As a maker of objects, I have navigated the waters of sentiment and studied the point when an object becomes a beloved object. This often involves a transaction: a gift, a purchase, the exchange of wedding vows. It involves time. The years spent wearing (or living with) the piece – getting to know it a little more each day. In the case of a wedding ring, it requires understanding its relationship to your body, the weather, the environment, the work one does, one’s age. The Mexican essayist, poet, and diplomat Octavio Paz, in one of my favorite essays, said, “The handmade object does not charm us simply because of its usefulness. It lives in complicity with our senses, and that is why it is so hard to get rid of – it is like throwing a friend out of the house”. I am humbled that some of the objects I have made live daily with friends and strangers alike. Over the last five years of making jewelry, I’ve returned to this idea of making the quiet things that are worn daily, that are impossible to part with. What would make your list?

California Love Song at Shibumi Gallery
May 07, 2024

California Love Song at Shibumi Gallery

Maya Kini + Laura Lienhard
May 4th - May 29th, 2024 

SATURDAY, MAY 11TH FROM 3:30 - 5:30 PM

SHIBUMI is pleased to present CALIFORNIA LOVE SONG featuring artists Maya Kini and Laura Lienhard. The artists have shared a studio on the Sausalito Waterfront since August 2020.

The fuchsias and pale pinks of the magnolia bloom, the rippling green hills of early spring, the golden hills of late summer, a constant sea, salty air, and king tides.

Abalone from agate beach, a sea urchin cast in silver, rough gemstones set in luminous gold, and antique coral linked with alloys of copper, gold and silver.

The textures of a February walk in Tennessee Valley as shadows grow long and the first buds appear on willows, navigating around puddles on a muddy trail until the beach opens up ahead and reveals a treasure trove of iridescent mussel shells, or sand dollars, or a bloom of jelly fish glinting like diamonds on the sand.

The acid green of eucalyptus leaves, the fiery brown of a madrone’s curling bark, the reflective surface of the Bay as the sun sets, and, always, the ocean lapping at the edge of California.

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Alluvial Deposits (after Carboplatin chemotherapy)
July 26, 2023

Alluvial Deposits (after Carboplatin chemotherapy)

This poem is part of a series in which I explore traditional jewelry materials and the ways in which they relate to the body. When I was undergoing treatment for breast cancer, I tried to keep my material curiosity alive by tracing the medicines back to their roots, in this case the element platinum. I thought a lot about how systems within the body mimic systems without, veins and arteries echo streams and rivers, sediments accumulate in silt and bone. Thank you to Metalsmith Magazine for inviting me to publish this poem. 


Alluvial Deposits (after Carboplatin chemotherapy)


My friend with size 12 fingers insists on platinum 

so I set to work carving wedding ring from wax block

refining the crude hacks of my handsaw 

with a file and a multitude of sandpapers.


It weighs barely a gram, this brittle model

but transformed into metal it will become 

a heavy ballast, it will right the ship,

at least that is what my friend imagines.


I carve slashes into satiny 600-grit surface

as if it has been mauled by a bear my friend directs me

he is watching a Werner Herzog movie 

about caves and signs, man and animal.


He wants the animal present in the ring I craft.  

I could hone a bear claw, make a tiny tool

become a Wild Thing scratching at ring’s surface

instead, I use precision tungsten burrs to engrave an ursine alphabet.  




What constitutes treasure is subject to interpretation. 

Aguirre, spun round on a river raft, searching 

for El Dorado. The contents of the treasure chest

are usually gold and gems, perhaps feathers

ink, bone, water.


I’ve never seen a chest full of silver’s dull, heavy relative


But I’ve tasted it. Platinum flowed through my veins.

I have known it to be a precise poison

that lingers still

as heavy metals do.


When my living is done 

when blood and bile leach back into earth

when my seas evaporate

and my fascia lets go

the well-built pyre of my bones

will reach substantial temperatures

capable of drawing platinum out

and you will find that all along  

deep in marrow   hair follicle 

it’s been mating with the gold.

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Conversations in the Middle - Metalsmith Magazine article
April 06, 2023

Conversations in the Middle - Metalsmith Magazine article

I’ve written an article that appears in the new issue of Metalsmith Magazine available digitally or in print. The piece asks the question, How to begin again?, in the studio and beyond. I hope you’ll read the stories about the three artists I profile in the piece.

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