Welcome to my Studio; Come on in!!
My name is Marcela. I sit in my studio and draw images of love on a warm pitch that will, in time, shape the story I tell in a piece of beautiful jewelry you might wear to dinner - or give to your daughter, or someone you love!
My story isn’t written literally in the silver or gold you wear, nor is it exactly spelled out in the textures and colors of the gems I choose. It is behind the passion and the trust with which I clear that pitch away from your jewelry and polish the shine into it. My story is one of love and tradition, and it is one of travel - but mostly it is one of finding home.
After a long journey I am now finally at home in my studio. It is filled with all of the lessons I have learned and the traditions that built my heart in the historic capital of Ecuador, Quito, where I grew up and learned my craft.
I arrived at the atelier Escuela Bernardo de Legarda, and I found it!
Growing up I was a shy girl and needed to find an outlet to express myself. I loved to work with my hands and, with the encouragement of my first art teacher, I learned that art was how I wanted to communicate with the world. After finishing high school I dabbled in graphic design and although I learned a lot, it wasn't home for me.
One day as I was visiting the Old town of Quito, I walked into this beautiful old Spanish-Colonial house, surrounded by rich textures, sounds and history. It was the Atelier Escuela Bernardo de Legarda. I was instantly captured by the smells of burning pitch, wet stone and the sounds and sights of hammers, chisels and burning torches in the silversmithing atelier.
For four years, I studied silversmithing with an emphasis on chasing and repoussé. I spent six hours each day listening and carefully observing my maestro, Don Jorge Espinoza, a wise man with big hands and a generous heart full of knowledge, passion, and advice.
I loved my time in the Escuela where tradition and love for the old techniques were the driving spirit, and where my real self was being uncovered just as I learned to fire the pitch away from my metal and discover the life in the drawings of my own pieces.
I left the Escuela to take a scholarship in Florence, Italy
After four years, I left the studio to take a scholarship in Florence. In leaving my home in Ecuador, I was leaving family, comfort and safety for the first time. Florence was a turning point in my journey. I found young love. This was the beginning of a journey that would take me far away from my first home in order to help me build my own in a different country far away.
After my time in Florence, I went back to Ecuador for a short time where I converted a small space at the back of my mother’s house into my very first Studio. It was simple, but it was all mine and still holds a sacred place in my heart.
I was happy. I loved my home and my life there, but I had started a journey in Italy, and it wasn’t finished yet.
Not long after I left my home and my Studio and packed everything up in boxes, leaving some stuff behind in Quito, I brought the rest with me to Chicago in the middle of the Winter, it was so cold!
I followed my heart away from my first home and the warmth of my first studio.
I was terribly homesick, and I needed to find a connection to the tradition that had made me whole before - but I had packed it up in boxes. I knew my time in Chicago was limited. I had much more travelling to do.
I soon left Chicago for Bloomington, Indiana. In Bloomington, I found my independence again. I worked in a small jewelry store, making friends and finally becoming recognized for my artistic talent. I didn’t settle on recognition. I continued to work hard and learn new techniques every day. I was finally ready, after 13 years, to unbox my studio.
My jewelry, my Studio and my tradition had been boxed up and set aside for almost 13 years. I was finally ready to unpack them and find myself again.
I followed my heart one more time to my current home on the beautiful beaches of Boca Raton, Florida. I’ve taken a small space in my house to make a Studio from which I can create, like I did once before, surrounded by soothing melodies and the smell of burning pitch. My daughter was born here; it only makes sense that my jewelry should be as well. It was like my travelling heart could finally relax, completely at home.
My passion was boxed away for a long time, and now that I’ve found it again, I’m ready to teach and share my tradition. So today, after all of my travelling, I’ve found a home and a Studio, where I can sit and tell stories of beauty and love in warm pitch, and I can tell you about the journey I took to find love and home with every bracelet or ring or necklace that has yet to discover itself in my jewels. With my story complete, I wish to welcome you to my home!
Please take a look at what I have created recently and feel free to imagine how you might take my art with you on your own journey and start creating your own traditions.