We had the good fortune of connecting with Betsy Yates and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Betsy, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
About 10 years ago, I discovered my basic truth: Creative expression is absolutely fundamental to my wellbeing.

At my core, I am a Maker. I always have been, even if I didn’t realize it. When I slip into a powerful creative flow state, all the best stuff ignites— the initial challenge of a diversity of tools and materials, an excitement for the craft, my passion for detailed excellence, and (if all goes well) a sense of accomplishment. Finding my “Flow” feels like I’m channeling from the unknown, disconnected from time and the world around me… It feeds my soul like nothing else can.

Inversely, I’ve learned that neglecting my creative outlet leaves me listless and unhappy. I learned this the hard way in my mid-twenties, working an uninspiring job, and growing increasingly depressed without understanding why. Eventually I realized a common factor: I hadn’t tapped into my creative state in over a year. That same week, I rented a space in my first communal art studio and launched the Foxtail brand the week after. That was about 10 years ago.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I make a pretty wide range of jewelry, so it’s easiest to break it into three parts!

Custom engagement/wedding rings are some of my favorite pieces because I love working with my clients and am so excited to be a small part of their love story. Each ring comes with its own unique design and fun challenges, and often utilizes heirloom diamonds and gold, which is so special.

On the completely other end of the spectrum, I also make customized Memorial Pendants, which are beautiful wearable capsules that hold the ashes of a loved one. These pendants are so unbelievably meaningful for their wearer, and gives my work an added importance and purpose that I didn’t expect to find making jewelry.

Finally, I release a large batch of my own designs once or twice a year. These are the pieces that I make for my own sanity, and are inspired by the gemstones that I find at gem shows and on my travels. They often have interactive components, like my kinetic gyroscope necklaces that spin on 3 axis, my nostalgia-inducing color-changing “mood” necklaces, or my UV-reactive pendants that feature natural crystals that glow under black light.

My biggest challenges these days are time management— between corresponding/meeting with clients to design their custom pieces, marketing myself, running my office, and making all the jewelry, it’s quite a bit to juggle. I’ve certainly learned to take time off to enjoy life between deadlines, though, and have even made *other* creative outlets for myself now that this passion has become a job.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Portland has so much to offer! You could get coffee at Barista, eat breakfast at Broder Nord, go shopping on Hawthorne, hike in Forest Park, get lunch at a local food cart, ride scooters around the waterfront, get dressed up for a nice dinner at Jaqueline, catch the sunset on the Bluffs, and hit up a venue for live music at night. There’s a different iteration on that itinerary for every day of the week!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’m so grateful for my friends and family!

My parents, entrepreneurs themselves, have always encouraged me to follow my passions and talents. They also demonstrated the joys of working for oneself, which I took to heart and appreciate more than they know.

My friends and surrounding community are my biggest fans, always supporting my art and wearing my pieces proudly. I’m so lucky to have their love and support.

Website: www.Foxtailjewelry.com

Instagram: @foxtailjewelry @elizabethyatesfinejewelry

Image Credits
Dan Olsen (@iseeyourmagic)
Timothy Wildgoose (@pollenatethyself)
Betsy Yates (@foxtailjewelry)

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