Mano y Metal: Handcrafted Jewelry with an Industrial Edge

Good morning! I’d like to introduce you to this month’s spotlight artist, Des. She is the super talented, self taught jeweler from Little Village, Chicago, USA. Des started Mano y Metal in 2010 and has been working non-stop since! 

Her art pieces quickly caught my attention while stumbling thru etsy. She has soft feminine pieces, like the hand painted wood earrings, Frida Khalo earings. The Heart of a Biker series has confidence and “bad ass” written all over it, yet feels as soft and feminine as the earrings, and I LOVE it! The cuffs and rings, are so awesome; adorned with quotes that are so inspiring and motivating!

Mano y Metal is one of my favorites because of the unique contrasts between the tough metal and heart warming phrases.
READ the interview below for some awesome inspiration and motivation!
1. How did you start Mano y Metal? I was inspired by a street vendor I met in Puerto Rico this past summer, she had a steel block on her knee and was hammering wire on it to make earrings and I returned to Chicago unable to shake the desire to create jewelry and most importantly: use a hammer in the process—I love the irony of such an aggressive action i.e. hammering metal—and how it produces a delicate piece of wearable art=jewelry. 
2.What inspires you and how do you keep yourself motivated? People, experience, a phrase in a conversation, colors, train rides, dreams, tangled emotions, conflict, resolution, city sounds, the past, present, culture –all of it—I pull from all areas of my life and if something inspires me I scribble it on a post-it and add it to the collage of post-its on my wall… the pieces that get priority in being produced are the ones that keep me awake at night—tossing and turning, until I create and share them.
What keeps me motivated is the love Mano y Metal has received in this short time of being up and running. When a customer sends me a picture or a message telling me how much they like wearing their piece—that motivates me to keep producing new and fresh work.
3.How would you describe your style (Mano y Metal)? Definitely non-traditional, I am a self-taught jewelry artist so every day is a learning process and I like to create work that is bold, truthful, thought-provoking and most importantly FUN to wear! What we wear is a reflection of us and I hope people are able to connect to my work in some way and have fun wearing it.
4. What is your creative process? I ride the wave of impulse with my creative process and I almost have no control over what will be produced—my artistic side is quite dominating and all I can do is put on some music that sets the groove for my creation time and see what I come up with—I try to work in the daytime too because the sunshine streaming in my window inspires me. Most importantly, I tell my inner critic to take a nap while I work so it doesn’t distract me! J
5. What do you enjoy most about creating your pieces? The ability to create whatever I want- literally—I like the ability to lift limits and if I like an image, color, word—I can put it on a piece of jewelry and I set out to make it happen- I no longer have to hunt for the perfect color, style—instead I can produce it myself and that is awesome! I love being able to share that ability with my customers too as I offer the option of customizing products– which transfers to them: the ability to get whatever they’d like hand stamped and created on jewelry (within my ability) for them or their loved ones. It’s a very cool feeling to be able to do that- be my own boss, create and share.
6. Any words of advice/tips for people who want to express their creativity, but don’t know how? Put your inner critic on mute. I see how children push limits and scribble on a piece a paper and call it a house—or call it a universe and the children believe in their scribbles- even beam with pride at their creations and as adults we tend to lose the ability to shed logic and just believe in our imagination— we put our creativity through a series of internal filters and end up dismantling the passion that evoked an idea to begin with.
Instead, pick a Sunday afternoon for that art project you’ve been putting off—play some music, set out your materials, remember to relax and have fun, trust your creative impulses and see what you come up with! Nurturing your creative side unveils parts of your personality that lay buried under the everyday routine we often get trapped in—use art to liberate the child within yourself; the one that believes in their ability to create.
Des would like to giveaway this rad cuff to one special Nina on the Moon reader!
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