The power to create something out of nothing is probably one of the best gifts any artist can have. To be able to share it to the world is another gift that's one to treasure.
MEET THE JEWELRY ARTIST
Meet jewelry artist/antlersmith Elsa Janney, the creative behind @wolf_winds on Instagram. Based in Butte, Montana, Elsa has been creating for 3.5 years now.
THE JOURNEY TO CREATING JEWELRY
Elsa shared that she has always been a really creative person, but never enjoyed painting or drawing; so she turned to crafting. While living in Alaska, she was working on a reindeer farm, training reindeer, and working a tourism operation there. Elsa fell in love with them and wanted to honor their beauty and adaptive wonder through creating jewelry and art from the antlers they shed every year.
She also added that cabin fever can get the best of you if you don't have something to occupy your time. What began as a way to occupy the long, dark winter evenings and nights became a wild passion Elsa couldn't get enough of.
Learning new tools and letting her mind know no boundaries has kept her grounded these past few years and she trusts will continue on. "I no longer work with the reindeer, but I miss them "deer-ly," sorry, old tour guide joke," she said. Crafting antler art for Elsa keeps her close to them in Spirit. Her inspiration started as a way to honor the reindeer and her connection to them and nature, and it still is true 3 years later.
When Elsa began making antler jewelry, she was living off grid in a 12 x 14 ft cabin. Along with her partner, she would cut antler outside in twenty below snowy conditions with headlamps depending on the time of day. She mentioned that living in a cabin that small made for some cramped space both physically and creatively, adding that she found it difficult early on to explore the depths of what antler is capable of transforming into.
Through her early time learning antler smithing, she learned resilience and adapting to her environment as part of her creative craft, as it is for the reindeer and other deer who spend the summer growing beautiful antlers and withstanding the harsh winter months with grace. Through learning this resilience, adaptation and transformative lessons from making jewelry and spending time with reindeer, Elsa expanded her transformative skills with the antler itself - letting it take on new life, shape and form. Asking the antler what it desires to become and how to make it into a new design; all the while honoring the original form it came from.
"All this is to say, I am the artist I am today because I see myself and the Soul journey reflected in my craft. Adaptation, creativity, beauty, transformation and more are reflected from my designs to the wearer; helping them stand in their Soul experience and lean into their purpose."
When we asked her if there was a story behind her brand name/Instagram handle, Elsa shared that growing up, she was quite envious of of Mowgli who's raised by wolves in the jungle; She was deeply enchanted by this life of living with nature, closely attuned to her animals and plants.
Wolves have always been Elsa's favorite animal. She said that their power, pack/family dynamic, humbleness, misunderstood lore all resonated so deeply within her.
Elsa described wind as an incredibly transformative element, not much, if anything can withstand it. In her physical reality wind/air is her least favorite element, "hello long hair," she added. It fills her with angst and anxiety at times when she's out feeling the powerful surge of air around her, but when she surrenders to the magic of wind, she realized the angst and anxiety are just underutilized creativity, passion and expression.
"By combining wolf and wind... captivating, transformation, awe, beauty, trust, surrender, grace and love.... there isn't much magic that cannot be created," Elsa added.
ARTIST’S DESIGN STYLE
When artists experience special moments in their creative journey, it all feels monumental and even transformative. We wanted to know if Elsa remembers hers, too.
She said she has definitely had many along the journey, but a few months back, Elsa had a huge AHA moment. As an intuitive, psychic, animal communicator, she is often pummeled by energies wanting to share and express with her. She had begun speaking more openly with the antler before she created from it and she was being flooded with intuitive designs from the antler and Spirit.
Elsa had to build an energetic boundary around the new jewelry designs because it was affecting her day to day life. As an Akashic Record reader, Elsa created 'Spirit Jewelry.' She described it as a custom jewelry offering where she enters the Akashic Records, google for the Soul, of the client and let their Soul and Spirit team design jewelry for them. This created a healthy boundary for her to funnel the intuitive designs she was receiving and let them come to her as the custom clients came to her.
Her slogan for her jewelry is 'spiritually functional fashion' and creating Spirit Jewelry was such an AHA moment for her because it leads with the intention that the client is looking for something more in their life; an opportunity to make tangible the divine. She brings that to life in her art and Elsa is deeply honored and appreciative of the people who purchase it and feel the energy and connection to it as well.
Take a look at some of Elsa's beautiful creations!
Turquoise Jewelry by Jewelry Artist/Antlersmith Elsa Janney of @wolf_winds on Instagram
THE DESIGN PROCESS
"All of my antler is found or gifted to be. Before I do anything with it I cleanse the energy of the antler in ceremony. I provide Reiki for the antler, recalibrating and balancing its energetic frequency," Elsa explained. If she feels called, she'll smudge the antler with sage, lavender or rose. She also tries to time her antler cutting around the full moon so she can leave the antler out under the full moon to imbue it with moon magic.
After the antler is cleansed and is ready to transform, Elsa will meditate on designs the antler shares with her, or enter the Akashic Records of the antler to begin drawing the designs. She also spend a large amount of time in nature with her dogs and pony and bring in natural wisdom and magic into her creative process.
After designs are created on paper, she goes to town with her band saw, belt sander, dremel, and drill to bring to life the visions of new jewelry. At the end of a long day in the workshop, Elsa brings in her sound bowl to harmonize the frequency of the now transforming antler. Bringing in the turquoise elements adds new energy, so she harmonizes it with sound.
Asking her to describe her design style, Elsa reiterated that it is spiritually functional fashion is how she describes the overall energy and feeling of her jewelry. Most pieces she creates are typically larger, statement style, but the beautiful piece of it is they don't wear you because her jewelry is so intuitively designed with healing energies in mind, it melds with your energy to match the frequency of the wearer.
Elsa often gets emails from people who have purchased jewelry saying they can't even describe the way wearing their earrings or necklace makes them feel. She wants that for people, to bring forward their higher selves, desires and passions into how they dress and adorn themselves. "There is such magic in jewelry and wearable art that it can help you express the parts of yourself that you don't know how to verbally express," she expressed.
Here are a few more lovely creations by Elsa!
Created by Jewelry Artist/Antlersmith Elsa Janney of @wolf_winds on Instagram
JEWELRY DESIGN TIPS, TRICKS, AND HANDY TECHNIQUES
What's one design tip you one to share with your fellow artists?
"Don't force it. When turning your creative passion into a business it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle of having to produce pieces and get them out into the world. The world will be there, let your creative magic flow as it desires. Allow yourself rest, joy and love always when creating and designing. As artists we see the world in such expressive ways that we should always honor that part of ourselves and not doubt our talents or designs. Trust yourself. I guess that was more than one tip..."
Any words of encouragement or tips to those who are starting out in the world of jewelry-making?
"Don't compare yourself to others. In our social media filled world it's easy to compare our art to others. And just start. Don't second guess your draw to staring jewelry making. Go for it! How's the saying go? Creativity, the more you use it the more you have. Something along those lines."
Lastly, Elsa's message to the universe:
Follow her work on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wolf_winds/
Check out her website: https://www.wolfwinds.com/