Capturing an Eternal Energy

All throughout December, we’ll be hosting a month-long jewelry event featuring the hand-carved designs of Michelle Tapia. Starting on December 4, 2020, collectors, jewelry enthusiasts, and holiday shoppers will have the opportunity to select from a wide range of Michelle’s one-of-a-kind pieces, including several new works. The show can be enjoyed in person at our Durango, Colorado location until December 31 or on the Gallery’s website.

“Michelle’s designs capture an eternal energy. They recall centuries of shared knowledge, yet they connect with us right now.”

Shanan Campbell

Michelle was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Creative since childhood, her natural gifts made her a quick study as she learned silver and goldsmithing, lapidary, and the art of scrimshaw from renowned Alaska native jewelry-makers, Denise and Samuel Wallace. When the Wallace’s relocated from Santa Fe to Hawaii, Michelle expanded the line she started under their tutelage.

“Being at home more has been a silver lining for me. It’s been great to design larger pieces and see how open people are to my new work. I’m excited to create more as the ideas are bubbling out of me.” 

Michelle Tapia

From her home studio in Santa Fe, Michelle carves each piece by hand from fossilized walrus tusk. Her designs are hand-inked and set in fine metals. Inspired and influenced by Nature, her Spanish-Catholic upbringing, and her Tibetan Buddhist philosophies, cats, dogs, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, unicorns, and lotus flowers are among the enchanting motifs she creates. Careful thought is given to colors and their meaning; Pink for Compassion, or Blue for wisdom. During the past several months she’s been focusing on new designs, learning new techniques, and pushing the boundaries of her artistry. She is currently experimenting with Keum-boo, an ancient Korean gilding technique that fuses 24k gold foil (a few microns thicker than gold leaf) to fine silver, and plans to feature it in some of her new designs.

Shanan Campbell talked about how Tapia’s jewelry touches a personal note with many. “Michelle’s designs capture an eternal energy. They recall centuries of shared knowledge, yet they connect with us right now. Her generational methods and techniques, combined with figures from nature, create timeless pieces that appeal to all of us.”