Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Southwest-inspired wire wrapped and enamel jewelry

This Valentine's Day, my husband gave me a really nice surprise: the chance to accompany him on a business trip to El Paso, Texas. He has a client who's based in Las Cruces, NM, so we flew into and stayed in El Paso, which is about a half hour away. We then traveled around that area of Texas and New Mexico for the next few days. The trip was last-minute -- and we flew out in the middle of a storm! -- but we had a wonderful time.

I've always loved the Southwest. The scenery is amazing, especially in the National Parks and there is a lot of history to take in. My parents first took me to that area of the country when I was 8 and we spent the summer driving across the United States. We visited pretty much the entire area: Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. We went back to that part of the country when I was 17; I then traveled there with Jon a few times. However, until this past trip I'd never been to Texas! Now I can add another state to my list.

When in the Southwest, I almost always purchase some type of jewelry. Much of it is made by the various Native American tribes; in fact, you often see stands on the sides of roads where pieces are sold -- and where you can watch the artists make their items. I don't know what the prices are like these days, but when I was a kid, you could buy a handmade shell necklace for just a few bucks... which was way underpriced for the labor put into these items. I still have a few of my pieces, including a purple shell butterfly necklace, but after making my own jewelry, I have much more respect for these artists' talents and craftsmanship. On this trip, I bought a handmade clay pin, which was made by a regional artist. Since I don't make pins, I figured I'd buy something that will help support a local jewelry designer.

One thing that I love about Southwestern-style jewelry are the colors. A lot of reds, blues, blacks and silvers are used. I like that color combination because the hues are extremely vibrant. I've used these colors in a few of my wire wrapped jewelry designs. I have a long way to go before I can make pieces that are as intricate and complex as some that I've seen in, say, Arizona, but here are a few of my Southwest-inspired items. You can see more of my jewellery at Naomi's Designs and MayaGirl Creations.

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