Surly-Ramics is owned and operated by ‘Surly’Amy Davis Roth with the help of her husband, ‘Surly’ Johnny Skaare. All of the design and manufacturing of every piece of Surly-Ramics jewelry is done by us, by hand.
- To provide affordable jewelry created with innovation, quality craftsmanship & attention to detail.
- To produce beautiful little works of art that are accessible and inspiring.
People often ask how the name Surly-Ramics was born. Here is the story behind that:
My Name is Amy Davis Roth. I am an artist. I have always enjoyed creating. I have been painting ever since I was a child and almost as long as I have been painting I have been trying to find a way to express myself creatively while making enough money to survive. This is the familiar struggle of the creative person. How do you find the time to create (without compromising your integrity) and still be able to afford to put food on the table? Well I thought I had it all figured out when I opened an art gallery in North Hollywood, CA. I could paint in the gallery and help other artists by providing a space to show and sell their work. Despite passion, drive, 7 day work weeks and fabulous art on the walls, the old warning about, ‘location, location, location’ came into play and after a two year run the gallery went belly up, leaving me bankrupt, without a car or even a place to live. I lost everything. I stopped making art. I was heartbroken AND flat broke. Art was my life and that gallery meant everything to me. I got really depressed.
A year or so went by. I got a job as a waitress. Now, anyone who has ever worked in the service industry knows it is a much harder job than it seems. There are people out there who come into a restaurant not because they are hungry or thirsty but just because they want to boss someone around. They want someone to complain to or be mean to. Now, don’t get me wrong there are plenty of wonderful people in the world who just want a burger and understand being polite and proper tipping procedures but there is a big handful of people who apparently can’t cook for themselves and feel the need to push around a waitress or two and top it off by not tipping. I think Hollywood might even have a few extra jerks because everyone in this town wants to think they are so very important. At any rate, I had been waiting on tables for about a year and a half and I started to get more and more annoyed. I hated my job. I had really become SURLY! Waiting on tables can really wear on you emotionally and physically especially if your heart is somewhere else. For me it was the mindless repetition. “Do you want fries with that? Can I get you another beer?” The faces sometimes change but the dirty dishes are always the same and they still have to get picked up at the end of the night again and again. There was no creativity or intellectual stimulation. Work was simply that, just work.
It was somewhere during time that I started making art again. I began painting. I think at one point during that time I painted 8 paintings in 3 weeks while still waiting tables at night. You hold in the creative energy for too long and it can just explode out of you. My mother, Charlene Roth is also an artist, a ceramic artist. She had taught me years ago how to make ceramic jewelry and how to fire it. (and almost everything else I learned about art she taught to me, and I am forever grateful) Working in ceramic was something I really enjoyed so I thought I would give it a go again. That is when I started making necklaces and wearing them into work. I loved making them and when I wore them it reminded me that I was still an artist despite my job title.
Then a funny thing started happening. People fell in love with the jewelry. All the girls at work wanted to wear them and the guys too. Then suddenly people wanted to buy them. I had people buy them right off my neck! I couldn’t make them fast enough. It was amazing. Surly-Ramics was born! Within a few months I had started a new business, one where the location didn’t even matter.
I don’t wait on tables anymore. I make art and jewelry full time. I’m happy again. I’m making art that people enjoy, that I enjoy. I feel very lucky. I got another chance at a career that I love. So do me a favor. Next time you are waited on by a surly waiter, tip extra big!
Contact Surly Amy at email@example.com
Check out Skepchick.org were Amy is a contributing writer.