Beadwork Magazine 20th Anniversary Celebration: Stories that Inspire
Marie-Eve Gauthier: Becoming Me
Photo: Jewelry workbench at L’Atelier
How has beading changed my life? Beading has changed everything! At age 16 I was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, which is a type of autism that can affect socialization, communication, and motor development.
In October 2015, at age 26, I discovered an organization in my hometown of Montréal, Quebec, called L’Atelier, where I started taking jewelry-making classes. L’Atelier, which means “workshop” in French, is a nonprofit organization that helps people cope with mental illnesses by offering programs to learn crafts and other art forms.
L’Atelier offers workshops on weaving, jewelry making, enameling, embroidery, fabric printing, and more. These classes help improve imagination, perseverance, coordination, dexterity, concentration, and memory, and they provide a safe environment for social interaction.
Taking beading classes at L’Atelier has helped improve my critical-thinking skills and attention to detail. I use my imagination to combine both old and new beads and jewelry findings in my designs, giving new life to donated materials. My inspiration often comes from colors, repurposed jewelry, and natural elements.
Beading has helped me develop into the best version of myself. It has changed not only my life but also the lives of many around me, including my parents. My parents encourage me to continue making jewelry because they have never seen me so passionate about anything in my life. In 2017, I plan to start my own business so I can sell my designs on Etsy and at local craft fairs.
For more information about L’Atelier, visit www.atelierdartisanat.org (in French).
Photos courtesy of Marie-Eve Gauthier
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