Today we have Stacey Matthews from @lovestoneswhistler! Stacey originally moved to Vancouver to be a photographer and makeup artist but found the industry was stressful and anxiety-inducing and she hit a wall, burnt out from overwork. However like so many of these life events which seem like a "down-turn", there was a silver lining. This "burnout" prompted a career change to a coffee bar at Grouse Mountain where she found solace and calmness being surrounded by the mountains. Shortly after, a colleague gifted her an agate necklace to ease her anxiety and when she noticed how much better she felt after wearing it for just 2 days, her love affair with crystals and healing stones was born. During this time she started making bracelets and jewelry finding it therapeutic. Then one weekend she made an impulse decision to move up to Whistler and started selling her jewelry to buy her ski pass, as the demand for her jewelry grew she decided to make it official and over the years has been growing her brand while juggling multiple other jobs at Rocks and Gems, The Oracle, The bottle depot and as a masseuse using the income from these to grow her business. Not only does Stacey make beautiful jewelry, but she is also one of the most caring people you will ever meet, she is passionate about the environment and often makes jewelry out of repurposed trash! And she is also a master forager, and really good at reading tarot! Fun fact, she used to read tarot at our pussy parties way back in the very early days of Velvet and HMU, hands up if you remember them!
Here's our chat with her!
1. Where did you grow up, and where do you live now?
I was born in Grande Prairie, Alberta. I grew up in a trailer park for the first 4 years of my life! When I was 8 we moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where I stayed until I was about 18. After that, I moved to Montreal, the Philippines for a year, Winnipeg, back to Saskatoon, Vancouver, and then finally Whistler where I have managed to stay put for the last 8 years.
2. What is your definition of strength?
Initially, my definition would be to just go after what you want, have faith in the universe, be persistent, and to not see mistakes and setbacks as failures, simply lessons to learn and grow from. But I’m also learning about a different kind of strength. It’s hard to explain. My dad was a Wing Chun and Qi Gong instructor, and the tiniest, most subtle and gentle tap from him could send you to your knees. I’m learning that forces that are gentle and subtle can be the most powerful, and that is a strength I’m trying to learn and apply to life. Tapping into that stillness within. I don’t really know how to explain or define it. It’s like a flower slowly growing through cement.
3. What is something that’s important to you now that never used to be?
Organization. I used to be that kid with a metre radius of absolute chaos around my desk at school, things overflowing everywhere. Teachers would call me Hurricane Stacey. Now I’m becoming super OCD. I kind of have to, or else I find I’m spending an hour and a half looking for a bead to make a $15 ring haha. I never thought I would see the day where I found organizing my things therapeutic or relaxing.
4. How would you describe your style?
It’s mostly skate influenced as that’s been a part of my life for the last 20 or so years. But for the most part my style is pretty reflective of my interests and moods at that given moment, which are constantly shifting. One day I might be into rainbows and bright pastels, the next day I’m in the mood for whiskey, country and all black. My jewelry is the same way, it’s usually quite reflective of what I’m going through or what I’m interested in and learning about. I have a necklace that is made with a recycled skateboard deck on top, with preserved flowers in resin underneath, and a crystal cabochon on top of the skateboard, and to me, that piece is very symbolic of my style: Skateboards, plants, crystals.
5. Favourite food to cook at home?
I used to love taking my favourite meat dishes and figuring out how to make a vegan version of them. It’s been an obsession of mine for the last decade. But lately, I’ve been stuck with a strict diet and have been cooking with nothing but dark cruciferous greens and veggies, and I’m still learning and adjusting to that. I’m falling in love with eggplant actually. It seems super versatile and I love how it sucks up seasonings and flavours. But I’ve been notorious for loving to cook with spam. I went to Hawaii, and I was mind blown by all the different ways you can prepare it. I was joking last year about finding vegan spam to recreate all my favourite spam dishes. My absolute favourite to cook though are Filipino dishes.
6. What’re 3 books on your bookshelf?
Getting Stoned with Savages: by Maarten Troost - A story about a man who quits his big paying corporate job in an American city to move to Vanuatu with his wife, a cluster of small Melanesian islands in the Pacific colonized by the French. He proceeds to drink and get stoned off Kava with the locals and learn about the history of the islands.
Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell: by Chas Smith - A novel about the history of the surf scene on the North Shore of Oahu and it’s grittier, less glamorous side.
Medicine Unbundled: by Gary Geddes - A book about the experiences of indigenous persons during their time spent in the segregated tuberculosis hospitals throughout Canada. We tend to hear more about the residential schools, but less about what happened in the hospitals
7. What’s something you want to accomplish in the next year?
I finally just got a new home with an office so I’m really excited to finally buckle down and work hard. My next goal is to get my website up and going, hopefully very soon. I would love to get back into lapidary, I was learning how to cut opals before Covid started and I would be ecstatic to get back into that and learn wax casting and silver work. I love hammering and melting metal, and I have designs that have been stuck in my head for years that I want to get out. I would love to dig and learn more about the history and evolution of jewelry, and maybe even get some inspiration from my Filipino roots and find a subtle way to apply that.
8. Tell us something people would find surprising about you.
I have a black belt in Taekwondo, and almost have my black belt in Sikaran, a Filipino martial art. I took first place in the Taekwondo world championships at 16 or 17, I also took second place in the nationals men's division. There weren’t enough girls in my division so they stuck me in with the guys, and I beat em, haha.
9. Favourite movie?
Out Cold. An old 2000’s movie about a bunch of snowboarders trying to protect their ski town from the big corporations moving in. I would watch it over and over again when I lived in the prairies and just dream about snowboarding and living the snow bum life ;) I didn’t actually think I would grow to live that dream out. If you haven’t seen it, find it, it’s hilarious and perhaps relatable.
10. How do you want people to remember you?
That I was kind and made them smile or feel happy. Hopefully, I was able to help them overcome a struggle or inspire them to pursue what truly makes them happy. I don’t believe that anyone should settle for less than that, I believe we all have a special gift to offer the world, and we all deserve to enjoy or experience every moment to its full potential <3