Always flitting from one assignment to the next—Beatrice gives Tinker Bell a run for her money—the artist allows her customers to choose the outcome of their purchase. She never presses what her final piece is meant to be: “I’m not so sure that art needs to be defined. If someone chooses to wear or display or collect my pieces, or do all three with them, that’s entirely up to the individual. I do my best to make sure that the pieces are durable enough for wearing, if that’s what the owner chooses.”

Satisfied and proud of what she’s accomplished, Sue Beatrice has built a good life for herself and her family. She has garnered a gathering of reliable customers and they have given her more than 15,000 “likes” on Facebook. In fact, she turns to past consumers for future sales: “Word of mouth and shares on Facebook have created a waiting list of commissions. Though I’ve had several exhibitions, none are scheduled at the moment. Due to the amount of time it takes to create each piece, I’ve found it unnecessary to advertise at this point. In addition to the Steampunk pieces, I am also involved with a great variety of sculpture projects, including sand-carving events for Sand Sculpt USA, Sand Castle University, and even pumpkin carving. And I also still work as a commercial sculptor for Disney and other major corporations.” When it’s necessary to hire subcontractors to assist in her commercial art projects, Beatrice readily does so. She is cognizant of what is necessary to make deadlines and honor contracts.

Having to shuffle her time among the demands of licensed work, commissioned pieces, and her own steam-fueled imaginings, Beatrice is thankful that she is doing what she was born to achieve. That is a crucial key for unlocking a productive and successful career: “Most of us have to make a living. So, those hours might as well be spent in a fulfilling task. You may get tired of having to work, but hopefully you never tire of the creative process itself. I don’t feel qualified to tell anyone how to enter into a business endeavor. All I can suggest is to make room in your life for the sake of creating. It’s therapeutic and rewarding spiritually. Once you ‘chase’ the money, you lose some of the enjoyment of it.”

Having been a professional artist for most of her life, Beatrice is still captivated by her occupation. It is both her vocation and avocation, and she’s wise enough to allocate the time needed for her hired projects as well as her more personally significant ones. Relying upon past lessons learned to design clockwork artistry that is inspirational and invigorating, Sue Beatrice is the living embodiment of Steampunk hero H.G. Wells’s observation: “We all have our time machines, don’t we? Those that take us back are memories . . . And those that carry us forward are dreams.”

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