Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? Where did you go to school, and what classes did you study (if any)? What helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?
My name is Natalie Collins and I am 24 years young! I grew up in a very toxic home environment in San Diego County. When I was 17, my father passed away from lung cancer and my step mother kicked me out. I was homeless and couch surfed a few times before even graduating high school. I lived in three different homes. I only applied to one college and it was as far away as I could get without leaving the state. I moved to Chico California to “start over.” I wanted to become a physician’s assistant, so I started out as a pre-nursing major. After six years and changing my major three more times.
I finally graduated in Spring 2020 with a BS in Nutrition Management. Along the way I discovered myself. I discovered I was an addict alcoholic and I could not stop using or drinking on my own. I discovered wire wrapping. I discovered AA. I discovered that I could have a life beyond my wildest dreams. All I had to do was stay clean and sober. I’ve now been clean and sober for over 2 years and I have been wire wrapping for 5 years. I used to give my art away. But when I achieved sobriety, I found my voice and I recognized my worth. I knew that I could never afford to become a better wire wrapper unless I sold my art. So, I started Zen Mind Crystals! I named my business after how I feel when I wire wrap. I cultivate a Zen Mind.
How do you go about designing a new piece of art, and what goes through your mind, from start to end?
I have visions when I looks at a cabochon, of what it wants to be made into. I just try to bring that to life! I think about what additional materials I will need and pull techniques from my past experiences. As I am wrapping, all that goes through my mind is how the wire feels against my skin, the tugging, pulling, bending.. Until it’s done! Sometimes I mess up and I can fix it, other times I have to start over…or it was the beginning of a new idea!
What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work with?
A typical day for me is waking up, texting my boyfriend, then hopping on twitter and instagram and making my presence known! I share other artist’s work and share my own. I work only for myself. I create throughout the days and do packing and shipping on Mondays and Saturdays. , AlsoI do Bikram yoga 3 days a week. I only oxidize my art the day before or the day of a shop update and do all the photography on those days. Sometimes a day early…
What are some of the things that you have worked on?
I have worked on a dragonfly pendant which I am most proud of. I continuously develop my Monday Moon Updates to make new and fun Lunas to share with my following. I try to change up my weaving techniques often, so I’m always growing in that area.
Is there a piece of jewelry that you have done that you are most happy with?
I love the Dragonfly, Howling Wolf, Buddha, Lovesick Luna, Luxe Luna, Soul Sounds, and Mandala Flower. Some of which have still never sold!
What projects are you working on now? (if you can tell us)
I’m working on two mandala flowers and I just finished the most elegant pair of earrings I have ever made!! I love them some much.
Who are some of your favorite artists out there?
Creations by Carrissa is definitely my idol. I also love Oxana and GetWiredandCrafts
Could you talk about your process in creating your art, as well as the types of tools or media that you use?
I have to measure my stones once I get a vision of what I want them to look like. Then I determine how many pieces of base-wire I will need and how thick. Then I determine if I will be adding any other stones to the pendant to bring the full vision to life and whether they can be incorporating use base wire or weaving wire!
What part of designing is most fun and easy, and what is most difficult?
I can get really lost in weaving wire. There’s something about it that is almost trancing. I think the most fun is making the front designs like I did on the Howling Wolf.
What are some of the things that you do to keep yourself creative?
I look at other artist’s work. It keeps l me inspired and motivated!
What are some of your favorite pieces of art from other creators that you enjoy?
Queen Bee by 970artist (Jordyn) and literally all of Creations by Carissa’s pieces.
What is your most favorite subject to make? And why?
I love working with Moons. For whatever reason, creating new Luna’s satisfies the feminine energy,
What inspired you to become an Artist?
To be very honest, I started wire wrapping when I took a few tabs of acid with a guy I knew who wrapped. He wanted to show me and I wanted to learn. The rest was history. I just took it upon myself to continue learning!
What are some of the neat things you have learned from other artists that you have worked with or seen?
I’ve learned how to use negative space in my creations to really make the wraps pop. Also the opposite, I’ve learned to wrap with the gems and show off their natural curves and colors.
What wisdom could you give us, about being an Artist? Do you have any tips you could give?
Don’t ever be afraid to reach out to artists that inspire you! You might be surprised, most artists are very supportive of one another! Reaching out to an artist that inspired me, changed my entire career. I went from 0 sales to 41 in one month because of one artist.
If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?
I can be emailed through my website zenmindcrystals.com or directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. My DM’s on IG and Twitter are always open as well! @zenmindcrystals for both.
Finally, do you have any of your art work for sale (sketchbook, prints, or anything) for people that like your work can know where and when to buy it?
Yes, I still have so much available! Find everything on zenmindcrystals.com