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About



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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For The Love Of Bees!!!

Did I ever tell y'all that I absolutely adore bees? I think they are the most amazing beings on the planet.  Well...at this moment I did.  I saw this piece of furniture at University of British Columbia outside its bookstore.  I'm like cool man.  What is this? This totally inspired me.  Yes I looked inside this tiny cells to see if anything was inside but to my disappointment no.
I heard a woman say, hey look at that.  I bet there are bees inside.  Hahahaha!!!  No silly woman.  Tricks are for kids!  hahaha  Cute...very cute that she thought that.
This piece of art/furniture sparked curiosity and that is the AWESOMist thing EVER!  But what is more cool is THIS... Did y'all read that?  Shrooms helped make them.  What a great collaborative endeavor.  How long does a piece of furniture like this last? I have no clue but talk about impermanence. 
I LOVE IT! So there you have it folks.  The future awaits.
Namaste Kalaya

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…

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…