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Artist Bio

Photo of Artist - Sunshine Witt

Greetings!!! My name is Sunshine Witt. I was born in 1958 and raised in the great Pacific Northwest.  I spent the majority of my childhood years on a rather famous Lipizzaner Horse breeding farm (Raflyn Farms) located in the Snohomish valley in the great Pacific Northwest State of Washington. In latter years, just prior to my father's early death, it became a dual farm in which my parents had Diamond W Arabians  within  Raflyn Farms.  I moved to Georgia, which I now call home, in June of 1999 for many reasons; new love, new job, new start for youngest son, better climate for my arthritic back, slower and simpler paced lifestyle, just to name a few.

I had a very talented family so I grew up with a family background of widely creative people.  My Mother did leatherwork and knitted.  My    Father did silversmithing, crocheting, and tatting...yes...he did tatting.    But he was probably, also, the 'original' horse whisperer, as he could do things with horses no other trainer could do.  My older sister (Diane) was very handy with macramé' and my younger sister (Theresa) became a queen seamier.   I  dabbled in everything from drawing, sewing, needlework, knitting (made my own patterns before the age of 12), and was exposed to a plethora of arts and crafts. I was also a prolific writer of poetry, prose, and short stories with 27 publishing's in various anthologies and magazines.  By 1978 I had acquired 2 Associate of Applied Sciences Degrees.

My mother had one of those beading looms in her stash of crafting hobbies, and I had dabbled a bit with loom weaving as a young person.  During the ~hippy~ years I strung my fare share of 'love' beads.  Also, I was inspired by some wire type jewelry I saw at the Evergreen State Fair and made a several hundred pair of wire and bead earrings.  For one of my birthday's I was given a French Beaded Flower making kit...just loved that!!  But then life interrupted, I quit doing any beadwork type activities after the mid 1970's.

I reintroduced myself to beading in 1992 when I had to make a life altering decision…to get clean and sober. A suggestion at an AA meeting was, if you had a hobby you've put on the back burner, put it on the front one to occupy your time and thoughts. So, keeping in mind all the different hobbies I'd had throughout the years, I realized I still did most of them, and while drunk or stoned to boot!!  So, the challenge.........find a hobby impossible to do while under the influence.  I walked into a local bead store and my eyes  fell upon Japanese Hex beads. It was love at first sight!!!  Next thing I knew…I had a NEW addictionBEADS...LOL!!!! It was just what the doctor ordered!  Have  you ever tried threading a needle or looking at those itty-bitty holes drunk or stoned?  It can't be done!! Beadwork then became my salvation, not only in staying clean and sober, but as a major stress reliever from my regular "clock punching " jobs. But, alas, the story doesn't stop there, as I discovered ~stresses~ with beadwork as well!.

I became frustrated with the commonly used "brick stitch" and didn't like the layout of "regular flat peyote".   After several hair pulling trials and errors, I redesigned graph paper and perfected what I call "flat vertical peyote". Then, as my personal fate would have it,  I couldn't find any  earring patterns that suited my particular wardrobe, sooooooo..... I started doing my own design work and VIOLA!!! SUNSHINE ORIGINALS was born. 

Even though I have a history of seemingly wanting to build a better mousetrap, I still do all my design work the tedious way, with colored pens, pencils, and my own custom designed/built  light table. One of these days I'll get the hang of one of those nifty computer bead-working programs. 

Over the years I've become enamored with bead embroidery/appliqué and cabochons. I can't design these pieces no matter how hard I try.  I'll lay it out, start the work, and it takes on a life of it's own.... basically creating itself, (I call it  a beadwork evolution). 90% of the time I don't even know what the end result will be until it's completed!!!  Then it's an exclamation of "WOW...did I do that"???!!!  Regardless of how the evolution occurs, I find it sure is fun!!!

Amongst some of my accomplishments, I have been commissioned to do custom works for country western bands and singers (some famous, some not), including 1967 Country Hall of Fame's Hank Thompson. There is an Olympic Skating center in Mountlake Terrace, Washington and I did custom pins for Olympic hopefuls costumes. I was also commissioned to convert Tulalip Tribes artwork into beadwork patterns. In the mid part of 2002 I created Hepatitis C awareness pins.  I'm a member of the American Crafts Council, the Atlanta Bead society, and am an active sitting member of the Board for the Millennium Art Co-op, a non-profit organization dedicated to Recovery Through The Arts.

Because I am frequently asked the same questions,  I have answers to some of them on page 2.  You'll also find my favorite philosophies on life and/or words to live by.

page 2

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