Dia de los Muertos/ Day of the Dead

Limited Edition Sugar skull rings and cuff by Marisa Martinez 2015

Limited Edition Sugar skull rings and cuff by Marisa Martinez 2015

This Fall I am very excited to announce the launch of my new line of Limited Edition Dia de los Muertos/ Day of the Dead Jewelry. I hope you enjoy these new playful pieces as much as I enjoyed creating them. Over the years I have incorporated a few sugar skulls in my work here and there and people sometimes ask, “what is with the skulls?” I love this question because it offers me an opportunity to talk about my beautiful Mexican cultural heritage and it’s traditions. Most of the time people assume that I really like Halloween. Others think it is all about death or something scary. So I wanted to take this opportunity to fill you in on one of the most sacred and beautiful traditions in the world.

Dia de los Muertos/ Day of the Dead is simply put a celebration of life. For three days we celebrate the lives of the people we love who have passed. We remember them, what they liked to eat, their favorite music, their stories. During those three day we prepare ofrendas/ alters for those who have passed filled with beautiful flowers, delicious food, and recuerdos (special momentos or pictures) of the loved ones. We make or buy sugar skulls with our children to teach them to not fear the dead or death itself. We sometimes even paint our faces as sugar skulls to participate in the celebration of our loved ones return. These sugar skulls represent the people who died. They are a symbol of this celebration of life in our culture. We believe that the actual spirits of our loved ones come to visit us during this time. It is a beautiful sacred time for us to be with them again and a time for us to remember them and pass on their stories to our children.

Over the years many more of our people have begun to celebrate this tradition here in the USA. As a Xicana, a Mexican born here to a migrant worker family, I am very proud of my culture and heritage. I want my son’s to grow up knowing about their beautiful culture and heritage and to be proud as well. It is so amazing to see that the beauty of our traditions have survived and made it all the way here to Minnesota. Being displaced from my roots at a young age I didn’t grow up celebrating many of my cultural holidays. It wasn’t until I came here in college that I found myself again. I am so happy that now I am able to share this with my children and that they will learn to pass it onto theirs too. This line is made in celebration of that. I chose the symbol of the sugar skull because of it’s duality and playfulness. I want people to wear these pieces and feel my joy of being able to celebrate my cultural heritage. I want these pieces to be a recuerdo (reminder) to never forget those we love who have left this world. To celebrate our loved ones and the lives they lived. And ultimately to remind ourselves to live our lives with passion and intent because someday someone will be remembering us and telling our story.

I am also very happy to be included again in this Year’s Festival de las Calaveras (Sugar Skulls) I will be showing my work at Electric Machete’s new gallery in St. Paul on their opening night on Oct. 16th at 7pm. Last year two of my shrines/ ofrendas were included but this year I will be showcasing my new line of Calavera jewelry. There will be the limited edition artisan line as well as an expanded calavera everyday wear line. So please come by the opening if you can and see it!

Warmly,

Marisa

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And in case you are wondering…What’s Festival de las Calaveras in Minnesota all about?

Festival de las Calaveras is a multimedia Latino music and arts festival organized and presented by Tlalnepantla Arts. The festival focuses on the traditional and contemporary celebration of Day of the Dead, which honors the memory of ancestors and loved ones, the duality of life and death, and the corn growing season.

In 2013, the first festival was organized to bring awareness to the Zenteotl Project’s community gardening work that is dedicated to planting blue corn, and extends the collective Day of the Dead ofrenda (offering) that culminates the corn growing season on the same plot where the corn is planted in south Minneapolis.

The festival extends the mission of Tlalnepantla Arts to honor and share an indigenous Mexican tradition with the Latino community and the Twin Cities, and to build a platform for the presentation of multiple forms of art and creativity that express our cultural pride.

Fore more information about Tlalnepantla Arts and the Zenteotl Project, please visit

The Zenteotl Project strives to reclaim and recover our connection with zentli (corn), the earth, and community through gardening and creative expression in our urban Minneapolis environment. zenteotl.org

New Classes for March and April and a look back at 2014!

