Backstage at The Utah Arts Festival 2016: Anna Gieselman’s jewelry inspired by experiences as beekeeper


This year at the Utah Arts Festival’s Artists Marketplace, Anna Gieselman’s jewelry art (Booth 150) not only impresses visitors but also serves a large purpose as a percentage of sales proceeds is donated to nonprofit organizations dealing with the issues of vulnerability nature’s bee population endures. Bee Amour Jewelry showcases the work created by the artist who works in her Austin, Texas studio. She answered several questions in an email interview recently with The Utah Review.

annaatwork TUR: How have you used art media forms in helping to create an holistic body of artistic work that searches for a more complete expression of your own innermost and most powerful states of emotion, inspiration, contemplation and self-identity?

AG: My work as a jewelry artist is inspired by my experiences as a beekeeper. In 2010 I started keeping bees as a hobby and these amazing creatures inspired me so much that my art work became an expression of that love and fascination. I strive to create jewelry pieces that engage a conversation about bees since I think that is lacking in our cultural dialog. I also want my jewelry to be visually interesting and wearable so it brings pleasure to the person wearing it much as it bring pleasure to me in the creation.

Comb Cuff TUR: What is your training as an artist? Who do you consider your most significant influences and inspirations? Do these influences shift as you progress both in your work and life?

AG: I attended a liberal arts college where I studied photography and print making. All of my jewelry skills were self taught until a couple years ago when I learned how to cast metal. That is when I began casting honeycomb and launched Bee Amour. My most significant inspiration is my bees and my natural environment. I also take a lot of inspiration from mindfulness meditations and poetry that captures the beauty and simplicity of nature. These influences definitely affect my life! Over the years I have become more appreciative of the small moments and things in life. It all has become so obviously fragile that I try not to take things for granted or take things too seriously!

TUR: Do you work full-time exclusively as an artist? Or, how do you augment your work as an artist?

AG: I work 60% as an artist and 40% as a therapeutic yoga teacher. I love both of these things and appreciate having more than one outlet for creativity and work. I also love not having a day job!

stacking 1 TUR: Do you find it easy or difficult to start new work? And, typically, how do you prepare yourself to handle both the creative and physical demands of creating your art?

AG: I find it easy to create new work when it’s in the idea stage and as it becomes reality it can become more difficult but that can also be fun in a problem solving sort of way. I don’t stress too much on preparing myself for the creative demand of my work. If I am relaxed and not putting pressure on myself to “be” something or “do” something then everything flows a lot more easily. I also make a point not to compare myself or my work to other artists or entrepreneurs since that hampers my creativity and drive. As far as physical demands of my work go I do yoga and exercise to counteract being hunched over my work bench.

queen cellhoneycomb beginnings

TUR: With regard to participating in the Utah Arts Festival, please share your feelings about being a part of this enterprise? Have you been in other festivals and do you plan to explore other festival venues?

AG: This is my first year to participate in the UAF and I am a little nervous to be honest. It is a really big show and I am flying out from Texas. I know all of the little details that go into having a successful show so I am doing my best to get my to-do list in order so I can have an awesome time and not forget anything! Yes I have been to many other festivals but none in Utah and being that Utah is the beehive state it is about time I brought my bee-centric jewelry there!

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Les Roka
I am a native of Toledo, Ohio, having received my Ph.D. in journalism and mass communication from Ohio University's Scripps School of Journalism in 2002. In addition to teaching at Utah State University and the University of Utah, I have worked extensively in public relations for a variety of organizations including a major metropolitan university, college of osteopathic medicine, and community college. When it comes to intellectual curiosity, I venture into as many areas as possible, whether it’s about music criticism, the history of journalism, the practice of public relations in a Web 2.0 world and the soon-to-arrive Web 3.0 landscape, or how public debates are formed about many issues especially in the political arena. As a Salt Lake City resident, I currently write and edit a blog called The Selective Echo that provides an entertaining, informative, and provocative look at Salt Lake City and its cosmopolitan best. I also have been the U.S. editorial advisor for an online publication Art Design Publicity based in The Netherlands. And, I use social media tools such as Twitter for blogging, networking with journalists and experts, and staying current on the latest trends in culture and news. I also have been a regular monthly contributor to a Utah business magazine, and I have recently conducted a variety of editing projects involving authors and researchers throughout the country and the world, including Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Lebanon, Cyprus, the United Kingdom, France, and Japan. I’m also a classically trained musician who spent more than 15 years in a string quartet, being involved in more than 400 performances.

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