APU graduate student finds healing from her chronic illness through the jewelry pieces she creates. 

Azusa Pacific graduate student Carla Kendig started her small jewelry business back in 2018 when she was going through a dark period in her life. Now, her business has allowed her to regain a part of herself that she lost while in active duty in the military. 

Kendig rebranded her business about two years ago because she felt like her previous name didn’t properly represent her business. The graduate student settled on the name Salt and Earth Jewelry. She drew inspiration from Matthew 5:13 for her business. The scripture reads, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet” (ESV). 

“Jesus calls us to be the salt of the earth, and I thought that really encapsulated my mission,” Kendig said.

The APU graduate student found the name fitting because she uses parts of gold and silver when she designs her pieces for her jewelry. 

Photo courtesy of Carla Kendig

Kendig’s mission isn’t only to innovate beautiful art pieces but also to give back to the community that has supported her. With every purchase a customer makes, Kendig donates 10% of the money to a charity or a non-profit organization of choice. Some of these organizations include The Bee Conservancy, Red Cross, and The Bail Project, to name a few. 

“I believe that because I’m supported by my community with their purchases, I should also give back in the same way,” she said.

Kendig’s aspiration to start a business came from a time when she was dealing with depression. While Kendig was serving in the military, she was suffering from broken hips and a chronic illness. This caused her a severe amount of pain as the bottom half of her body became less mobile. 

She started talking to her therapist about the depression she was experiencing back in 2018. Specifically, Kendig was having a difficult time grappling with her chronic illness. She was in constant pain, feeling like everything she did wasn’t satisfying or rewarding. 

“It was really difficult dealing with my disability for the first time, not having been a disabled person before,” she said. 

Yet, her creativity and love for art allowed her to find joy in life again. Kendig used to do commissions for art galleries, and through her business, she re-sparked her love of designing artwork. 

Photo courtesy of Carla Kendig

Kendig also noted that there was a Hobby Lobby right next to her apartment, and she would often go there and pick up pieces for her jewelry. Over time, she wore the art she crafted, and her friends were quick to comment on how lovely her creations were. That motivated her to start up her business and get busy with creating more jewelry. 

In addition, Kendig discussed her creative process for making her jewelry. She said she finds her focal point in every piece, whether that be a chain or gem that she starts off with. However, sometimes inspiration strikes when she is playing a video game or doing other activities. Then, with her hands, she twists, bends and molds her art into existence. 

It brings Kendig great contentment to see other people wearing her jewelry and enjoying what she herself has crafted, and it’s through her hands that she renewed her love for art and rekindled her sense of purpose. 

Photo courtesy of Carla Kendig