Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Interview with Cheryl Baker of Zen 4 Animals Jewelry

I am so happy to have Cheryl Baker as my interview guest today.  Cheryl is an artist and an avid conservationist.  She has married these two parts of her life in such a valuable and productive manner.  Let's welcome Cheryl.

Cheryl and Dixie Doodle
NS  Please tell us when you first discovered your love of and respect for animals.

CB  Since I was a very young child, I have always felt a very deep connection to animals, It was more than just loving them for me, it felt like I understood them in a way that I couldn't put into words. I would come home with fallen baby birds, injured rabbits and I was always seeing stray dogs everywhere. We seemed to always find each other.

One of my very defining moments was one night during dinner when I was about 12 years old. As I sat sharing my dinner with my dog, Sandy, I alternated glances between her and the meat that was on the table. I remember wondering if there really was a difference between my dog and the food animal.

An earlier defining moment was after reading an article in the Reader's Digest about leg hold traps and the fur industry. I was so upset that I decided at that time to always help animals.
I would go to bed at night praying for all animals to have wings so they could fly away if they had to.
Fancy Face
NS  In what ways has your life been defined by this passion?

CB  Everything in my life has been defined by my passion and love for animals. From the cosmetics I choose being 'cruelty-free' (no animal testing) to the foods I eat. My journey has always been to choose kindness and compassion - everything else happens around that to light the way to who you are.
Through the years since childhood I've always chosen the 'rebel with a cause' path. I was inspired to protests against pigeon shoots, giving presentations about animal welfare, working with rescues and my work undercover in a research testing lab where they used animals to test cosmetics and household products. You can read about my experience in an article I wrote, “A Bunny Would Never Wear Mascara.”

Even the cars I choose in some way had animals at the heart of it. Well, at least one car I drove long ago that had a small hole in the back floorboard. I made the hole 'cat-size' and put blankets and pillows inside for the stray cat colony living behind my apartment complex. I felt bad when I had to evict them all, so I could go to work. I eventually found homes for them - (mostly my home).

NS  The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was very personal to me.  In what ways did it impact your life?

CB  I don't live close enough to have been impacted on a physical level but the disaster was a heartfelt reality of what consequences human mistakes can have on animals and our environment. It also was a reminder of how we can work together for the benefit of animals in a crisis. I believe there is always more good than bad and we need to focus on the positive aspects in any situation.

NS  Tell us about your animal jewelry and how that came about.

CB  I'm not sure, but I really think one of my cats insisted on it...:)   I've always loved creating things and one day while sitting at the table teaching myself how to make jewelry, one of my rescue cats,Fancy Face, jumped up and just sat there staring at me among my jars of beads and findings. In that moment she became my Zen Assistant and my jewelry business, Zen 4 Animals Jewelry, was born.

New items and new ways to help animals...

NS  Please tell us about your Peace for Pelicans jewelry and what you’ve done with it.

Peace for Pelicans Charm Key Chain
CB  A wonderful and compassionate man, Jeff Dorson, who is the Director of the Humane Society of Louisiana contacted me about making jewelry with a Pelican theme after the BP Oil Spill to help raise much needed funds for the animals and coastal recovery.

 I was thrilled at the opportunity help and I began designing many Pelican themed pieces of jewelry. I donate 50% of each Pelican item purchased to the Humane Society of Louisiana. The shelter has all of my items listed under their Merchandise page . I also list them on my website,

I would love to one day see my jewelry displayed and sold in stores so that more animals could be helped. I love making jewelry that people enjoy wearing and knowing part of that has directly helped animals. And people get to choose what rescue or animal organization they want to help with their purchases. I send a percentage of each purchase directly to the rescue they mention with their order.

Cheryl, this has been fascinating and fun!  It's so exciting to meet people like you who care so much for animals and see the absolute need to help our environment as well.  I wish you all the best luck in the creation and sales of your beautiful and worthy jewelry!

Black Onyx Bracelet


  1. I enjoyed this interview very much and applaude Cheryl for the fine, unselfish work she is doing to help animals.

  2. I couldn't agree more, Barbara. She is such a wonderful young woman, and I'm happy to have gotten to meet her!