I met award winning jewellery designer, Melissa Player last year when I profiled her for Creative Beading magazine. She is a Blue Mountains mama who is steadily building up a jewellery business whilst nurturing and creatively inspiring her boys, Matthew and Nicholas.
My beading journey began when they were very young. “Almost every afternoon, after an active morning, they would sleep and I would bead. I’ve always been a crafty person but only really discovered beading when a bead shop opened nearby. It was great to do something that was just for me. These days however we all sit at the kitchen table and bead!”
I love taking them on creative adventures. “I’ve taken the boys twice to Austria to visit Swarovski’s Crystal World in Wattens – they absolutely loved it. They’ve also climbed the Swarovski Crystal staircase in the Swarovski shop in Paris on the Champs Elysees – that was a sparkling adventure. Most recently we travelled to Dubai where we attended high tea at the famous Burj Al Arab Hotel (otherwise known as “the sail” Hotel).Whilst there we saw the stunning crystal replica of the Hotel given as a gift to the owners of the Hotel on it’s opening by the Swarovski family”.
We love that it is quiet and peaceful up here in the mountains. “I grew up in the mountains and always intended to come back to raise a family. It’s great. The children can ride bikes, go bush walking, participate in numerous sports, eat out at wonderful restaurants, swim indoors during the cooler months, go to the movies, and visit amazing parks and gardens all within a 10km radius of home”.
We love Blackheath Pool Park ..and Dubai. “Blackheath Pool Park is a beautiful landscaped park in the Blue Mountains complete with cool play equipment, a duck pond, swimming pools, rolling hills and a place to kick a ball”.
“In Dubai we discovered some pretty amazing water parks which the boys haven’t stopped talking about. That country really knows how to entertain kids in so many ways”.
I support World Vision, Amnesty International and Greenpeace. “We’ve sponsored several children over the last few years from countries such as Tanzania, Nepal and Nicaragua. The kids like getting the photos and updates and looking at the world globe to see where the children live. We also support Amnesty International and Greenpeace. We had a lovely day on board one of the Greenpeace boats when it came to Sydney a few years ago”.
My parents encouraged us to be fearless and “have a go” “Now I say the same thing. Although times have changed and our children don’t have the same level of freedom we once enjoyed, I still like them to try things and make their own decisions as to whether they like it or not”.
When I think how fast the last 10 years have gone since my first son was born “I’m just so grateful that we have experienced so many wonderful trips and adventures as a family. I highly recommend travelling with children, you get many WOW moments that the whole family gets to experience and enjoy”.
Each year Melissa makes an art jewellery piece with a more personal/emotional, rather than commercial, value. This year it is a necklace titled “Prey” which is in response to the numerous child abuse reports in recent months by people of faith. The piece is full of thought provoking symbolism. Melissa shares her motivation: “This scary info came out of a Sydney newspaper recently: The latest data, compiled by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, showed 1600 people were charged with committing a range of 27 offences in the state’s places of worship”. It then went on to say that you stood a higher chance of being sexually abused, stolen from, harassed, and threatened in a place of worship than if you were in an adult entertainment joint i.e. strip club, brothel, sex shop, massage parlour etc. This is happening all over the world and it deeply saddens me”.