Until three years ago, Sean Fletcher was a Hare Krishna monk. Then, he decided to "return to the world". On a bicycling odyssey across the desert, he began to wire-wrap crystals into pendants and rings.
With beautiful stones nested in galaxy-like forms, and with names like Purity Within Obscurity, A Drop in the Ocean and A Symposium of Synchronicity, Sean’s jewelry inspires imagination. It also embodies a story of following one’s heart and intuition.
“Before I joined as a monk, I used to wrap tumbled stones in copper. It just came very naturally to me. It was very simple, but I really enjoyed it”, Sean shares as he talks about his journey.
He was reminded of this old hobby when, after four years of living as a monk, he was contemplating leaving the monastic life.
“While I was thinking about that, I was also wondering what to do to support myself in the ‘real world’”, Sean describes and adds that the idea of a nine-to-five job did not appeal to him.
Then, a friend read Sean his Vedic numerology. One thing in particular jumped out at Sean in the reading: if he pursued a career in creating jewelry, he would be very successful.
“It kind of hit me. It was an intuitive feeling, like a poke saying ‘hey, listen to this’.”
A few months later, Sean found himself in Houston. With some past Christmas gift money left in the bank, he purchased a touring bike and everything else he needed to cross the desert.
“Originally, I was planning to go to Burning Man. So I traveled in that direction. It was February, so the weather was still cold but if I stayed south, it would be a good time to travel the desert.”
When Sean got to Tucson, Arizona, he picked up some crystals and wire and started wrapping. A few weeks later he attended his first festival in California to sell his jewelry.
“It was the very beginning of finding my creative flow. It was fun and rewarding -- but also kind of harsh to my ego because I wasn't that good at all”, Sean chuckles.
"There I was with my rough creations in the midst of so many other people who had been doing this for years and had these beautiful, perfected, exquisite pieces.”
But he knew he had to start somewhere and keep going, simply following his heart.
“It takes time to develop a craft. I knew that it would eventually get better. I could feel better showing people my creations.”
Sean now lives in Crestone, Colorado, at the feet of the magnificent Sangre de Cristo mountains, in the beautiful San Luis Valley - a place which for centuries has been considered sacred by the native people of the area.
It was one of Sean’s creations that lead him to his new home: he made a ring to his favorite artist, poet and musician Chances R Good.
“I made him a ring because I was so inspired by his music. I asked him for his address so I could mail it to him. The address was here.”
A few months later when Sean visited Crestone, he knew that this was the place he should be in. A community of less than 200 inhabitants, Crestone is home to numerous spiritual centers and retreats. And a vibrant artist community.
“This is a powerful place and I feel very creative here.”
Sean’s creative process begins with a crystal. Looking at it, he envisions how it could be created into a piece of jewelry.
“If I'm doing a multiple crystal wrap, I may trace out the stones on a piece of paper and make some curvy lines around them to make a frame. But more often than not I will just pick a stone and start wrapping.”
Sean explains that he has found his flow in how he creates a pendant. He builds on it and tweaks it to perfect that particular style. And if things get monotonous, he shifts and does something totally different.
Sean is very particular about the kind of crystals that he uses: they should be as natural as possible, the way they formed in the Earth. In addition, he looks for quality, clarity, and color.
Wire-wrapping requires precision and balance. Alongside jewelry-making, Sean trains his touch by drawing intricate Mandalas.
“They go hand in hand”, Sean explains. “My mandala art helps my hand to be steady and to really get the fine detail and symmetry.”
From Crestone, Sean’s jewelry travels out into the world through his Etsy shop, called Dharma Wraps.
And how does he send each creation on their way?
“Each piece is ultimately created with love, by love, for love.”
Visit Dharma Wraps at www.etsy.com/shop/DharmaWraps
Maria Jain is a Helsinki-based explorer inspired by stories of arts & crafts and their intimate connection with cultural preservation, livelihoods and building enriching and meaningful futures. She has co-founded Kantha (www.kantha.fi), a web store dedicated to products that celebrate the artisanship of India, her second home.