Interview by Zakkiyyah Najeebah
Meet Zuri Croson: Mother, entrepreneur, yoga teacher, activist, dynamic creative spirit, and risk taker, is the founder and lead designer at Thread and Jewel, Inc.
Through her creative work and involvement with social justice organizations in her home of Atlanta, Zuri is committed to sharing her love for the arts as a means of support and empowerment towards youth in her community. Zuri’s passion project, Thread and Jewel is abundant in beautifully crafted jewelry made for those who take risks and seek beauty from the inside out. I had the opportunity to further discuss Zuri’s lived definitions around spirituality, creativity, and community. Be sure to follow Zuri's journey on her Instagram account (@threadandjewel).
Zakkiyyah Najeebah: Describe a day in the life of Zuri Croson.
Zuri Croson: My days start early. I have to wake up and get my daughters fed and ready for school but I make sure that I always have green tea as I run out of the door. There is no typical day because I am always up to something new and often times my ideas come faster then the organization! I usually walk or ride my bike to get some exercise after I've taken the girls to school. I made a conscious decision after spending an extended time in Mexico that I wanted to have a more active lifestyle so I moved into the city and I tried to take advantage of that. I am constantly looking for inspiration and most of my work happens on my phone. Emailing, pitching, surfing Instagram, product sourcing, coming up with new designs, reaching out to people, and texting my boyfriend! I spend a lot of time doing research. I get paid to do that as a profession and when it comes to the business side of being a creative it has served me well.
I peak in the afternoon. So that is where you'll find me designing my next piece, writing or brainstorming. I think a lot. I worry a little. Then I get out of my head and get back to work. I do yoga in the park after school with my girls and then come home and eat a quick dinner before we all meditate together before bed.
After they're asleep I clean up and work on Thread and Jewel. I rarely watch TV. When I'm too burned out to work I read or I hang out with people who make me happy. Then it's lights out and time to start the cycle again.
ZN: What’s the story behind Thread and Jewel?
ZC: I used to have a sign in my office, it read "Everything Started From Nothing". Thread and Jewel wasn't a plan. It just dropped in my heart. It is my passion and creative offspring. It is the first idea that I ever felt was completely mine to shape and it is rooted in my connection and respect for the earth. Stones and crystals are so humble and so beautiful.
ZN: Is there a common thread between your practice as a yoga instructor and jewelry maker? How has that (thread) informed your creative and spiritual practices?
ZC: Yoga has been a part of my life since 2005. I think the common thread is the desire to share. Transitioning from doing to teaching yoga is similar from the transition of making jewelry for fun to selling it seriously. The relationship isn't just personal anymore. It's a living thing between myself and others.
ZN: On “To adorn is human”, what is the significance and meaning behind that?
ZC: If you travel or study history you'll begin to see that people everywhere - no matter the culture, gender, or socioeconomic status- decorate themselves. Shells, metal, wood, beads- we humans love to express ourselves through adornment. With Thread and Jewel I want to adorn wild souls, those who take risks, who live life with all they've got, and who are drawn to these pieces because they reflect the beauty they feel inside.
ZN: Are there any tips or advice you can share with our community as a creative entrepreneur?
ZC: Start sooner. That gives you more time to make mistakes. Trust your instincts. If you're drawn to it. Other people will be too. There are no shortcuts. Getting your gifts to the world takes time and consistency. If you get tired, find a shoulder to cry on and start again when the tears dry. Repeat as needed. Build a network. Be around creative people. Always talk about what you do when you meet people. Be a resource. Don't just take, give what you have to your community, e.g. time, advice, your skills.
Z: How would you define “community” and how has it informed your creative endeavors and work as a yoga instructor?
ZC: Community are the people who choose to make our family. Atlanta has a dear place in my heart and it’s where I did my yoga training and where I have grown into my identity as a business woman and creative. From my perspective, community is more than groupings of people. It implies responsibility and support. My yoga instruction has often happened in non- traditional spaces such as group homes, with the disabled, and the community yoga class at Charis Books, the oldest feminist bookstore in the country. Now my business Thread and Jewel has partnered with Re:imagine/ATL a non-profit that nourishes the youth in the Atlanta community by empowering and teaching them how to tell their own stories through media. As I grow I hope to give more and more.