Following Her Bliss:
Nathalie's Handcrafted Jewelry

January 21, 2007
"Follow Your Bliss"

Nathalie We've heard the admonition.

We've read Paul Coelho's 'The Alchemist' ("To realize one's destiny is a person's only obligation.").

We've felt a gentle nudge as the universe urges us in the direction we long to go.

Today, we met a woman who chose to heed the call. For Nathalie Stickland, the road to her destiny is the path of least resistance.

"I have always had my eyes open to new things," said Nathalie (the spelling is French, the pronunciation is "Natalie"). She is pretty and unaffected in her ponytail and her exquisite, hand-fired glass necklace. The sparkle in her dark eyes as she talked about her work was captivating and we believed every word she said.

We met Nathalie at her shaded booth in Times Square - a pedestrian mall, shopping and outdoor dining enclave in Ft. Myers Beach - where she concentrated on smoothing a translucent drop of sea-green glass. She was attentive and meticulous with the piece, and the grinder (looking like a vertically-mounted dremmel tool) whirred and hummed on its table. She set the "gem" aside to talk with me and my mother-in-law, Lucille.

Bamboo chandeliers Lu and I were drawn in initially by the chandelier-style bamboo earrings mounted on a frame on the outside of the booth. As we "ooh-ed" and "aah-ed" our way along, Nathalie answered all of our questions. Our discussion meandered as we became more intrigued with the artist and her art. This is her story.

While traveling, Mademoiselle Nathalie met and fell in love with an American student. Together they returned to his home state, Ohio. That's where Nathalie, who had always been creative and artistic, began turning her talents to making jewelry. Ohio proved uninspiring, so eventually the couple moved to the west coast of Florida.

3 Escargots In 2001 she introduced her growing business under the banner 3 Escargots. How did she arrive at such a name?

"I wanted to start with a number for some reason, and I wanted to say that I am French, and-" here we all paused to admire the cute logo "-such a great snail!"

Hemp necklace Her work is the perfect blend of elegance and simplicity. Many of her very casual pieces are macrame'd hemp anklets, bracelets and necklaces (the latter can be shortened to "choker" length). She weaves in embellishments including beads, flowers, and found objects like Sanibel shells. She has a huge fan base for those items, especially during spring break.

Lu and Nathalie Her sales technique is unusual in that she invites browsers to select their own embellishments. She then crafts the custom necklace while they wait. As an devoted but indecisive jewelry aficionado myself, I find that invitation a mixed blessing - but Nathalie reports an enthusiastic response to the idea, and many repeat customers.

Dichroic pendants In late 2003 Nathalie took a workshop in art glass and her imagination was fired. She didn't hesitate, but bought a kiln and began perfecting her craft. Her husband James works with her, fusing and engraving the glass.

The "dichroic" glass drops are stunning. Nested against black velvet they are beautiful enough, but bring them into the sunlight and they flash with hidden layers of fire.

Dichrioc earrings It is a joy to be surrounded by beauty every day, Nathalie told us. Women return to her booth to tell her how much they love living with her work, how much pleasure it gives them to wear the pieces. One woman described how, over dinner at a restaurant, she bore the stare of another diner until finally the stranger approached her table to ask her about her beautiful necklace: "Where can I get something like that?"

Each piece is very unique, said Nathalie, each is a piece of art. Because of the techniques used in creating each glass "gem" none can be duplicated.

Blue pendant "My work is represented in many art galleries, in Hawaii and around the country. I am going to a trade show in Las Vegas next year, and I think I will be very busy after that. Today I sell pieces on my website, but it is becoming more difficult to keep up. Soon I will only be able to sell to galleries, boutiques and gift shops."

Shop owners who wish to carry her line, or glass artisans who wish to see some fine work, or jewelry lovers who want to own something unique, can visit Ft. Myers Beach or

Orange dichrioc set "I do not give myself boundaries," Nathalie stated emphatically. She follows her bliss spontaneously and with joy. Wearing a pair of those exquisite earrings is a reminder that "work" and "joy" need not be mutually exclusive.

Thank you, Nathalie.

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