Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Secret Side of Angela M.

 Angela at home in her studio, well equipped for the job
You may have met Angela at the shop as she helped you pick out the perfect item, and then chirpily wrapped it up. But you might not know that the pretty pink-haired Momo Girl (now a five-year veteran!) is our resident jeweler and hidden talent behind two of our favorite lines: Flora and Fawn and Little Teal.
Angela (or A1 as we like to call her) began her foray into jewelry making in 2006. Upon completing a metalsmith class at a local college, she invested in a kiln and launched Flora and Fawn, setting out to create a collection of happy-making, brightly colored enamel adornments. She appreciated the technical and methodical process by which she could consistently produce her fun, affordable earrings and necklaces.

The beginnings of a cheery enamel accessory
The magic kiln that heats up to 2,500 degrees
A finished Flora and Fawn necklace

In 2016, adversity struck with the unexpected loss of her sister. Her world shaken, for months she sat numb at her workbench. One day while poking around her studio, she rediscovered a cache of natural stones, many of which she collected as a child in her Southern Oregon home. Picking through the random assortment of gems sparked a long-smothered ember. “It felt like Christmas!” she recalls, and so inspired, she created Little Teal.

A teal is a small, freshwater duck
Slowly, her passion rekindled as she experimented with the smooth, soothing stones. At first, she applied the same prescribed planning as she used with enameling. But things never worked out as intended, “The universe conspired against me,” Angela says. Instead, the individual stones dictated design, often leading to happy accidents. “If I let go of control, it makes sense … and ultimately, I’m more pleased with the results.”

Ring or necklace? The stone sets the tone
Each piece is meticulously hand made, start to finish
She’s careful not to fracture the stone
Entirely different than Flora and Fawn, Little Teal is all about elegant, one-of-a-kind pieces, as no two stones are alike and designs are difficult to replicate. Angela loves the distinctive personalities of individual stones and lusts after obscure varieties like Peanut Obsidian and Victoria Stone. Her selections are all natural, no lab grown varieties for this rock hound.

So many unpredictable shapes, colors and sizes, oh my!
Angela’s favorite finds are from a lapidary near where she grew up. For years she drove by the rustic shop situated on the highway linking the Redwoods and Oregon Coast, assuming it to be a tourist trap. While home for her sister’s memorial, she stopped in to check it out only to confirm that it was indeed stocked with crystals, beads and fossils for the hobbyist, and layered with a fine film of rock dust.

But then the owner asked her what she was looking for, ushered her to the back room, and presented her with velvet-lined trays of beautiful, hand-cut-and-polished stones. “It was like finding a dragon’s hoard of gems!” smiles Angela. She learned that Marc and his wife, Gabby often come upon possibilities while hiking through the woods, and many of their offerings are found only in their area. Their store has since shuttered, and the couple now only sell online to avid fans that snatch up the rock rarities as quickly as they’re listed. 

An Oregon river: possible source of A1’s hydrogrossular garnets
Although her new love is found in nature, Angela once again enjoys the systematic task of enameling, balanced with the spontaneity of stone setting. Luckily, both Flora and Fawn and Little Teal are available at Momo, with A1 on hand to enlighten us as to their individual delights. 

“I’m sure that I would not be doing the work that I’m doing today if something catastrophic had not happened,” she says thoughtfully “It was the only thing that made me feel alive.” Through creating beauty, Angela found peace and joy. Thankfully, she shares her wisdom with Momo.