After a car accident in 2013 involving a distracted driver, Sharon Nicpon of Shorewood was left with a traumatic brain injury. Initially, she couldn’t walk or talk, and was forced to quit her job as a manager at Cub Foods, a position she'd held for 35 years.
Nicpon found herself stuck at home, unable to attend her children’s baseball games or go to family dinners due to her injuries, which included a sensitivity to light and sound. “It’s a sad beginning that led to a great outcome,” Nicpon says.
On her first venture out after the accident, a friend accompanied her to Michaels craft store. She browsed through the many beads and stones for jewelry-making and decided to try her hand at some bracelets to give to loved ones who had been generous to her through her recovery period. Fancy jasper, a stone that traditionally represents tranquility and living in the present, caught her attention. “That was exactly what I needed at the moment,” Nicpon says. “It piqued my interest.”
Intrigued by the symbolism and purported healing properties of each stone, she went home and did some more research. There was a stone for everything, from emotional strength to relieving insomnia. Shortly after those first projects, Nicpon founded her business, Purple Manor Gifts, and began selling her one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces.
The practice suited her on many levels during that time. The hand-eye coordination that beading requires helped her redevelop motor skills. But making jewelry also helped Nicpon heal in a way that her medical treatment didn’t seem to. She had been experiencing severe anxiety attacks and depression after leaving her job. The simple act of holding her beads and precious stones calmed her and gave her the energy she needed to move forward. “Each stone gives a certain vibe, and I would wear the one I particularly needed that day,” Nicpon says.
When working on a new piece, she’ll sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, inspired by a new idea. That inspiration can come from anywhere, even a pattern or assortment of colors she’s spotted that day.
Though creativity is essential to her work, spirituality is also in play. Many of Nicpon’s designs feature crosses, angels and other religious symbols. When working on a new piece, she prays for the person it’s being made for. It’s a healing exercise that became a habit during her recovery, a time in her life when she prayed more than ever. With her own renewed faith, Nicpon hopes to spread healing throughout the community. She regularly volunteers through church programs and is working to set up a donation fund for local people who are homeless. Nicpon credits her husband, Mark, and their three children for providing her with strength and encouragement. With their support, she’s been able to return to work part-time and expand Purple Manor Gifts.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” Nicpon says. “You don’t know why bad things are happening when you’re going through them, but it all works out. It did for me.”
Contact Sharon Nicpon at email@example.com for information about her jewelry.