My name is Melina, and I make handmade jewelry with cold porcelain clay for my shop Palomaria. I live in Vancouver with my husband and two small boys. Although my husband and I are from Argentina, we’ve been living in Canada for the past nine years.
My business is unique because all my pieces are made from scratch. I make every medallion, charm and even the beads with my own hands.
When I create, I use my own cold porcelain recipe, which I make at home. With it, I shape and model all my pieces using molds and letterpress plates to create texture. The pieces dry, and then I sand them, paint them with acrylics, and protect them with water-based varnish. I assemble the pieces myself, too.
Like many creative types, I experience a driving force from time to time that makes me work, experiment, play and discover something new. It’s powerful. I’ve learned to recognize and appreciate these waves of inspiration and follow them wherever they take me.
In 2009, I experienced one of these big waves. I was a bit burnt out from taking care of my toddler and baby, and the Vancouver winter afternoons were so dark and boring. I started playing in my kitchen, putting together the clay I used for doll making (another creative outlet of mine) and the letterpress plates from my job (at the time, I was a designer, paper maker and printer running a small stationery business). The jewelry I’m making these days is a result of that wave of inspiration, although the look of my work has changed and evolved over the past two years.
My favorite handmade items are the sweet baby blankets my mother knitted and crocheted for my kids when they were babies. I used them during their early babyhood and they are so precious to me. When my kids got older, I asked my mom if she could take apart all the blankets and combine them to make one big blanket for me. Since she’s the coolest person ever, she agreed and patiently unraveled all eight of them to make a big, patchwork-style bedspread. I treasure it since it carries the energy of my boys as new babies. And I love the result since it’s unplanned and made with what we had, as in the old days!
Thanks to Etsy, I had the chance to transform my passion into a way of earning an income. I really appreciate this community of creative talent that amazes me every day. In practical terms, I appreciate the help and the easy platform Etsy gives me to offer my work to the world. Despite the many tasks that I must accomplish to run my shop, I’m very grateful to have support with the challenging aspects of the business, like getting exposure, web analysis, and having sales organized on a clear, user-friendly, ever-improving platform.
This creative adventure has brought a lot of happiness, playfulness and fresh energy to my life. Even though I’ve always worked for myself in a creative field, I feel I’m playing more than working now more than ever!
All photos by Palomaria.