This past Sunday, I spent traveling to Long Beach to visit with two of the Studio Artists. My second stop was about 8 miles from the first, at the home of Kweli, a very talented jewelry Artisan. I met Kweli at a show a few months back in Santa Ana. The city of Santa Ana has an emerging group of Artists that either live or frequent the downtown Grand Central Art Gallery, subsidized by a local State College. A few times a year the folks that live there open their studios allowing regular folks and potential art buyers to walk through and see their work. I love to go and talk with the local Artists and see what’s new.
I was there with my camera one night when I happened upon Kweli. She was there selling the most eye catching, intricate, one-of-a-kind jewelry…something I can never pass up. I spoke to her briefly about her work and found her to be such a gentle spoken, sincere lovely woman, that I took a chance about letting her in on my little secret about a future gallery. I think it was then that we argued back and forth about her insisting I take a pair of earring with her card attached so that I would remember her. We went back and forth until I finally I caved in…well…you have to see those earrings to understand my weakness 😉
Kweli lives in Long Beach and works as an Electrician by day and finds time for her Art and show events in between. When I arrived at Kweli’s house I was greeted at the porch with a hug and a big smile… and when I entered her house, I realized quite quickly that not only was Kweli a jewelry master, she’s a painter and potter too. She had paintings displayed around the room showcasing magnificent colors and graphics, intricate African motif pottery and oh yes…a fabulous collection of necklaces and matching earring sets…and absolutely all of them could be hanging off my neck and ears! I totally gawked at everything!
She showed me all around her lovely home and I got to see the studio she has set up, complete with some of the most amazing beads I’ve ever come across. A friend back from a recent trip to Africa, had brought her some large, glossy pieces of deep red coral to work with and I can’t wait to see what she creates with it… Some large, golden, oval shaped beads also caught my attention and if I remember right, they were from Afghanistan. I know she’ll make something wonderful with them.
Kweli has a sparkle about her…a certain grace that drew me in. She and I are close in age and she totally understands where I am at at this part of my life. I believe she and I will be great friends. Meet Kweli, one inspiring woman.