Today I'm writing as a participant in a blog hop, hosted by The Crafty Chica, Kathy Cano-Murillo. I've just finished an online marketing class with her (which was incredibly fantastic). Some of the other class members will also be on the hop. So check out their links on Kathy's blog today.
So, new readers - Welcome! Here's a little about my work and mission.
Most of my jewelry work is made using beach glass, seashells, little pebbles and other things I find on my daily walks at the beach. I use traditional jeweler techniques, like casting and soldering to make the pieces.
I love to elevate the commonest little broken bit of shell to a status that’s equal to a pearl or a diamond. I use pearls and diamonds in my work too. But I enjoy the form, the color, the story of any item. They each have to prove themselves to me. If they do, then I’ll put them into my work.
I work mostly in silver, copper and brass. I can use gold too, but for now, it’s just for special orders.
I have several collections that I’m working on. Beach Walk Treasures uses the beach finds like beach glass and shells as the main element. Bones of the Sea is all silver castings of shells and beach patterns. I add diamonds or water colored gemstones to those.
Right now I’m working hard on a new collection that I’m really excited about. It’s called Pirate Tides. It’s inspired by all the pirate movies. I got into my head a character of a pirate that needs to hide his treasure map. So, I have a series of rings that have secret compartments for his maps. That led to making earrings and necklaces that are inspired by pirates. And a few simpler rings too. I have big plans for this collection!
My work is a mix of these love of the Sea type pieces and also Art jewelry. The Art jewelry pieces are more to view than to wear. I like to think of jewelry as a form or medium. At that point it’s not about wearing something to look pretty. It’s about exploring what is a ring. It’s a joke or a statement, a comment, a discovery. That’s what I explore with the Art Jewelry. Those are usually made with found objects of glass or rust, paper or plastic, whatever inspires me.
I’m also drawn to using forms that are ancient and maybe stem from instinct. The moon, the sun, the stars and the cross. The wedding ring. These forms never go out of style.
I offer engraving on crosses and wedding rings and those are my best sellers. Those are the pieces that really support my other experiments. And it’s great because I never tire of making them. I feel like another maker in a long line of generations who make these forms. I’m so honored when I make a wedding ring or other item that will be in a family for decades, maybe generations. That is such a thrill!
My mission – the reason I do this everyday – is simple. I want to make you reconsider what you think is precious. I call it redefining treasure. I want you to see through the eyes of our ancient ancestors. That Eve who walked the beach and made herself a necklace of seaweed, dripping with shells. That hunter who tied the bear claw onto a strip of leather and placed it on his neck. There is some instinct within all of us that makes us adorn ourselves with objects of shell, stone, glass and metal. There is something older than tradition that makes us wear a ring to show our love. I’m ready to explore where that instinct comes from and where it can lead me. Everyday I’m ready to walk that path.
So please, come back and join me again!
Mary Lu Wason
is a studio jeweler. Here she shares the inspirations, discoveries and process of creating her art jewelry collections.
@PirateTides on Instagram