Designing and crafting jewelry is one of my greatest passions, one that exhilarates and excites me with each piece. Often I am moved to create jewelry that "tastes" of my experiences in Nature, be it the discovery of a blush-pink snail shell on the gray beach, the nubby green texture of a sun-bleached urchin shell, or the intricate pattern of feathers adorning a heron's wing. My work is equally influenced by the nature-inspired styles of the Japanese culture and the Art Nouveau era. Initially, I create each piece of jewelry for myself, to express a specific design or experience of mine, and when I am finished my creative drive has been fulfilled.
When creating a piece of jewelry, I strive to combine five elements of nature that speak most strongly to me: color, pattern, texture, organic shape, and metal. My sense of design recognizes these patterns, textures, and colors to be the ultimate compliment to the human figure, and the marriage to a natural metal enables me to manifest my designs in a medium that will withstand use. In considering the design of each piece and its eventual relationship to a human body, it is also important to me that my pieces be functional and practical, with a mindfulness to size, weight, shape, and ease of wear. I also make a valiant effort to keep my business practices as socially responsible as possible, purchasing the majority of my material from within the US, and purchasing my metal from an environmentally responsible refiner.
Each piece sparks its own individual inspiration within me, so most of my pieces are one-of-a-kind. When I do reproduction, it is very limited. I find repetition to be very unstimulating, and the result is a neutralized creative drive. I also try not to limit myself in my material selection based on value, or lack of. If it catches my eye, it is usually worth my time. As a result of this, my body of work is constantly evolving with fresh new designs and materials, and I take great pride in this.
-- Nisa Smiley
When I was a girl, I traveled from my home in Vermont to Deer Isle, Maine, for a vacation. It was here that I bought a handful of beads from a small gift shop, and assembled my first pair of earrings. The experience of creating my own jewelry was thrilling and satisfying, and despite my crude craftsmanship, I saw something for the first time: a manifestation of my own sense of aesthetic design.
Though subtle at the time, this experience proved to be a monumental awakening for me, and the beginning of my life-long quest to create beautiful handmade objects that reflect my sense of design and aesthetic. This journey eventually brought me back to Maine, where I earned my BFA from the Maine College of Art, while frequenting the local seaside. I settled in the coastal Acadia area to raise my family and enjoy an abundance of natural inspiration. Today, I maintain a home studio, working constantly to balance family and art.
Another driving force behind what I do is the unique process of connecting with a person who has been touched by my work and feels a personal connection to the jewelry. This is very rewarding for me, and most satisfying when I am able to see my creation adorning its new owner, someone who will likely cherish and care for it as I would.
I hope that you enjoy your time here, amongst my work, and are pleased with what you see. Should you, too, feel a connection to a piece or two, please don't hesitate to contact us- remember, the majority of my work is one-of-a-kind, and once it's gone, it's gone.