Rachelle Martinez, Viridian Jewelry
Creative Medium: Beadwork
Coffee of Choice: Pour-over/ oat milk latte/ con panna
Freeform Philosophy: “I believe that if we create with the intent of love and happiness for all beings, then that will multiply in my own life and in the whole of consciousness.”
What differentiates a creative person from the rest of the pack? Is it inherent in her nature? The influence of a nurturing parent, teacher, or mentor? We believe that inside everyone is a unique drive to create, unbounded, in a free-flowing state that leads the creator to fulfillment both in their craft and in the larger sphere of their lives.
We recently sat down with our friend Rachelle Martinez to chat about the creative leap she made in starting Viridian Jewelry -- beautifully handcrafted beaded earrings -- in the heart of Sedona, AZ.
Rachelle Martinez of Viridian Jewelry.
Growing up in Colorado and Alabama, Rachelle was exposed to the outdoors as a girl, but it wasn’t until her adult life that she embraced more extreme outdoor sports like mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting and stand-up paddle boarding. During her twenties and early thirties she held jobs as a yoga and group fitness instructor, working in coffee shops, and owned a couple of successful businesses with her partner, Jon.
Rachelle’s creativity initially was channeled through movement, creating innovative yoga sequences and personal training regimens for her clients. But balancing that outlet with her business life had its drawbacks.
“When I was doing what I loved and moving more creatively I felt satisfied, energized, and inspired,” she recalled. “When Jon and I were running a business that was more structured, it had high stress and was not what I truly wanted to do. I found myself much less inspired, with decreased energy, and more stressed even when I wasn't working.” It was time for a change.
In October 2018, Rachelle experienced a devastating injury, falling from a cliff on a Colorado River trip in Grand Canyon. What could have been a fatal accident left her with limited mobility after three surgeries. Although she recovered spectacularly quickly, thanks to her years of physical training, she says, “Feeling a little restricted in my body movements led me to do something different that fulfilled that creative need in my life.”
“When I was doing what I loved and moving more creatively I felt satisfied, energized, and inspired.”
We often romanticize an “aha moment” when we realize our creative calling, but perhaps simply being open and curious leads us to the next step on our paths toward greater fulfillment. Such is the case with Rachelle, who observed a friend beading jewelry on a 2019 summer trip up the West Coast, just a few months after her final surgery. “I was in Bellingham visiting one of my friends that made earrings and she showed me a couple of things. Then I just started watching 'how to' videos and wanted to start exploring what I could do with beading on my own,” she said. “My first earring was not encouraging in how it looked, but I kept trying.”
Perhaps Rachelle’s drive and determination, skills she’s honed while scaling rock walls and mastering advanced yoga postures, had primed her for the inevitable setbacks one experiences when learning a new craft or artform. It takes bravery, humility, and perseverance to reach the next level.
Now, she finds inspiration everywhere. “It is very satisfying to think of a color pattern or style and actually make it come into a tangible piece that others might enjoy as much as I do,” she described. “I believe this has affected me in how I see the colors of nature in a different way. Before I made earrings, I loved seeing the colorful world around me, but now I feel like I can translate it into something we can wear to accentuate our style or beauty. I feel super proud of myself for learning a new form of art and pushing myself out of my comfort zone.”
In fact, she seems to thrive outside of her comfort zone. Whereas some people might shy away from river trips after a traumatic fall like she experienced, Rachelle has transformed that fear into insight, going back whenever she has the chance: “Being on the free-flowing water opens idea after idea,” she shared. “Watching the water and how it moves through the rocks, trees, and canyons is truly inspirational. It can be a little scary sometimes but overall, I’m happy to be on the river at the end of each day.”
"If we can open to more 'freeform' ideas of how things work, then we create endless possibilities of how to solve some of the world’s bigger issues or to make our lives better, and in turn help the whole human experience."
Movement and nature seem to be the common threads that weave through Rachelle’s life to fuel her creativity. “Some of the best pieces I have created came from when I was moving in nature and got a color palette idea,” she mused. “Then I come to my beads, turn on some good music, and either sketch out what I want to create or I just start making it. Good food and good drinks always make it easier to create!”
Her morning coffee ritual, along with moving her body before sitting down to her beadwork, helps set the scene for her creativity to flow. “The ritualistic process to grind, pour, and drink it is one of the things I love most about coffee, not to mention the amazing taste,” she said. “That meditative process helps me get into my work the same way. It also gives me the little extra boost to get things done and move through my day to create, be a mom, and run a business.”
Now, her days flow in a more unstructured way, letting her lead a freeform life on her own terms: “It’s free-flowing in creative expression and possibilities. That can feed into mothering, being a partner, friend, being a part of my small community, and also in the larger picture of the collective.
“If we can open to more 'freeform' ideas of how things work, then we create endless possibilities of how to solve some of the world’s bigger issues or to make our lives better, and in turn help the whole human experience. I believe that if we create with the intent of love and happiness for all beings, then that will multiply in my own life and in the whole of consciousness.”
“I love to have some structure to life but it really is beautiful when you can let go of the reins and see what magic can come about.”
Her advice for someone who might want to create, but doesn’t know how to start? “I suggest just playing with it and not having a lot of expectations. I had some big expectations at the beginning and found it made my experience less than desirable. Also, be OK with it not being exactly what you want it to look like at the beginning as it’s a process to get your complete idea out exactly like you envisioned it. I’m still working on that and hope to continue that process as I believe it makes our expression more unique and ever evolving.”
For most of us, bucking the structure of our day jobs or our responsibilities at home isn’t immediately attainable. Still, Rachelle’s transition to a freeform lifestyle didn’t happen overnight, and it’s not all river trips and jewelry making. She’s a mother and Real Estate investor with obligations like the rest of us. “I love to have some structure to life but it really is beautiful when you can let go of the reins and see what magic can come about,” she described. “Most of my most precious moments in life were when I had little agenda and allowed myself to be taken down the stream of life.”
Visit https://www.viridianjewelry.com/ to see Rachelle’s latest earrings or @wearviridian on Instagram for a look into her creative process.
Photos by Doug Berry http://www.dougberryimages.com/