Monica Marcella

Handmade adornments using recycled high karat metal and ethically sourced gems.

My Process: Start to Finish

Behind the ScenesMonica Marcella Guerra
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From start to finish...

Each day I have the great privilege of crafting pieces from design through to final finish. Making jewelry is a personal meditation, and I am beyond lucky to also call it my occupation. While I am in the middle of countless rounds of filing and sanding my brain is racing ahead to the next moves. Maybe it's an angle that I'm interested in or the shape tendencies I have. Either way it's this action that begins my thinking of the next element. 'How can I grow this piece into an earring component or a bracelet?'

The typical mix of cut, cast, and fabricated elements that I mix and match for jewelry pieces.

The typical mix of cut, cast, and fabricated elements that I mix and match for jewelry pieces.

It may sound scary to some since I work in hard metals and harder gemstones, but I work in loose visions of the final piece and go where the work tells me to throughout the process. There's rarely a sketch and never a computer rendering. My work style is almost like an improv performance that only I see, or a yoga transition that I've never done before but really want to feel out. The making process becomes fluid, always in perpetual evaluation and execution mode. And each time at the end, I still find the constant thread of my aesthetic in the hand crafted adornment I just completed. You can't get away from yourself, thankfully. 

Early lessons...

During undergrad in metalsmithing class, it was very common for students to stare blankly at an empty sketchbook waiting for an idea to magically appear. It was those times we could count on our very wise metals professor to come over and shove pieces of metal our hands with the firm directive, "just make something!" Here's a guilty truth: I follow directions very well! I am so fortunate to have received that lesson from her so early on. This professor emphasized that makers in 3-d media sometimes need the action of doing in order to stir the brain. I know this is definitely how I feel as I need my hands to be moving in order to think, design, and know where to go next. So while I occasionally doodle rough ideas in my notebook, I am careful not to saturate the drawings with details that restrict my flow during the fabrication process.

Many of my clients come to me with detailed custom requests and that is completely in synch with my style. We discuss the elements and style that carry the strongest meaning for them. I take those ideas and will create some variety of drawn options (based on me playing with some physical shapes on my bench) that the client can review and approve before I begin fabrication. This is an excellent way that I can preserve the client's control over the final work and my beloved process of handcrafting bespoke adornments. 

A custom process on an opal where I combined free hand design with some sketches for a very satisfied client.Β 

A custom process on an opal where I combined free hand design with some sketches for a very satisfied client.