jewelry and encaustic paintings and classes are so rewarding to observe and be a small part of.

Linda in the studio

Linda in the studio

What piece(s) of Amy’s can you be seen wearing?

My favorite pairs are the Lac Dangles, the Sanctum Hoops and Gira Dangles.  I wear these regularly! And actually, I only wear Amy's designs.

Anything else you'd like to share?

I am incredibly proud of all three of my children [artist Wendy V.E. Kaye and educator Jonathan Vander Els ]

Linda Vander Els

Linda Vander Els

If you or someone you know wears Amy’s pieces and is interested in being featured, please reach out to us. We’d love to learn more about you and what you wear.

As Seen On: Kayla Doyle

Hello and welcome to As Seen On.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Kayla Doyle. I work as Amy’s studio assistant helping her with general production, wire cutting, beading, and support with other random tasks that need completion. I also help Amy avoid talking about herself by way of taking command of her blog.

I am a curious person. I tend to ask a lot of questions, wonder about various perspectives, and work to understand how another’s shoes feel or rather, how another’s jewelry fits.

And that’s exactly what we will be doing here, in this space. Each month, we will be introducing you to the wearers: customers who have become friends, friend who have become customers. These people have championed her and her work and make all of this so fulfilling for Amy. These individuals may be fellow creators, teachers, mothers, entrepreneurs, people of all kinds. We’ll be sharing small glimpses into their lives. We’ll ask them about themselves, what they wear, and why they love wearing it. We’re calling it As Seen On.

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As Seen On: Kayla Doyle

How did you come to meet Amy?

Amy and I met for coffee one morning per the suggestion of my brother, Greg who has come to know Amy and her cappuccino order from working at the Market Square Bakehouse in Amesbury, Mass. We certainly had overlapping passions and an initial great connection and little to my knowledge, I was on a job interview.

Kayla Doyle, The Corus Hoop

Kayla Doyle, The Corus Hoop

Where are you located? Hometown?

After five years of living in Boston, I recently relocated to Newburyport, MA. I grew up in one of the surrounding towns so it certainly feels like a coming home. I love where I live and I feel lucky to say that.

What piece(s) of Amy’s can you be seen wearing?

I can be seen wearing the Corus Hoops. I wear them as an everyday statement. I love the straight lines juxtaposed against the roundness of the circle. They make me feel dressed up and casual, understated yet just statement enough.

Where can you be seen wearing them? Why do you enjoy wearing the Corus Hoops?

In addition to working for Amy, I am also a yoga teacher. I love wearing these earrings for teaching class. Of course, I wear yoga clothing to instruct but I like to show up to my classes in a way that makes me feel confident. It’s important to me that I prepare and dress in a way that communicates to my students that I care about the class and take pride in my role. It is jewelry that communicates a piece of “me” and my style to the world. I also really love that the hoops are mixed metal because it’s hard for me to commit to just one.  

Do you create? What are your passions? Occupation?

In addition to the work that I already mentioned, I am a painter and an artist. Living in Boston and working in the corporate advertising world caused me to drift away from my art for almost five years. I am now reconnecting back to charcoal and watercolor mediums. This began for me at 10 years old when I began taking watercolor lessons with my art teacher, Joan Gessner. Time with her was (and still is) special to me. Years ago, my lessons with Joan began and took place in the same space where I now work for Amy. Full circle, you could say.

What would you say to someone who feels a motivation to create something but isn’t quite sure how?

Simply begin.

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If you or someone you know wears Amy’s pieces and is interested in being featured, please reach out to us. We’d love to learn more about you and what you wear.