Elisha Bonnis is a mother, teacher, portrait artist and jewelry designer. She recently moved to the Sunshine Coast, where she is fulfilling her dream of living in a community of artists and embarking on a second career designing and creating hand sculpted silver jewelry. While she only recently started up her small home studio, Naked Silver Designs, she has already carved out a niche for herself in local arts and crafts fairs, was one of the artists in the renowned Sunshine Coast Art Crawl, and her silver pieces are being carried in the Gibsons Public Art Gallery Gift Store.
Q. If you could give your past self some advice, what would you tell yourself?
There are so many things I wish I could tell my past self. I would tell her that she is intelligent and talented…that she is worthy of love and worthy of having dreams…that what she sees as flaws in herself will one day become her greatest strengths. I would not want to take away her challenges, but I would like her to know that one day she will love herself and believe in herself, and that she will experience great fulfillment through being a mother and a teacher, and through following her creative passions
Q. When you first started your career, how did you know you were ready and what made you start?
When I started my teaching career, I knew I had found my calling, because I experienced true joy every day. Even after 20 years, I often say to myself, “How is it possible that I get to spend my days with these miraculous little humans, that I get to use my creativity and have this much fun, that I am trusted to be such a profound part of their lives…and this in my job!”
I found a very different type of joy with my jewelry. Like many of us, the isolation and life changes that began with the ongoing pandemic led me on a completely different trajectory than I had ever imagined. I was already going through a profound trauma, and I had an overwhelming need to create art, to make something meaningful with my hands, to bring something beautiful into the world during a dark time. Every time I make a piece of art, I feel as if it is physically healing me, repairing wounds and feeding my soul. When other people love my work and want to buy it from me and wear it or give it to someone they love, it just completely blows my mind. It amazes me how fortunate I am to have two careers that bring me such happiness.
Q. What or who has been your greatest influence in business?
My mother has been my greatest influence in my business. She is a highly accomplished jewelry designer, and has been since I was a teenager. I worked for her for many years, and later in life we ran a jewelry business together. I did not even realize how much I had learned from her until I started designing my own jewelry. I am in awe and inspired by the skill and talent she possesses and has honed over many years, her incredibly high standards when it comes to quality and craftsmanship, and her courage to take risks and be totally unique and original in her designs.
Q. Do you have a mantra or phrase you live by? What is it?
When I am struggling with fear and insecurities, this quote brings me back to myself…
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”Marianne Williamson
Q. What is your number one priority when it comes to your career and daily work?
When I started making my jewelry, it was for the healing aspect and the bliss that it brought to my life. I want it to always be that for me. If people enjoy it and want to buy it for themselves, it will allow me to afford to keep creating…that is my dream.
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