New classes for March and April! The new schedule is out and classes fill up fast as there is a max of 4 students per class! I love that I get to teach in a small group like this! It makes for a great learning experience for the student but also a great teaching experience for me! I have also made the decision to limit my teaching to 6 months out of the year! My teaching months will be Feb-Apr and Aug-Oct. This will allow me to focus the other 6 months of the year on my own work and learning experiences. I am learning that balance in my life is key. I love to give my time and knowledge to others but I also need to nourish my personal work and passion for learning. I think this is good for everyone! While I continue to grow as an artist I will have more to offer to you, my students, as well! NOTE: I will still be open to hosting a private party or class for a special event as well as open studio time. So please don’t hesitate to contact me if you are interested in these! To register for classes visit: http://marisamartinez.bigcartel.com/category/classes-workshops

New class schedule for March and April! Max class size of 4! So Hurry! Register online: http://marisamartinez.bigcartel.com/category/classes-workshops

New class schedule for March and April! Max class size of 4! So Hurry! Register online: http://marisamartinez.bigcartel.com/category/classes-workshops

Looking back over the past year has made me realize two things. One that time goes by way too fast and two that a whole lot can happen in one year! As I take inventory of all that has happened my heart swells with gratitude. Thankfulness for all the people in my life that support my dream and that continue to encourage and push me to go further. Without all of you I could not continue to do what I love. I am beyond excited to see what this year has in store for my little piece of the world. I hope you continue to join me on this ride and see for yourself! Since it has been way too long since my last post…almost a year to be exact, I decided that a look back over the past year of my business was warranted. Here are some highlights:

Fun In the Studio!

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Day One Leanne and Tammy and their finished projects!

It was so great to host two of my favorite people this week for a class in my new studio! Leanne (Assemblage Jewelry) and Tammy (Sunny Creek Jewelry) are fellow jewelers and close friends. I admire each of them for many different reasons and It was an honor to help them learn new skills to incorporate into their work.

The fun started on Sunday at the Minneapolis Gem Show! Amanda, Leanne, Tammy and I found lots of treasures and inspiration to fuel our work in the upcoming months! It is always so great to see all the familiar faces, peers and friends at the show. Everyone excited about the next treasure they might find. Even after going to this show for almost 10 years I still feel my heart race with anticipation of seeing the beautiful stones and finding that one (or 10, 😉  perfect things to add to my artist pallet. We even had a new addition to our little posse this year! Little Poppy, Amanda’s little bundle- only a year old! All in all we had a great time!

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Old Treasures

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Tables and tables of color!

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My Favorite! TURQUOISE!

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More cool OLD stuff!

Monday we got to work! I taught them how to create their own tube bezels to set faceted stones into their work. Leanne received a grant last year to advance her work and one of her goals was to learn new ways to set faceted stones into her work! She made two pairs of earrings and a pendant to get started! Tammy was excited to acquire a new tool in her belt to use in her designs. She made a beautifully simple ring for her daughter Gracie.

Leanne at work:)

Leanne at work:)

On Tuesday we covered Gypsy/ Flush setting. Leanne was a natural at this! Gypsy setting is tricky and takes a lot of patience. There is a lot of trial and error! The key here is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Leanne melted a bunch of my scrap from my Papel Picado series into little balls and we used those to make little pebble stacking rings. She set a CZ in hers! And she had time to make a special little ring for her grand daughter Tilly! We had a great day 2 in the studio! I think she is set to create some beautiful pieces for her up coming Gallery exhibition at the NAG (Northfield Arts Guild) this coming fall! I am so excited to see it!

All the Pieces coming together!

All the Pieces coming together!

stackable pebble rings

Completed stackable pebble rings

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Fun stack I made for Kristina! She Loved it!

Reflecting today about the past couple days has helped me to know that it is more important than ever for me to continue to teach. In turn I have also realized that it is equally important for me to continue to learn! I have always loved teaching and I think I always will! My heart swells when I see my student succeed.  It’s my way of saying thank you to the universe for bringing this gift into my life. I also will always have something to learn. I get giddy when I get the chance to sign up for a class and have the chance to be on the other side of learning. It is a chance for me to play and grow too. I am looking forward to getting started on writing my first grant proposal to help me do more of both! I look forward to sharing more of that process with you all in the near future!

Go out and explore and learn something new today!

Let’s get personal

Words to remember!

Words to remember!

I can’t believe it’s almost APRIL. It seems as if I am always chasing time and I can’t seem to catch it! Growing two boys, two creatures, a relationship and a new studio is both a blessing and the challenge of a lifetime.

This morning I was inspired by another woman’s blog. The honesty and rawness in her blog imprinted on me and gave me the strength to start writing here. Her sharing her life reminded me that I am not alone and that there is always something to be hopeful about. Thank you Lisa Leonard!

This blog has primarily been about my work. I don’t usually share much about my personal life here but I think it’s time. I have feared that being totally honest and open on here for everyone to see would be to much. That it would make me too vulnerable. I am starting to realize that everything I do is all so interwoven. My personal and family life are at the core of my journey. When I try to keep everything so separate I start to feel insincere and less genuine. I am who I am, why try to hide that?

