Name: Emanda Johnson (named for my father, Emanuel)
My Etsy shop: http://www.ArtemisiaStudio.etsy.com
My blog: www.ArtemisiaStudio.blogspot.com
Where did you live/grew up: Born in Lubbock, Texas I grew up in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I am a native Texas and have never lived anywhere else (but I love to travel!)
Family: My husband and I have been married nearly 18 years. He is an Episcopal priest, which makes me a clergy spouse. We have two miniature schnauzers, our fur-babies.
How did you get started making rosaries? I was introduced to beading by a friend while on a trip to northern New Mexico, I bought some beautiful semi-precious stone beads and could only think of making an Anglican Rosary* for myself and one for my husband.
I loved the rosary I made for myself, but wanted something I could have with me all the time, even without pockets, so I designed a rosary bracelet that would be a double strand while on the wrist, but would open out to a rosary when taken off. I don’t recall the first person to order a rosary bracelet from me, but I have sold a lot to ladies at church, in home shows and a museum gift shop.
*Anglican rosaries differ from Roman Catholic rosaries in that there are four sets of seven beads, four weeks, instead of five decades. Also, Anglican Rosaries allow the devote to choose the prayers to pray, making it flexible and more accessible to other denominations.
How has your faith played a role in your rosary making? I am a deeply spiritual person and very intuitive. I can kind of sense when someone is troubled. There have been a number of times I have given the rosary off my wrist to someone and told them that I will remember to pray for them, and that praying the rosary will help to give them a sense of peace. Sometimes I get to see the person again and they always express gratitude for the prayers and the gift.
What is your relationship to the Blessed Mother? The Holy Trinity? Being an Episcopalian, I find my relationship with the Trinity, and especially the Holy Spirit, to be closer than with the Blessed Mother. As I move through my days and nights, I have a constant conversation with the Holy Spirit, not always using words, but I try to “Practice the Presence of God” as described by Brother Lawrence. I pray for travelers when I see an airplane, I pray for emergency service people and those in need for their assistance when I hear a siren, that sort of thing.
Has it always been this way? It has always been this way, but as an adult my spiritual relationship has grown deeper.
Where do you see your rosary business going? I want to grow my rosary business to be able to provide my uniquely styled heirloom-quality pieces to a broader audience. That is why I chose to join the Etsy Rosary Guild Team.
Are there any new things you'd like to make? I just ordered some precious metal clay to learn how to cast my own silver crosses. Recently I searched the internet in vain to find St. Brigit’s crosses, so I want to see if I can produce them for my rosary bracelets and for other artisans. I also make RC chaplet bracelets. I have several ideas percolating, but I am open to the movement of the spirit in this and all things.
Share a special rosary story of one that you sold/gave away:
I was at a Quilt Show visiting one of the booths and fell into conversation with the vendor. She noticed my bracelet, asked about it and I told her it was an Anglican Rosary. She said she was Catholic, but wanted to buy one for her sister who was battling cancer. I came back the next day with several for her to choose from and she bought three, one for herself and two for her sisters (one was ill).
Last year, I saw the same vendor at the show and introduced myself. She said that her sister had died, but that the rosary bracelet was one of her sister’s most cherished objects. The second sister has placed it with her other devotional objects.
I don’t often get to experience the “results” of a sale, but this was very special to me. It inspired me to make more and to wear them more often. I see my Rosary Bracelets as an evangelism tool allowing me to share my faith without being pushy. I believe it is the Holy Spirit bringing people into my life by way of this piece of jewelry/prayer tool.
Give one reason why someone should buy your handmade rosary over a rosary purchased in a store. My Rosary Bracelets are uniquely my design and of heirloom quality; people will not find them anywhere else.