By Muriel Tissonnier
Maria Samora’s studio was scheduled as one of our last stops on our three-day intensive sales training trip. As can be imagined, our staff was a bit groggy, as we slowly began to run out of steam. Within minutes of having been greeted by Kevin, Maria’s husband, our enthusiasm rose as we fed off the studio’s energy. Reflecting the jewelry that is created within, her space is contemporary, understated and simply beautiful. Surrounded by machinery, tools, diamonds and the beginnings of new designs our curiosity for the process and artist continued to rise.
Though Maria had caught a terrible bug the night before, she gladly took the time to speak to us about her process and designs. New designs are always forming in her mind and it is her education and experience that has allowed her to obtain the technical ability to bring the pieces in her mind to life.
Maria is able to make her own ingots rolling them to whichever gauge needed. This is also how she is able to create her own alloys. Maria uses various techniques both modern and traditional in creating her designs. Modern machinery is used throughout the studio including computer software and a laser for welding small joints.
She has been able to master the ancient Korean technique of Keum Boo – a gilding technique that allows thin layers of 24 carat gold to be applied to a silver surface using heat and a small tool made of jade. Maria also uses an ancient Incan technique, applying chemicals to the outer most layer of the gold. This process dissolves the impurities of the gold allowing Maria to use the luscious rich color of the 24 carat gold, which she loves, yet keeping the durability of the 18 carat gold throughout the piece.
Maria’s designs are often simple, yet architecturally challenging and while much time and effort is poured into the aesthetic and technical processes no detail is left unnoticed. Jewelry is an art form that is created to be worn; the fit and feel of the work is just as important as it’s aesthetic qualities. Maria wears all of her designs to make sure they lie correctly and feel right. The most important part of her process is to ensure that her art is loved and WORN.
Maria has established a name for her self within the industry in a relatively short amount of time. After taking a course from jeweler Phil Poirier, she was hooked! Jewelry making became more than just a hobby. Phil eventually became her mentor and taught her several of the techniques she uses today. They have remained close friends and continue to work with one another. Maria’s shows his work along side her own in her studio.
In 2005 Maria participated in her first Santa Fe Indian Market. By 2009 she became the poster artist for SWAIA’s Indian market. Making her the youngest artist to have received the award, the first jeweler and one of only three women. Maria’s work is featured in several publications including Masters of Contemporary Indian Jewelry.
It seems to me that Maria is living her dream. Creating beautiful jewelry, being recognized for her incredible talent and raising a family!!
Be sure to visit Sorrel Sky Gallery this Friday, May 11th, from 5-8 pm to meet Maria during the annual spring Durango Gallery Walk.