Artist Sheridan C. Watkins of Winston-Salem calls her “wearable art” Shairpins and they range from fashion accessories to décor.
Shairpins (pronounced “Share-pens”) come with interchangeable “pins” that people “can snap on and off between hair clips, headbands, necklaces, brooches, decorative jars and wall décor,” Watkins said.
“The same pin, you can snap it onto a hair clip and then snap that same one to a necklace and décor,” she said.
She sees her pins as a fun way to give women control over their own style.
“I love florals so that’s the theme of everything,” she said.
Watkins is a native of Charlotte. She moved to Winston-Salem in 2011 to go to Winston-Salem State University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2016.
She has been working part-time on her Shairpins business since 2014.
Watkins, 27, started out making hair pins for herself.
“It gave me a way to have a different hairstyle without doing too much,” she said.
Her choice of material for all her pins is felt. She makes them by hand.
“I went with felt really because of the control and all the color options it offers,” Watkins said.
She is pleased with the way her business has been growing.
“It’s been really fun to see myself evolve,” Watkins said. “I’ve been able to make so many connections and really get into the art of Winston-Salem. I’ve seen a whole new side of Winston-Salem that I didn’t even know existed. It’s been so cool.”
Her goal is to work full-time in her business and help women and girls understand and believe in their self-worth.
“I want to help women realize that they can do anything that they want to do,” she said. “I have goals of helping women and young girls start their own businesses through Shairpins.”
Q: How would you describe your art?
Answer: I’d describe my art as fun wearable art because you can’t only put Shairpins into the category of accessories and décor. It’s something you can play with, customize and utilize in so many areas of your life. Art is all about bringing to life and sharing what you feel inside. And the funny thing is, that may change from day to day. So being able to interchange how you wear Shairpins is what I believe creates that connection to art because it’s more than an ordinary accessory.
Q: How have you evolved as an artist?
Answer: In all sorts of ways. It’s quite unbelievable. I asked God to grow me, and I’ve been able to push and challenge myself in ways that have produced beautiful and fun new creations and additions to the Shairpins collection.
The name Shairpins was chosen because in the beginning, I only created hair pins. I created a way to make the pins interchangeable, so you could “share” them around. And the name fit perfectly. I’ve grown to include ways to snap your pins off your hair clips and on to a necklace, headband, brooch, and even décor.
It’s been so fun and fascinating to see what I can create. I’ve never been the most artsy person, as in I can’t paint or draw well. But I’ve always been creative and innovative and it took me a while to realize what I create is art.
Q: Who has influenced your art?
Answer: Nature is the biggest influence of my art. I love natural things because it shows how every imperfection makes one thing beautiful and unique. Natural things can’t be replicated either, even if you get real close.
The other influence of my work is women and girls. I struggled with my confidence growing up, and feeling unworthy of nice things. Everyone has their own set of obstacles to grow through but I had a hard time believing I could even grow. As an adult woman, I have so many things I would tell my younger self about how beautiful growth is. Growth has phases and it looks different in each phase. And when it all comes together it’s a beautifully broken masterpiece. I was distraught about a broken piece, not realizing it broke off to fit perfectly into the bigger picture.
If I can help other women and girls realize this concept of life and grow through what they go through, I believe I will fulfill my purpose on earth. Believing in our self-worth is so necessary and I’ve seen over my decades of growing up how society can paint a picture that makes women feel unwanted, unnecessary and like a misfit. But we are the exact opposite and great things happen when women are involved. The world would cease to exist without us. So let’s own it.
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
Answer: Although I lift women up and see them in ways they sometimes don’t see themselves, I too, still have my moments of doubt, worry and anxiousness. Those moments will likely never go away but every day I
Q: What does art do for you?
Answer: Art gives me peace. It makes me feel a connection to one of God’s children and their mind. It’s so interesting to see the minds of others. We’re different yet the same and art makes me realize that fact every time.
Q: Any advice for other artists?
Answer: Anything you create is art. It doesn’t have to be a painting, it just has to be you. If you can’t give a piece of yourself in your art, pivot. That connection and that warm fuzzy feeling you want to share with others comes when you share yourself, so don’t overthink anything. Just create.
Fran Daniel writes about artists — visual, musical, literary and more — weekly in relish. Send your story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 336-727-7366.
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