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Hi, I'm Kalaya. The creator and dreamer of stuff. I have a passion for creating pieces from objects I find in New Orleans or wherever.  I love coffee, vino, and tater tots.

Kalaya has a passion for making and has been a Metalsmith since 2008.  All of her pieces are one of a kind, made in her private studio in New Orleans.  Processes include forging, fabricating, and making her own stamping tools.  She uses a variety of metals mostly silver and bronze, but also looks for other materials to play with or add conceptual weight such as wood, plastic, and artifacts found here in New Orleans or during her travels.

As a young adult Kalaya explored the Sonoran Desert in the Southwest.  Learning about her Native American and Thai roots led her to a fascination with myth, talismans, and amulets.  Being born into a military family led her to live a nomadic life.  She attended three different high schools on her way to earning a BS in Microbiology from Northwestern State University in Louisiana.  In 1992 New Orleans claimed her as her own.  She studied Fine Arts at Delgado Community College under Margo Manning, apprenticed with local artist Becky Burt and attended master workshops at StudioFLUX in New Orleans, the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee.

Kalaya migrates towards making pieces that have an organic feel.  Her inspiration comes mostly from nature and sacred symbols.  At least once a year the winds of the desert and Mexico call her back home.  There you can usually catch up with her in San Miguel de Allende eating a tamale.


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A Love Note To My Readers

Dear Friends,
My gallery has decided to move and it saddens me to say that I will not be going with them.  I have broken away from the herd.
So what now?
This is what I ask myself and to be honest I do not know.  
I turn to you.
The ones who come back to read...to listen to my failures, successes, and my angst.  I am grateful that you are still here.

The Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) was here in New Orleans.  I was so thrilled.  I made new friends and visited with old friends and we had a blast!

Halstead held an exhibition along with SNAG at RHINO Contemporary Gallery.  200 kits went out and 30 pieces were selected for the Halstead Design Challenge.  My piece, What's Her Story? was selected to be among one of the 30.  I was so honored.
_/\_
Inspired by the women of Storyville and Bellocq's photography this brooch is the first in its series.
The story behind the story.
Every woman has a story, especially the women of Storyville (red-light district of New Orleans from 1897-19…

Production...Duction What's Your Function?

Every now and then a little elf steps into the studio while I am working and starts asking these annoying questions.

What are you doing?
Why are you wasting your time working on that?
PRODUCTION WORK?!!!
WTH?!!!

He (yep the little bugger is a "he"), I shall name him Doubt, infects my mind from time to time.  
This all happened last Friday while making some of my New Orleans'  Token pendants.

So I reached down deep inside me to think about the "why".  I thought about it because I was running towards something else and resisting the moment.

As I sat there at my bench working on this particular token pendant here is what came to me.
These particular tokens were minted in 1947 and 1970.  They differ only on what is said on the back (1947 - "One Base Fare" and 1970 - "One Cash Fare") .
 The ones I use for my pendants are minted in 1947.  

I do not clean them up.  Instead I examine them, hold them, turn them over in my hand, and then begin my work.  
I do not…

Color Your Life

Oh it's that time of year again.  Where I get all excited because dia de Los Muertos is around the corner.  It's that time when the spirits of the dead come for a visit and I make sugar skulls to remember.
I usually do my traditional white sugar skulls but this year decided to add some color to my life.  After all, dia de los muertos is about celebrating life, remembering the dead, and nothing expresses life more then color! The colors were all inspired by those skull beads you see EVERYWHERE!
If you look closely at the picture below you can see the enamel in sugar form.
These are available now in my store.  I've been updating the site on a weekly basis.  So come on in and see what's new.  Have a great Friday and remember to have fun and breathe!
Namaste Kalaya