GET TO KNOW OUR ARTISTS: MELISSA JOY MANNING Q&A
Melissa Joy Manning‘s neoteric work has inspired and captivated us for almost a decade. Handmade in her Green Certified California studio, her collection is both eclectic and modern. Using recycled gold and silver, semi-precious and precious stones, and found objects, her line blends traditional and unconventional design to create unusual, one-of-a-kind heirlooms that will continue to tell stories for generations.
1. We love that your one-of-a-kind work honors the inherent beauty of each glimmering stone and natural object, turning every treasure into a precious keepsake. Can you tell us a little about what drew you to jewelry design?
I’ve been making things for as long as I can remember. My idea of play has always been about creating – I used to make my Barbies elaborate furniture! But I wasn’t really sure what to do with this creative passion until I took a jewelry class in San Miguel de Allende. From the moment I touched metal I was hooked. I was lucky to discover my passion and even luckier that people share my enthusiasm for it and support my work. I’m constantly amazed (and grateful) that people buy what comes out of my head!
2. What was the first piece of jewelry you ever made?
A ceramic Montessori school bead necklace (I made the beads) that my mom still has!
3. How would you describe your personal style? Your day-to-day jewelry style?
Eclectic – I’m a big/high low, inclusive person. However, these days I’ve moved more into trusted, uniform staples that I know are responsibly made. I can make any monochromatic look extra with sneakers and jewelry. I’m a big sneaker head and my favorites are Veja.
4. Most adventurous thing that you’ve done?
Cliff jumping in a dry wet suit into freezing water in an Icelandic fjord.
5. Favorite stone?
Nope – I kind of love them all. They are all miniature encapsulations of our universe.
6. Favorite artist?
I studied Art History before I switched gears to focus on Jewelry. I’ve always been a huge Cy Twombly fan – so much so that my son is named Cy!
7. Coffee or tea?
French press coffee in the morning, peppermint tea at night.
8. How do you like to spend your weekends?
Playing with my son. We spend a lot of time outside learning about nature (he is 3) and I get so much joy hearing him talk about plants. Right now he is obsessively categorizing plants into “poky” and “non-poky” categories. It’s hysterical.
9. Best way to de-stress?
Reading poetry with my son. I found this amazing book, Sing a Song of Seasons, A Nature Poem For Everyday of the Year, and Cy and I end each day with a reading. I love the idea that we will do this every day of our lives until he stops wanting to read with his mama. There is something so comforting and relaxing in our ritual.
10. What are you looking forward to?
A continuation of smallness and responsibility. I’ve been working to make everything in my personal and work life smaller and more environmentally & socially responsible – it’s been a challenge and I really enjoy finding alternatives that challenge my conditioning of “more/bigger is better.”
P.S. Read more about how Melissa’s studio uses sustainable practices to honor the beauty of our natural world here.
Photos by Laura Barton