‘Think of how beautiful our world would be if we all cared for each other!’
Richard Thomson, of Bearling Creations, is inspired daily by his faith in God and he feels blessed to be able to create beauty with his hands. His exquisite jewellery is made by upcycling old, forgotten or discarded heirlooms, giving them new life as pieces of wearable art. He also uses silver cutlery and coins to achieve unique products, and customers who pop in to his small shop in Montagu are able to watch him in the creative process.
Richard has a very chequered past – as a young man he was addicted to drugs, stealing to feed his habit, and heading for life on the streets and / or jail.
Because of his addiction, Richard did not do well at school. Nevertheless, he always found solace in working with his hands on various crafts.
One day an elderly lady approached him and invited him to attend church with her.
“I went into that service as high as a kite, and after I went forward to accept Jesus into my life, I was stone cold sober, even my speech had changed. (I used to swear like a trooper!) I got a new life that day and I’m so grateful”
A few years ago his niece Micaela sent him a photo of a pendant made from a fork. She simply stated- “make this!” And that is how he started working with cutlery, then adding coins as he developed his skills. “My first pieces were very rough, but as I continued working, I became more skilled at molding the material” He did not have any formal training, so much of his success has come about through trial, error and sheer determination. ‘Sometimes I will work on a piece and it’s perfect and at the last moment I mess it up. Other times it all just melds together and something lovely appears. But many, many mistakes have had to be lived through. I have been known to throw a piece across the shop in frustration. Fortunately some of the mistakes turn out pretty good!’
It is probable that many of the congregation in the church where Richard is a chaplain are unaware that in their midst they have a daredevil! Richard is a “semi-retired” stuntman and admits that his love for adrenaline-fueled activities prevent him for settling for a daily grind in an office job. He combines his love of creativity with his passion for music – he plays the drums in his church band and in a local town band. His brother is also musical, but he says his bus conductor dad and housewife mum showed no artistic traits at all.
Richard enjoys doing commissioned work – he feels fortunate that his customers usually give him scope to create on their behalf. He loves it when someone appreciates his work enough to spend their hard earned cash on it, and his greatest thrill is when couples buy rings he has created for their weddings. ‘To think that my art will be worn and made sacred in a wedding ceremony – it’s just fantastic!’
As well as being inspired daily by his faith in God, Richard’s wholehearted deep love for his wife Lily also gives him strength and inspiration.
Richard’s deepest wish is that everyone would, “believe and live their lives based on Godly principles. Think of how beautiful our world would be if we all cared for each other!”