With her “Duo Show” in collaboration with fellow ART123 Gallery Member Artist Antoinette Thompson opening this week, we sat down with Marla Chavez to learn more about what inspires her incredible jewelry designs.

Marla has been making jewelry for 15 years, but she has “always been creating something,” she says. “There are many talented women in my family. I had aunts that taught me to crochet, sew, decoupage, etc. I had a couple of cousins that made different types of jewelry and I always wanted to learn more.” A class at Thunderbird Supply Company got her started with the basics, and she expanded her practice via the internet, friends, magazines and more classes. “I also took a metalsmithing class at UNM-G some years ago,” she says. “That opened up a whole other world of ways to make jewelry.”

Now, Marla designs sterling silver and gemstone jewelry inspired by the world around her. “Often the beads I see/buy inspire the designs,” she says. “I can be looking at them and the ideas just start coming. Current fashion, movies, magazine pics, something will catch my eye and I will usually sketch it out, put my own twist on it and then try to create it.” Marla aims to make each piece one-of-a-kind. “I am always on the look out for different out of the ordinary stones or beads to give my designs that ‘something you don’t see everyday’ feel,” she says.

Right now, she is excited about working with wire because it offers so many design choices. “I love the excitement and energy that I feel when the creative juices are flowing.” Stop by ART123 this month to take home your own unique Marla Chavez original!