The initial idea for Avalon Winter Design was born in late January of 2018.

I had just quit one treatment for my chronic illness and was reviewing alternatives, while weighing the side effects against how they might further impact my ability to return to a traditional working environment. My illnesses had already caused friction with employers due to missed days (for appointments and sick days), and I was uncertain about my future.

I had always been a creator, and my illness has gradually robbed me of my ability to hold certain tools or sit for long enough to complete regular projects and tasks. Following two car accidents and the downward spiral of my physical and mental health, I found that I no longer had the physical ability or energy to do the things that I had once enjoyed.

When I discovered that I could still work with beads and wire, it brought a sense of purpose and joy back into my life.

I excitedly showed my first creations to my husband and sister-in-law. “It’s good!” – they exclaimed, “You could sell that!” And so, I began collecting materials to work with, and to practice and discover what other kinds of things I could make. It soon became apparent that while I enjoyed wire-wrapping, the inflammation in my joints prevent me from doing so consistently. I moved onto beading; playing around with quirky designs, then simpler ones. By May of 2018, I had a good sense of what my physical limitations were and how to get around some of them, or at least work with what I had. I could bead bracelets on my “just ok” days (and sometimes even on my bad days), and design and create more complex items on my good days.

Finally, I had found something that I could do to feel productive again. The only issue being, of course, that materials cost money and I had no income by this point. I realized it was time to start selling some of the jewelry I had made.

I first put my theory to the test by selling bracelets for Father’s Day at a popup market. If I could make sales, I figured, it would be worth it to pursue this further. The day turned out to be enough of a success to put the income back into materials to create more jewelry. Throughout this process, my husband has been my number one supporter. It’s through his emotional and financial investment in me that I have made it this far.

Physically attending larger markets and craft fairs still seems like a far away dream with my illness and pain. With my husband’s help, we have built this store, and rearranged our lives to support and grow Avalon Winter Design.

New Challenges

We are now looking at the steep costs of biologic medications, additional therapies that are not fully covered by our insurance, and the costs of training a service dog. All for my systemic illness. Every sale helps us fund upcoming medical expenses, as well as keeping Avalon Winter Design running -- and hopefully even growing. Therefore, we both would like to express our deepest gratitude to our customers. Thank you for your support! Without you, this would not be possible.

Autumn hues semi-precious stone bracelet stack.

Autumn hues semi-precious stone bracelet stack.

Our photos were taken at the EA summer market, on Vancouver Island, and at home. Adobe Stock images of British Columbia were used for the images of the mountains and night sky.