The Black Cat Jewellery Store is an internet based business owned and run by me, Anna Berry Martin. (That's me in the first photo.) I specialize in handmade, semi-precious gemstone jewellery. I am also a part time Gothic and alternative model named Lady Anna Calypso.
I have been ill with M.E. for the last 12 years and had to stop working 11.5 years ago. I have been horribly ill and bedbound for a large proportion of that time. I began to make jewellery about a 6 and a half years ago when I started to become a bit better. I needed something to occupy me, that I could do at home, that was within my capabilities. I still suffer greatly and my physical ability is very limited but I'm improving slowly. I have no idea what started me thinking about making jewellery, the idea just popped into my head! Before I was ill I used to train horses and have a dog walking and pet sitting business so this is totally different! I am amazed to find my self making jewellery and enjoying it so much. Most of my jewellery is made using my beloved semi-precious gemstones. I love working with colour and creating different looks by combining the gemstones with different metals such as silver, antique gold, gunmetal and my favourite, antique copper. I'm drawn to richly or brightly coloured stones such as fire carnelian, turquoise, various forms of agate and amethyst. I love the varying markings of a particular stone and how no two beads are the same. These factors are what inspire me to create a piece.
My designs tend to be colourful, bold and striking. I like to make Gothic style pieces that can be used in my photoshoots but I wear jewellery made by other designers too.
If you are a jewellery or clothing designer and would like me to model your pieces, then just send me a message and we can discuss terms.
I often use Tibetan silver in my designs. This is an alloy of commonly copper, tin and zinc. The beads that I buy are lead free and comply with EU nickel legislation.
Incidentally, the black cat is my cat, Lewis, who was my constant companion throughout my illness until he sadly passed away in February 2016. I could not have got through without him.
Now, there is a new black cat, a very fluffy Norwegian Forest cat called Harriet. She is only one year old and rules my life!
Follow my modelling page on Facebook - www.facebook.com/ladyannacalypso<
On Twitter - www.twitter.com/blackcatjewels<
On Instagram - www.instagram.com/ladyannacalypso<
On Vero - @theblackcatjewellerystore, @ladyannacalypso
A Little Bit About M.E.
A lot of people have the wrong idea about M.E, or C.F.S, as it is sometimes known. I think the problem comes with the word 'tired'. Quote - 'M.E. causes the person to be tired all the time'. Normal and healthy people then think 'Well, we all get tired. Why can't you get off your ass and carry on as we all do?' 'Pull yourself together. Stop whinging and get on with it.'These are things that M.E. sufferers hear all too often.The actual nature of this 'tiredness' is completly different to the tiredness that a healthy person feels on a day to day basis. There is no word to describe the 'tiredness' that comes with M.E. The best I can do in describing it is this...It is an overwhelming wretchedness which engulfs your entire body. It leaves you feeling utterly weak in all your limbs and it does not get better with sleep and rest. You feel trapped in a useless body. And to top it all, M.E. affects your cognitive function as well so one spends a lot of time feeling sluggishly stupid.
It is certainly not a case of 'getting off your ass and getting on with it.' Believe me, I only wish that I could! If I push myself beyond my limits (do too much), the exhaustion gets worse, not better. If I push myself even more, I get even worse. If this happens it can take days, weeks, months or even years to recover to the stage that I was at before I did too much.
I am an extremely driven, motivated individual, certainly not lazy as is sometimes assumed by people who don't understand the nature of the illness. I work as hard as I can with my jewellery business to ensure that I don't have to go on benefits.
So all I ask is that you find out a little about the illness before you judge us. I hope this little piece will help people to understand bit.