Behind any piece of art, there's always a story. Having this avenue to get to know some of our favorite jewelry artists and share their design story to the world is such a privilege.
MEET THE JEWELRY ARTIST
@snakehawkstudio on Instagram
This is jewelry artist Elena Silvestrini, who is also seen on Instagram under the handle @snakehawkstudio. Based in Bailey, Colorado, Elena has been creating jewelry for two years now.
THE JOURNEY TO CREATING JEWELRY
"I have always had a love for creating jewelry," she shared when we asked her what inspired her to start making jewelry. She also added that when she was a child, Elena would collect found objects and she'd turn them into necklaces. In high school, she was known for making clay gauges that she would sell to her classmates.
Elena got introduced to the art of silversmithing while living abroad in Indonesia when she shadowed a local metalsmith for a day. She recalled being mystified with the process, and so she knew she had to learn it for herself.
So far, ever since she started creating jewelry, the last two years have been a rollercoaster of a journey, which she said she loves! Elena said when it comes to metalsmithing, everyone has stories of failure starting out and she believes that is integral to the process of learning the art form.
One piece she made that truly stands out to this date is the very first pair of earrings Elena has ever attempted to make - it was pretty elaborate design for a beginner, she said. She remembered that it took her over 10 hours to make because she kept messing up the soldering work, but in the end, she finished them and was super proud.
"The story behind my brand name isn’t that exciting to be honest," Elena said when we asked if there's a special meaning behind her brand name. She explained that it actually stems from a time when she was hiking and saw a Red Tailed Hawk fly above her with a snake in its grasp.
For Elena, there was something about that specific scene that really resonated with her; the image of two creatures she views as strong, beautiful, and mystifying having battled each other for their own survival. She shared that as someone who has dealt with a great deal of anxiety and self-doubt in her lifetime, Elena wanted a brand image that would make her feel powerful and capable of anything, "The snake hawk image did that for me, so I went with it."
We think it's a truly inspiring story to tell!
ARTIST’S DESIGN STYLE
As artists, we are faced with challenges, hindrances, and other hurdles that seem to stop us from going forward. Hence, we always ask our featured artists about moments that made them feel victorious - no matter how big or small!
Over the last two years, Elena shared that she has had plenty of “AHA!” moments, but a time that really sticks out to her is when she created a piece for a Black Lives Matter raffle. Since it was for a raffle, she knew she had free rein to create whatever she wanted.
With that, Elena went all out and challenged herself to make a statement bracelet with 8 stones. This was the most amount of stones she’d ever set in one piece before. In the end, she was so pleased with how it turned out and also felt like she had gained a lot of knowledge through the creation process.
Take a look at some of Elena's jaw-droppingly gorgeous creations!
Handmade Jewelry by Elena Silvestrini of @snakehawkstudio on Instagram
THE DESIGN PROCESS
"My design process is all over the place," Elena said. She explained that at any given time, she generally has 5-10 unfinished projects or ideas set out around her studio. Hence, she doesn’t have a very linear process of creating; when inspiration hits Elena, she rolls with it and sees where it takes her rather than focusing entirely on pieces that are already in progress. She also added that sometimes, she’ll have an idea for a piece that she can work off, other times she’ll start with a stone or stamp design and fiddle around with it until she finds a style that fits.
Elena described her design style as heavily influenced by the natural world around her. She's constantly drawing inspiration from plants, animals, and experiences she has had in the wilderness into her jewelry work. She shared that she loves creating bold pieces that not only expresses her love for the natural world, but hopefully also expresses the personality of those wearing her creations as well.
Here are a few more stunning jewelry creations by Elena!
Turquoise Jewelry by Elena Silvestrini of @snakehawkstudio on Instagram
JEWELRY DESIGN TIPS, TRICKS, AND HANDY TECHNIQUES
What's one design tip you one to share with your fellow artists?
"This may sound cheesy, but if you follow your heart and design jewelry that excites YOU as the maker, you will attract a customer base that is in love with your specific style of work. I personally need to create pieces that I love rather than trying to make pieces that I think will sell best."
Any words of encouragement or tips to those who are starting out in the world of jewelry-making?
"I think the best tip you can give any beginning jewelry artist is to just try everything and not be afraid of failure. You are going to melt some pieces, you are going to crack some stones, but with each failure comes a valuable lesson that will help you succeed in the future."
Lastly, here's her message to the universe:
Follow her design journey on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/snakehawkstudio/
Check out her creations on her website: https://www.snakehawkstudio.com/