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!




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

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!



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!



MN Original- What an Honor!


MN Original- What an Honor!

I am honored and humbled to have been chosen as to be featured on MN Original,tpt‘s award winning weekly arts series celebrating Minnesota’s creative community, across all disciplines and all cultures.

MN Original increases awareness of Minnesota artists, arts organizations and arts venues, inspires viewers to think about the arts and artists in new ways and cultivates new audiences for the arts by promoting a deeper understanding of the creative process, curating contemporary arts in Minnesota for generations to come.

The music featured throughout the series is created by and credited to Minnesota musicians. Nearly 4000 songs by more than 250 artists in about 100 bands or ensembles are included in our music library.

MN Original is made possible by the Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund and the Citizens of Minnesota. Twin Cities Public Television is one of six public television stations in the Minnesota Public Television Association (MPTA) producing unique, regional series, specials and documentaries.

April 12, 2013

Jeweler Marisa Martinez’s career is marked by her family ties, her Mexican-American heritage, and the women mentors in her life. She brings a fine art background to her craft, designing her jewelry with an eye for color theory and composition. Her intuitive combination of gemstones, hand-blown glass beads and precious metals makes for vibrant jewelry pieces and colorful ofrendas/altars.

Click here for educators Guide Provided by MN Original : http://www.mnoriginal.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Marisa_Martinez.pdf

Thank you MN Original for all you do to help promote MN Artists and educate our state about the colorful and vibrant art community we have here in our state!


Shrines, Ofrendas, and Altars

My Shrine/ Ofrendas Collection is made with found objects and many different forms of traditional mixed media. I start each shrine with the idea of a specific milagro (miracle or a wish) and then build around that idea. I build these pieces organically from up-cycled materials one layer at a time. My passion for my Mexican cultural heritage and background in fine arts has greatly influenced this body of work. I have been exploring ways to elevate the fine craft of jewelry to create a bridge that can connect it to my passion for painting. These pieces are the exciting launch of this new journey in my work.

Historically Milagros have been used as a part of a religious ritual or act of devotion. They were left in churches as prayers for healing, offered to a saint as a reminder of a petitioners need, or in gratitude for a prayer answered. modernly, they are carried for protection, luck, and to represent wishes. Milagros are a part of the magical and symbolic past common to all cultures which continues to influence our lives today. Ofrendas otherwise known as Altars or Shrines in Mexico and other parts of South America hold a very special place in my heart. Having been born a Mexican American on the day of the Patron saint of Mexico, the day of the Virgen of Guadalupe, I have always been immersed in Catholism culturally. These Shrines are very rich in symbolism. They are not meant to be deemed religious though they are meant to evoke aspects of personal spirituality.

My hope is that you as the viewer interpret the symbols as they have meaning in your life.


You can see this piece and many others at Kopplin’s Coffee on the corner of Marshall Ave and Cleveland in St. Paul. Show runs until Mid February and there will be an Artist reception/ Trunk show just in time for Valentines Day!


Working Away in the Studio!

Meztiza Designs is  hammering out a couple new collections as 2012 ends! Sometimes the best happens last, and in this case, it’s the tip of a new iceberg. Appropriately said, as winter creeps closer the studio is bustling with ideas, drawings, and excitement. I almost am eager for the slowing winter brings so more work can get completed.
Look forward to seeing more of you through the holidays!

Impassioned Rebirth


I would like to thank everyone who helped and supported me in following one of my dreams building Quench Jewelry Arts. It was a whirlwind of a year that has changed my life. As I leave Quench and focus on my own jewelry line & mixed media fine art at Meztiza Designs, my heart is brimming with hope and love for my life and loved ones! Check out my new studio at the Solar Arts Building Studio #203. Located in the NE Minneapolis Arts District 

Thank you to my many clients, students, friends and family!!!