Hi there. I’m Alison J. Stein, wearer of many hats — and occasional fondler of bees.
(Okay, I fondled bees one time, and just for this picture.)
I write, I art, I make jewelry, and I teach.
*Drop me a note at alisonstein at gmail.com.
About the writing:
Over the years, I’ve published tens of thousands of words for many different magazines, newspapers and websites, including American Archaeology, Glamour, Inc., Mother Jones, The Toronto Star, The Washington Post, Yoga Journal, among other places. I even wrote some books and contributed to some anthologies, of which I’m particularly proud.
In Leave the Lipstick, Take the Iguana: Funny Travel Stories and Strange Packing Tips, a Traveler’s Tales anthology, you’ll find my essay, Naked with a Passport — on a visit to a spa that went awry. I was also honored to be included in Best Women’s Travel Writing, where you’ll find my essay “The Heat Seeker” — on pursuing the spiciest food I could handle. Read more about my writing here.
About the art:
In 2013, I took a sabbatical from travel writing and studied art and craft at The Art Students League, The School of Visual Arts, The National Academy Museum and School, The Fashion Institute of Technology, The Center for Book Arts, The 92nd Street Y, and other places around New York city. I studied bookmaking, print making, embroidery, drawing, painting, mixed media arts, and more — and also did a summer residency program in book arts at Kenyon College.
Here are some examples of my recent work, in various media:
Psssst! Lots more recent stuff on Instagram.
About the jewelry:
During my period of art education, I also took a number of jewelry classes, in metal work, cold connections, enameling, wax carving, resin casting, global knotting and macrame styles, beadweaving….basically, every technique I could find.
That experience led to my jewelry company, Alison Wonderland Jewelry, which was active from 2015-2018. My business started with three not-very high falutin’ words: Fuck This Shit. I hand stamped it onto a key chain for myself, in a moment of total frustration. The story is here.
People starting asking me for those key chains. And the business was born. I found studio space in Greenpoint, and then in DUMBO, Brooklyn, and I made a lot, and I mean, A LOT of jewelry. I was proud to have been one of the first to make “Nevertheless She Persisted” bracelets in the Spring of 2017, which raised over $600 for the Southern Poverty Law Center, and to have sold my jewelry all over the country, to service people overseas, and to customers globally.
Still, after a couple of years, I learned two things: that I didn’t love making a zillion of the same pieces, over and over again, and that the kind of work I liked to make — one-of-a-kind art jewelry, often with a political message, often using found materials — was something that was probably better in the realm of fine art rather than commercial jewelry. So I shuttered that business, although I obviously still love making, wearing, and being anywhere near jewelry.
Here are some examples of the work I did under the Alison Wonderland Jewelry umbrella. (Sorry! None of these are available for purchase anymore.)
About Very Curious Mind
I initially started this blog as an online portfolio for my writing, and a place to share the interesting material that didn’t make it into my published work. It also turned out to be a great place to publish short pieces on subjects I couldn’t or wouldn’t want to place elsewhere.
Over the years, the topics I’ve focused on here have shifted with my interests. Initially, there was a lot about demographics and business, then women’s health, then travel, then personal essays — and then jewelry, and art. Besides my curiosity, the common thread through it all has been my deep and abiding interest in creativity, the creative process and running a creative business. The blogging world has changed a lot since 2005, when I started this blog, and I feel like a lot of what I wanted to do with blogging is now satisfied on other social media. But if there’s one thing that I’ve learned in this life, it’s this: you never know what will happen next.