One of the most crucial and overlooked aspects of being a successful artist requires having an almost intuitive sense of where the market is—and where it is going. Member artist Mary Beth St. Clair has delved into all aspects of the artist’s life, beginning as a bookkeeper and bank employee.
When she decided to stay at home raising her children, she brought along her business skills and a need to have a business. Soon, she and a friend entered the wholesale world, initially specializing in jewelry from Mexico and Arizona. Being open-minded entrepreneurs, they always kept their eye out for the next best idea. Handmade, hand designed bows, outlandish ones, creative ones, colorful ones—soon were selling off the shelves at boutique and children’s stores, eventually leading to custom tee-shirts.
Realizing retail would prove more economically viable, Mary Beth began working the craft shows, eventually focusing on jewelry: Murano glass beads, Roman glass. She added soldering skills to her repertoire, creating silver-capped pendants, and started to sell her “Moondrop Jewelry” at art shows. This led to a chance encounter with a man who hand-selected mined amber from Russia. He supplied twelve Americans. Admiring her work, he offered to include her. In this way, Mary Beth entered “the amber world” taking exquisite hand-selected pieces of golden, green-flecked, or densely yellow amber and surrounding them in lush customized silver settings, often floral in nature. She began winning best of show again and again, and today has collectors who want first pick of each new year’s collection.
Working in all price ranges, Mary Beth has added bracelets, earrings, and druzy pendants. The druzy’s—miniature geodes color enhanced using a titanium-based technique—are quite popular.
Today, a Best of Missouri Hands member, she shows her work in several galleries in Missouri and Illinois but she’s slowing down from doing 40 shows a year. “I am looking for something that gives meaning,” she admits, seeing a new line of jewelry that has personal inspiration. An opening reception will be held Saturday, June 8, from 5:00 until 8:00 pm. A piece of Mary Beth’s work will be given away in a free drawing held at 6:00. This reception coincides with Hannibal’s Second Saturday Gallery Nigh