If you’ve ever been in CB Stark in Vineyard Haven, chances are you’ve seen the subject of today’s blog, Elysha Joy Metals. Between seeing the jewelry in person, and being captivated by it on instagram, I wanted to find out more.
It’s funny, Elysha Roberts has worked with me several times with jewelry I bought at CB Stark, but I didn’t realize that she was also a jewelry maker herself. I just thought she was an amazing sales person, jewelry repair maven. Boy is she so much more.
Elysha grew up on Martha’s Vineyard. After high school, she went to Massachusetts College of Art and Design to study painting. She had always been artistic and it seemed like the natural course. However, when at school, she took a jewelry making class and feel head over heels. It remed as though jewelry was the path she would follow.
Unfortunately during this time, Elysha’s mother got breast cancer. This is the news no one ever wants to hear. Elysha started researching the type of cancer her mother had, and really became interested in the structure of the human cells.
When you look at what I consider Elysha’s signature pieces, you can see the influence of the human cell. Fortunately, her mother beat cancer, and is cancer free. From this period of hardship came something of beauty, and Elysha has continued to create cell inspired jewelry and of course other styles too.
She knew that she wanted to come home to Martha’s Vineyard. The natural beauty, the support found here for artists, this Island is where she belongs. Also, she was able to get a job at CB Stark. Having a job in your field, jewelry making, and having the flexibility to create your own line is a gift for an artist.
For seven years, Elysha has been making jewelry. People have really responded to her designs which often feature a simple repetitive form, there’s a connection. Since her love affair with jewelry began, she has challenged herself with work with a number of different mediums.
The earrings I think of when I think of Elysha Joy Metals, are actually made of polymer clay and silver. I had always wondered what they were. They’re substantial but are so light.
In addition to working with clay, silver and copper and gold (which she is starting to incorporate semi precious stones into), Elysha also likes to work with resin and handmade paper.
It’s the handmade paper that is her current favorite. To take tree bark from various trees, that she gets in the mail, and create her own paper from start to finish, and then create jewelry is an arduous but truly amazing process.
She finds jewelry to often be so small, and she loves making statement pieces. One of a kind, mixed media statement pieces that people really feel special when wearing them.
Clearly, Elysha is on the right path. In 2014, she was awarded a Saul Bell award, second place for alternative materials. This is a really big deal for a jewelry maker. It’s basically like getting an Emmy. Winning this, really was validation for all the work that Elysha buts into creating her pieces.
For this incredible creation featured above, she used paper, wax, copper paint. Though lovely in the picture, seeing this piece up close is even better. It almost looks other-wordly, but is so beautiful. Truly a gifted artist.
Living on the Island, is a great resource. For design and inspiration of course, but also because there is an amazing, supportive group of young artists found here. It’s an exciting time to be an artist on Martha’s Vineyard, where you can have so many people from all over the world experience what you create.
Being in Elysha’s studio, where she creates her art is so also inspiring. All of the different materials, the different collections, and witnessing her enthusiasm and joy in creating her wearable art is an experience.
Her jewelry can be described as contemporary jewelry – inspired by nature (notice how some pieces look similar to the Japanese Lantern plant). You can find Elysha Joy Metal jewelry at CB Stark, Driftwood, Etsy (soon), and possible the Vineyard Artisan Festival (if she gets a spot).
You can learn more about Elysha Joy Metals on Facebook (website coming soon). And speaking of social media, don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Linked In, Google+, Pinterest and Youtube.