I’m thankful to be able to share this story with you today – the story of how craft – specifically, jewellery-making and metalsmithing – helped SuzAnne Taylor to find new purpose in her life.

SuzAnne was a combat medic in the US Army, and after a tour in the Middle East, returned home with a severe case of PTSD.

I’ve known SuzAnne online for a few years now, but when I finally learnt the details of her story, I knew I wanted to bring her on the show to talk about her experience, and how finding a craft literally saved her life.

This is an incredibly moving episode – SuzAnne is an open book and we dive deep into her experiences over the years since her tour of duty.

I want to thank SuzAnne for sharing her experience with us – and sharing her journey towards healing. 

P.S. the Thriver Circle – my membership community & educational hub for makers – is open to new members right now – from June 13 to June 16 2019. Click here to find out more about how the Circle can help you grow your handmade biz… faster.

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Quotes and highlights from this episode:


  • SuzAnne joined the army straight out of secondary school and spent over a decade serving her country.
  • After discharging from the military as a combat medic, SuzAnne was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Her clinician advised SuzAnne to find a hobby as part of her treatment plan. 
  • This led to SuzAnne signing up for a workshop at a bead store where she was hooked by the repetition, focus and attention to detail required to create her first beaded bracelet. 
  • “Whether it is metalsmithing or basket weaving, art is healing and it definitely saves lives” {Suzanne}
  • SuzAnne was keen to learn more metalsmithing and jewellery making, however, a workshop triggered her PTSD.
  • The workshop instructor provided out of hours opportunities to learn and provided SuzAnne with support and guidance as she further developed her skills.
  • SuzAnne started selling her jewellery through shows then created an online presence which she has consistently developed over time.
  •  “It was really slow at first but then you learn a little bit and you put that to work. It is a constant learning process and you’re never done” {SuzAnne}
  • Metalsmithing and jewellery making is an important element of SuzAnne’s management of PTSD. 
  • “This is where the jewellery making came into play – it gave me a sense of purpose to busy my hands and to busy my mind” {Suzanne}
  • As SuzAnne spent more time developing her art and business she 
  • “I am no longer a combat medic, I am a metal smith, and that did amazing things for my mental health” {SuzAnne}
  • Go check out SuzAnne’s beautiful work – Taylor Metal Designs.

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