I have always believed that we as people carry a light in us. If that light is bright others are drawn to it, it warms them and feeds their soul. If it is dim, others can’t see them as well. They are left confused and wonder away. I feel that my light has been dim for a while now, my heart heavy with worry and sadness for things that I cannot control. I am usually able to stay positive despite the challenges that present themselves. But these past couple of years have pushed me past any limits I thought I had. They forced me to pull in. Hold tight to my children and close loved ones and create a tightly woven cocoon.

Good Point!

Good Point!

Amidst the struggles of being a single parent and raising two children with very different special needs, embarking on a journey with a partner to find and create a safe place to call home, and revitalizing a business, I am starting to feel my light return. Much like my anticipation for spring to finally arrive here in Minnesota after a long hard winter, I am ready to emerge from this tightly woven cocoon and begin again. Creating has always been an integral part of my light. It feeds me like nothing else. It has healed me and It has brought opportunities for new beginnings and special connections I would not otherwise have.

Now more than ever I feel like my studio is my “happy place.” It is a place where mistakes are opportunities and failure and worries are far from my mind. I am so thankful to have it right in my backyard. Being free of anxiety about being away from my children brings some much needed peace. I am looking forward. I am growing excitement in my heart for the good things to come.

These days I am working hard on developing new pieces for my lines and stocking my inventory for upcoming shows. My neck and fingers are sore from the intensity of the work but I am welcoming the pains of the bench and my mind and hands are full of energy once again! My newest line of jewelry, the PAPEL PICADO (cut paper art) series, is blooming day by day. I am even dreaming of new ides. When I dream about it I know I am on the right track! This series is so special to me because it originates from a tradition in my culture that has deep roots. It is a treasured folk art from Mexico that often involves complicated designs being transferred to tissue paper or other surfaces and then cut, or punched out with special tools by local artisans. These are then turned into banners or flags and used to decorate on special celebrations such as weddings, life celebrations, and holidays. To me they represent a reminder to celebrate life everyday.

Yreina of Ay Mujer at work!

/ Yreina of Ay Mujer at work!

Many contemporary papel picado artists like the amazing Yreina Ortiz of Ay Mujer! create much more elaborate designs and have taken to laser cutting their work in order to grow their businesses. For now I am enjoying the process of hand sawing out my designs in sterling silver with a tiny jeweler’s saw blade. The process is very slow and tedious but it helps calm my mind and fill my soul.

Follow me on Facebook/marisa or Intsagram/marisa to see my progress!

 

 

A Dream Made Real

We broke ground in June of 2013

We broke ground in June of 2013

For the past 7 years I have been renting studio space in the NE Minneapolis Arts District. When I first started making jewelry 9 years ago I worked out of my three season 6 x 9ft back porch. Fully loaded with a space heater and heat lamps for those MN winters. I drove at least once a week 40 miles to Northfield for instruction from my mentor Leanne and rented studio time from another Northfield artist Jennifer. In her studio I had access to a torch, a kiln, and other cool tools I didn’t have the money or space for. I remember those days fondly as I know they were integral in my journey.

Much has happened in the past 9 years. Primarily, my two little boys are now 10 and 12. Not little boys anymore. They have made this journey with me as I started this venture when they were just babies and the chapter of my life as wife and stay at home mom was ending. They have watched me struggle and cry as well as triumph and leap for joy with the ups and downs of this business. They have spent many a day in the studio with me, movies, games and sketchbooks in tow, so I can work. They have been drug to shows, and fairs. Essentially they have grown with my business and really know nothing different. As a single mom this business has been such a blessing. It has allowed me the flexibility to be there for my children in ways a normal 9-5 wouldn’t. One of my children, the oldest being Autistic and having epilepsy has fueled my drive to make this business succeed. I need to not only be able to provide for these two but I need to be able to be available anytime, without the added stress of losing a job due to missing work for being called home to care for him. This business has given me that.

The past two years have brought challenges beyond any I could have imagined. These challenges have brought me to my knees, praying for guidance and help. They also brought me a gift. Another “angel.” Her name is Kristina. She has changed my life forever. We bought a home last March. A dream come true in and of itself. This home is nestled in St. Paul and we are surrounded with great neighbors and close to friends and everything we need. The boys are settled and happy beyond belief in having their own rooms and lots of boys their age to play with on our street. As if it couldn’t get more perfect, there was also a large backyard with room for a studio! YES a HOME STUDIO! A place I can work anytime day or night. Having my children close, comfortable and safe. Saving the driving time and rent money of an away studio. The benefits are too many to list. I wanted to share with you all a photo journey of the process of building this studio. It was pretty stressful at times. Construction never goes as planned. It tested our patience over and over, but in the end it was all worth it!

