TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A woman visiting the Tampa Bay area is creating beautiful works of art to be worn out of simple change.
Every piece of “Makes Cents Jewelry” created by Christinea Beane serves a purpose.
Each item Beane creates includes three elements: a guitar string “to represent how we use music to express ourselves,” gears to represent psychology, and a penny for “looking beneath the surface in order to understand.”
She said one piece of jewelry may be similar to another piece she creates, but no two are exactly alike.
“I think a penny is a metaphor for everything in life. We see luck: ‘find a penny pick it up.’ Sharing: ‘leave a penny, take a penny.’ Communication: ‘penny for your thoughts?’ But when you really investigate, you also see rejection and abandonment as people argue that the penny shouldn’t be made,” Beane said. “No matter how you feel about a penny, it does have value.”
The artist is originally from Tennessee but has been staying in Tampa Bay visiting a family friend.
Mental health is important to her, as she’s battled anxiety and depression since she was 13 years old. A high school friend of hers also took his own life.
“I choose the word ‘battle’ because it’s a constant fight. Sometimes I’m winning, sometimes I just need to take a nap,” Beane explained.
She told WFLA’s Daisy Ruth another woman confided in a friend of hers, saying she was feeling suicidal. That friend did not know how to respond, so Beane wrote a complete stranger a letter and sent her a gift.
“So I created this care package, shipped it to him to ship to her, and in it was a bracelet – the first one I ever made,” she said.
Beane decided to completely concentrate on her jewelry as of 2019.
“I learned there is a version of ‘hard’ we all carry with us. And it’s not greater or lesser than anyone else’s story, but it does deserve to be shared,” she said.
Beane explained she flattens her pennies with a small mill, which is a mini-version of a souvenir penny machine you might find in a theme park. It allows her to manipulate the shape and size of the penny. She uses coins from before 1982, as they are 95 percent copper. She then puts them in a metal etching solution to further work on them and create the gear imaging.
She’s been selling her jewelry at various markets throughout the area, and her work will now be featured at “Earth Angel” in Seminole Heights.
According to Beane, she primarily gives back to the national organization, “To Write Love On Her Arms.” The organization is based in the Melbourne area of Florida.
For her next adventure, the artist is packing up and moving from the Tampa Bay area in her Kia Soul with her dog. She’s going on a cross-country journey to continue to spread hope to others during this time of need and work on her jewelry. It’s the first time she’s ever made such a decision.
“I am equally terrified and excited…I don’t really feel like I can settle down with myself until I have the opportunity to not only see the country but do this,” she said.
You can find her at the Pass-A-Grille market this Saturday and in Safety Harbor on Sunday before she leaves town.