“If you don’t diversify and do different things, you’re not growing,” says Sonya Hough. “Anyone can create one great painting. But if you stop there, you miss your potential.”
Sonya is talking about her late husband’s artwork, which graces the walls of her Mayflower apartment — but the words are an apt descriptor of her own life. An artist by trade, Sonya began by designing mosaics. Then, after she and her family moved to St. Croix, she took up jewelry-making. The rest, as they say, is history.
With a gift for design and an entrepreneurial spirit, Sonya transformed her small tourist shop into Sonya, Ltd., a high-end boutique beloved for its warm island welcome and Caribbean-inspired styles. Today, her brand’s iconic “hook bracelet” is the unofficial symbol of the island, worn by locals and visitors alike.
But after 55 years in the jewelry business, Sonya was ready for a change of pace. She stepped down from her position and moved to The Mayflower — bringing along the color and beauty of the isles in her apartment’s extensive art collection. As an artist, however, Sonya is by no means retired: She’s always on the lookout for her next idea.
“I always want to explore new kinds of art,” she says. “Inspiration comes from learning to see things in a new light — finding that special ‘eye candy’ you can’t look away from.”
Living in Winter Park, Sonya has plenty of inspiration to draw from. Less than a five-minute drive from The Mayflower are the Morse Museum of American Art, which boasts the largest collection of Tiffany stained glass in the world, the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, and the Cornell Fine Arts Museum. And within walking distance: the Crealde School of Art, which offers an array of workshops and classes.
These days, Sonya is applying her talents to a new medium at The Mayflower’s wood jewelry class — and, as an extra challenge, she’s also enrolled in a local course on fused-glass art. “It’s much more difficult than anything I’ve done with jewelry — much more exacting,” she says. “You have to grind it, edge the pieces, solder it together. It’s hard work, but the end result is worth it.”
Her creative pursuits keep her busy — but when she’s not at work planning her next piece, Sonya enjoys exploring all the opportunities The Mayflower has to offer. From classes at the Fitness Center to on-campus music and entertainment, there’s always something new in store.
“The more things you try, the more you see and experience, the better off you are,” she says. “It’s as simple as that.”
Welcome to The Mayflower’s “Community Culture” blog collection! In this series, we cover the importance of creative aging throughout life — and explore how residents are living better at The Mayflower. (You can read the previous entry in this series here!)
If you’re ready to discover a new kind of luxury lifestyle, don’t wait. At The Mayflower, you’ll find a full array of stimulating programs and activities, an active community, and an abundance of opportunities. Plus, our campus is just minutes away from all the culture and beauty that downtown Winter Park has to offer.