I am so excited to share this space with clients and students. Please contact me at info@marisa-martinez.com to set up a visit or to schedule a class!

Building the foundation

Building the foundation

Foundation poured

Foundation poured

Ready to start framing.

Ready to start framing.

Framing has started!

Framing has started!

Almost done framing.

Almost done framing.

A look inside...

A look inside…

Roofing underway

Roofing underway

Roof done, sheet rock, windows, and doors!

Roof done, sheet rock, windows, and doors!

Sheetrock and mudding inside.

Sheetrock and mudding inside.

bowling alley floor counter tops going in.

bowling alley floor counter tops going in.

Plywood sheet floors and lighting goes in upstairs.

Plywood sheet floors and lighting goes in upstairs.

Painting and lights outside- Alley view

Painting and lights outside- Alley view

Backyard view

Backyard view

Inside finishes -stairs

Inside finishes -stairs

installed counters and lighting- main work area

installed counters and lighting- main work area

The mural begins in the stairwell!

The mural begins in the stairwell!

Kada bringing the under painting to life

Kada bringing the under painting to life

Almost done!

Almost done!

New to the Shopping Cart!

example gift cert

New to the shopping cart this year! Gift Certificates! These make the perfect gift for the jewelry and art lovers in your life! They can be used towards any purchase of Marisa Martinez Jewelry or Art and towards classes and workshops as well. Click here to get  yours today!

Solar Arts Holiday Show

Solar Arts Holiday Show

SOLAR ARTS HOLIDAY SHOW

DEC 5-7 TH
12/5 Thursday 5-9PM
12/6 Friday 5-10 PM
12/7 Saturday 11-8PM

711 15TH AVE. NE
MPLS MN 55413

Caitlin Karolczak, Marisa Martinez,and Patricia Punykova,
Invite you to our ANNUAL ARTS SHOW Join us and our guest artists for Art, Music, and Merriment! Find that PERFECT gift for everyone on your list and enjoy some of the BEST ART in the Twin Cities.

The whole Solar Arts Building community will be open and celebrating for this annual holiday arts event- you won’t want to miss it!

Creative Rush

I am so excited to share my new collection of jewelry, Papel Picado, with all of you!  This body of work was inspired by the beautiful folk art in Mexico used in various celebrations called Papel Picado (cut paper art) Traditionally fine tissue paper is is hand cut by artisans in motifs native to mexican culture. This series captures the essence of the surge of creativity I experienced this fall.  It all started when my family and I were getting ready for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). I was pulling out all of the ofrenda adornments I have collected over the years to decorate the alter we create in our home to celebrate the lives of our loved ones that have passed. The intricate designs of the Papel Picado that I found planted a seed in my mind. A few days later in my studio working on new designs with Dia de los Muertos images swimming in my head, I explained the tradition to a friend, as I worked. The images in my mind transferred to my pad of paper and the new collection was born.

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Calavera cuffIMG_2481IMG_2474IMG_2482IMG_2483

Each piece is hand fabricated, pierced, and comprised of mostly sterling silver with at times accents of copper and brass to enhance each piece. I have incorporated beautiful semi precious stones into many of the pieces as well. My hope is that the future owner of these pieces will be reminded to celebrate life everyday, to recognize the beauty around them in the simple things, and to keep the memories of their loved ones always close to their hearts.

These pieces can be found this holiday Season for only TWO WEEKS at ART MOB Gallery in Minneapolis. Click on link for more details!

For more information about Dia De los Muertos click on the link below!

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http://www.inside-mexico.com/featuredead.htm

Maiden Minnesota 2013 at the Graves Hotel Nov. 1st!

Maiden Minnesota

Maiden Minnesota is a fun, socializing and charitable shopping event featuring some of the best women-owned businesses in Minnesota.  Spend the night with friends mingling and shopping for the wonderful products and services that keep us stylish and in love with Minnesota!

Maiden Minnesota 2013 will help support and raise awareness for The Makers Coalition, a movement to restore and build the industrial sewing heritage of America. They work together to find, train and employ a proud, creative and skilled workforce for today and future generations.

More than 35 “Maidens” will show you their fashion, jewelry, accessories, home decor, specialty food items and more.  The event will feature exclusive sales, merchandise, and a silent auction.

I am EXCITED to once again be invited to be a part of this great event. I will be there with many new pieces in my collections. I will also be offering a great gift with purchase at this event so you don’t want to miss it!

Purchase your ticket today!