Lan Strickland, Artist
Gloria Tsao, COMit
(Chief Officer of Make it Tangible!）
Andrew Chan, BTaM
(Best Techie among Musicians and vice versa)
|Lan and the necklace that started it all
The inspiration for these unique Wearable Art jewelry designs stems from my Asian background, French upbringing and the expansive cultures I have come in contact with over the years. There is a little bit of the world in each of my pieces. From the cultures that offer endless inspiration, and endless options from nature for materials.
My taste leans towards the bold, the large, the statement making, and the refined. This is definitely reflected in my creations. You will not be lost in the crowd with my Wearable Art Jewelry. These memorable pieces stand out and tell the world about you: “This is me, see me.”
My facility with languages and my adaptability to easily blend into different cultures and environments have doubly enriched my life. Climbing the corporate ladder in International Business Development along with consulting work in the latter years provided me the opportunity to work on five continents. This exposed me to different aesthetic and artistic norms of various people and cultures. During this time, I always thought of myself as a “left brain” person. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would launch into an artistic (“right brain”) endeavor.
My journey to Wearable Art Jewelry, leading up to the launch of Blue Orchid Art has been an exciting one, filled with wonderful friends, people and marvelous experiences along the way. If you had told me 10 years ago that this graduate of the corporate business world would make a mark in the artistic world, I would have had a good laugh. My family, friends and colleagues’ eyebrows would have reached the sky. I was the queen of measurable results, of processes, of structured business models!
What launched me into Wearable Art Jewelry?
My husband Ray gave me a beautiful bead crochet choker. I loved the look. So I decided to make bead crochet necklaces for my friends. I poured my heart into it, leading me to explore other avenues of jewelry techniques and designs, including century-old European and Asian techniques.
|One of my early bead crochet necklaces
Along the way, I signed up for a silversmithing class at the local Junior College – I had not realized this would be a long-term adventure. I was fortunate to run into two outstanding individuals and mentors: my instructor Sydney Pener, a highly talented artist, and my great friend Christine Stover, my “class buddy” – we constantly challenge each other to think outside the box. They both encouraged me to create pieces reflecting my views of the world and to design jewelry that is bold, modern and unique; jewelry with my own artistic imprint.
|Lan, Sydney Pener & Christine Stover
I cannot forget Ray’s nudging and wonderful support. After stoically watching me buy supplies and give away my “babies”, he suggested I consider selling them, not just to recoup my costs, but to allow me to further fund my future projects and raw materials inventory. What a novel idea! I believe he is also looking forward to less over-filled closets. His head for frugality and strong support (along with my friends’ encouragement) convinced me that I have something to offer.
|Ray & Lan Strickland
It's amazing how one thing led to another. Blue Orchid Art started with beading and silversmithing as a de-stresser outlet. How did I end up working in leather? How did I end up with EarApparel? That is the mysterious (and not so mysterious) pathway of creativity, I guess!
How did I get into leather work? I can thank Karen & Dexter for this adventure. I had a piece of straw casting that was too heavy to make into jewelry. The piece, however, did look like a dog curled up and sleeping. So I mentioned to Karen that I would make a dog collar for her faithful Dexter. How much could it take: a little piece of leather, a buckle and some screw, right? Well, after an initial visit at Tandy Leather in Independence, KS and meeting my wonderful coach Clint Peter, I ended up with enough tools and leather to make lots of leather products. Thus was my start with leather work: jewelry, luggage tags, bags and cases, ... and the birth of BOA Accessories
For EarApparel, a safety lanyard for hearing aids, I have my good friend Gloria to thank. Her father was concerned about losing his hearing aids, after have to replace one he lost. In a casual discussion, she mentioned that her father is using heavy thread to tie his hearing aids together so they do not fall out and get lost. So here comes Lan the white knight to the rescue: let me make a nice kumihimo braid and attach a couple of end caps to hold them together - so much better looking and discreet. And so was EarApparel born.
All of us at Blue Orchid Art are looking forward to more adventures and endeavors and we continue our journey with the support of our families, friends and loyal customers.
There is not enough space to thank all the wonderful people and friends who have supported me in this endeavor. However, I would be remiss not to mention a couple of steadfast friends who encouraged me into making Blue Orchid Art and offering my Wearable Art Jewelry to others a reality.
- Mark Sappington and Dave McGee. They were my FIRST custom-design customers several years ago when Blue Orchid Art was but a gleam in my consciousness. I kept mentioning I needed to monetize my “babies” until one day, they said: “Wow, there is a huge echo in here. “ The rest is history.
|Mark Sappington & Dave McGee
- Karen Yungmeyer, a dear friend whose constant positive reinforcements and supportive actions “greased the skids.” She is a wonderful artistic sounding board as well. To modestly quote her: “Everyone at the party coveted the pieces you created for me.”
- Gloria Tsao, another wonderful friend. Without her encouragements and hand-holding, this website would not be a reality. With her prodding, it will only get better over time!
|Gloria Tsao having a great time with her niece Jacqueline
- Andrew Chan, another wonderful friend. Without his wonderful support, this website would still be in development. Thanks, Andrew.
|Andrew Chan, with his precious violin.
- Addison Lake and Kevin Kellerman, my wonderful interns. They helped with Blue Orchid Art social media planning and deployment: Setting up and getting started on Facebook and Instagram; getting me comfortable reaching out to the denizens of the Internet of Everything world. They also helped me with the use of technology to generate interest in Blue Orchid Art.
Without Gloria, this website would not have gotten off the ground. Without her, future improvements would be nothing more than a gleam in my eyes.
Without any qualms the best and most dynamic project manager around, she has shepherded major Engineering and Information Technology projects for leading companies across a wide range of industries in Silicon Valley, USA. Personally, I believe her success stems from her early hobby as a dog trainer. I figure, if she can make them do what she wants, she definitely has the temperament, charisma and will power to successfully drive a project home within budget, on time and within, if not exceeding quality specifications.
We met on the job, her helping me with a new product launch at a Silicon Valley start up. The discovery of our loves for good food and fun times developed into an enduring friendship, evolving over time into a bossy sibling relationship, actually. Of course, Gloria is the bossy elder sister, needless to say. Project management is so ingrained in her that everything is a project to be successfully managed, whether at home or at work J(Gloria does not agree. We asked Ray [my husband] to referee. Smart man that he is, he is non-committal.)
Thank goodness for big sister. I am fortunate enough to get her to agree to take time out of her very busy schedule to support me with business strategy, execution planning and more importantly, Blue Orchid Art website development and implementation.
I am fortunate to have crossed paths with Andrew Chan, a great friend and super IT guru. Another friend met on the job while working in Silicon Valley. It started with our love of music ... Andrew was part of a symphony orchestra somewhere in NC. Wow. This led to his helping me with IT challenges over the years, 15+ years to be exact. The great part is, to complement my bossy elder sister, I now have a bossy younger brother. Life is perfect indeed: they like to boss, and being perfectionists in their own areas of expertise, they end up having to do it themselves to meet their perfectionist expectations!!! (You are such a great strategist, Lan Strickland).
Without Andrew, this website would not be where it is today. Thanks to his prodding and coaching, I finally learned enough to be dangerous. So here is the outcome: the Blue Orchid Art website in all its glory.