“I let the clay talk to me,” giggled Rhonda Smith, an artist and entrepreneur in Arizona. “I know that sounds funny, but I just keep working till the clay is molded in the shape it wants to be.” Rhonda designs original art such as polymer clay jewelry, Christmas ornaments, wreaths, and custom greeting cards. Being able to do so is an answer to her prayers. “I love being able to take visions of beauty in my head and put them in tangible form,” she said. “It makes me so happy to have people see the pretty too.”
She recalls childhood memories in the family kitchen baking Christmas cookies as her start in creative ventures. “Mom gave us frosting to paint on the tops. Mine always had the most color.”
With a wonderful sense of humor, Rhonda brings joy to conversations. She is the type of friend who invites you to a winter pancake breakfast at her house, but stipulates you must wear your pajamas because she and her family still are in theirs. “It is a privilege to work from home and do what I love.”
Her success and contentment are hard-won victories after years of hardship and many family losses. At one low point, she felt the Lord told her, “I will give you seven-fold for what Satan has stolen from you.”
Many of her products require multiple attempts to achieve the perfect patina. She adds various treatments to the clay, then rubs them off, repeating several times to find the beauty. “Sometimes, the ‘pretty’ eludes me. How many of us have spent years putting paint and glitter on our lives?’”
For those who may feel plain, she has reassurance. “We don’t need to cover up. God takes us as we are. His ‘pretty’ shows through us with hope, faith, and love.”
Today, she beams with gladness while talking about her husband, viewing the mountain outside her workshop, and imagining new crafts. “God has given me more now than I ever lost.”
For others who hope to pursue their passions, she advises, “I have flopped many times. Don’t be afraid of that. You only have to succeed once.”
“But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create,” says the Sovereign Lord, “for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy” (Isaiah 65:18 NIV).
A crafted heart with the words 'love', 'hope', and 'faith' attached.
If you are looking for gift ideas, please feel free to check out Rhonda’s artwork here on her Etsy.