Melodie Owen Designs

May 26, 2019

Gee in the Que - Interview with Melodie Owen 

Working in mixed media is a wonderfully creative experience

I have loved jewelry from a very early age.  I started working at JA May Jeweler in Farmington when I was 14. Jess May imparted a deep sense of appreciation for fine jewelry. I did sales work and engraving but always dreamed of working at a jewelry bench like his. I worked there through high school and came back to work during the summers in my college years. I learned a lot and bought a lot, too! By the time I finally left that job I still owed him money! 

I grew up in a family of artists in New Mexico and I’ve been influenced by them and many teachers and mentors over the years.  My mother, Donella, is an accomplished painter and taught me all about color, design, composition and fashion. She’s always been a great fashionista!

In college, I started out majoring in Commercial Art but switched to Business and earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in Business and went on to become a CPA.  After leaving my accounting career as Controller of Sandia National Labs my husband, Gary, and I designed and built custom homes for 15 years.  The process of home design crossed over nicely with the artistic process of jewelry design.  I always made time for my jewelry creation and am now able to devote a major portion of my time to designing and creating unique wearable art.

Over the years I have been fortunate to study with some incredible teachers and designers.  I love synthesizing techniques and materials to come up with my very own style.  This is what keeps the designing and making process fresh and exciting. My work continues to evolve. I never get bored in the studio!

I learn a lot from my customers, too. I made a special necklace for the winemaker at Veuve Clicquot whom I met at an event in Santa Fe.  It includes found objects from the champagne caps, labels, as well as tags hand stamped with descriptors in several languages.  She sent me her favorite memorabilia to incorporate. I called that piece Homage a La Grande Dame.

Working in mixed media is a wonderfully creative experience.  I love to incorporate color, texture and three dimensionality to my pieces so exploring a variety of materials creates excitement for me in my designs.  I have worked a lot in steel and find it to be wonderful for the large sculptural pieces. It also works beautifully in capturing odd shaped objects. Most of my current work incorporates silver and gemstones. I love to find unusual stones and let them direct my design process.

I count myself fortunate to live in Albuquerque – the home of  Rio Grande Jewelry Supply.  Their training is world class. I’ve also studied with fabulous instructors around the country. I’ve had the opportunity to study metalsmithing, stone setting, soldering, fusing, wire wrapping, glass fusing, enameling, fold forming, and kumihimo (Japanese braiding).  It is difficult to pick a favorite.  I love learning and synthesizing techniques and materials.  I have taught in the past but now I focus on designing and making.

My work has been published in numerous books and on jewelry and fashion blogs, including Rio Grande, Jewelspan and More Than Turquoise.

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