When choosing a piece of jewelry and in life, artist Amy Speek hopes her customers will be guided by their inner voice.
"Everyone goes through something in life, and it's sometimes really hard to listen to your gut," said Speek, who uses inspirational symbols in the majority of the jewelry she creates for her Whispers of the Spirit line. "Whenever I listen to that voice, it's always right, so I try to motivate people to listen to their heart and spirit, because it's trying to tell you something."
She said someone going through a divorce might be attracted to a butterfly, which represents transition and serves as a reminder for the wearer they will fly again.
"Choose what speaks to you," said Speek, whose symbolic pieces are inspired by a workshop she attended on totem symbols in Arizona. "A lot of people like the tree, because it is symbolic of life, growth and being rooted in something."
She said another popular symbol right now is the owl, which represents mystery, silent wisdom, strength, vision and stillness.
A card with the meaning behind the jewelry's symbolism is included with each piece.
Other unique qualities to Speek's jewelry include the mixing of metals such as copper, silver and brass.
She said she has recently been incorporating more feathers into her work, as the feather is both light and strong, reminding the wearer to carry only what they need.
Speek is currently attending graduate school at UTC to become a therapist, and for her service project she created the Grace Scholarship in December.
She and Ron Ashley of Reflections Counseling serve on the board of the scholarship, which is named after Speek's grandmother. It is intended to help people enter treatment who are otherwise unable to afford it.
All profits from the sale of her inspirational bookmarks and 30 percent of her jewelry sales go toward the scholarship fund. She also recently organized a walk-a-thon to benefit the project.
Call 886-9032 or email email@example.com. Visit the Whispers of the Spirit Facebook page to see new pieces added to the collection. Three Black Sheep is at 1229 Taft Hwy. and can be reached at 886-9276.
Speek said she started making jewelry for herself before she began selling her pieces at Fly Boutique. Her work was soon flying off the shelves, and she was then approached by Three Black Sheep, which carries some of her dressier styles.
"The point is to create jewelry people can afford," said Speek, whose jewelry is also available at Market on Main and whose metal collection can be found at New Moon Gallery in North Chattanooga.