At times, it's not enough that we see beautiful creations from our favorite jewelry artists on Instagram. We also are most interested in learning more about them, their journey into jewelry making, and what inspired them to start creating.
MEET THE JEWELRY ARTIST
@yote.jewelry on Instagram
Meet Leah Prada Harrison, also known as Yoté Jewelry, the jewelry artist behind the Instagram handle @yote.jewelry Based in New Mexico, Leah has been creating jewelry for 5 years now.
THE JOURNEY TO CREATING JEWELRY
When we asked her what inspired her to start jewelry making, Leah shared that she has loved jewelry her entire life. For a few years before she embarked on learning to make jewelry, Leah kept having a reoccurring dream of her maternal grandmother involving jewelry. She said she got her love of jewelry from her grandmother as her jewelry collection is to this day the largest Leah had ever seen.
She recalled that the day she completed her first piece, the dreams stopped and she has been creating jewelry ever since. She believes that this art form was her true path and that she received ancestral guidance to get there.
When Leah was just getting started, she had felt very supported and guided on her entire journey. She mentioned how she had a very specific vision of her brand from the very beginning and have not strayed from that vision. She was told several times by a few “experts” in the industry that she would fail because she was refusing to sell anywhere but online.
Leah remained stubborn, built her online following, and managed to see large growth through the pandemic because she has trusted her gut and her vision and didn’t cave to what the experts told her.
Curious to know what's her brand name all about, we asked Leah if it had any significant meaning to her. She said that Yoté pronounced Yo-Teh is short for Coyoté, a term that was originally used in a negative manner to address individuals of mixed identity (specifically Indigenous/Spanish mixed) in New Mexico and started during the Spanish conquest in the late 1800’s.
Leah is Indigenous/Hispanic/Anglo mixed and she decided to take back this word by creating her own version of it. She added that people from New Mexico are familiar with the history of the term, but today it has mostly lost its original negative connotation, though some still consider the use of Coyoté to describe another as a negative thing.
"We used to describe ourselves as such as children because it simply let others know we were mixed. I use Yoté as a term to describe anyone of mixed identity or who has a complex identity. This brand is about transcending the labels and judgements that our society creates to identify one another as. It’s also about removing the stereotypes that these labels create," she elaborated.
ARTIST’S DESIGN STYLE
Asking if she recalls getting that one AHA! moment, Leah shared that her designs change frequently so she feels like she continues to have those moments all the time.
What a beautiful and rewarding feeling, right? ♡
Here are a few of Leah's stunning jewelry pieces!
Jewelry by Leah Prada Harrison of @yote.jewelry on Instagram
THE DESIGN PROCESS
Generally, Leah likes the stones to dictate her design, which is why the stones she picks are very important to her design process. She added that as an artists, she likes to channel and create in the moment vs drawing or planning designs in advance.
When we asked her to describe her design style, she said, "I would consider my jewelry design to be traditional with a modern twist. I have a heavy Southwestern influence at my core but love to being in design influences from all over the world. I like to keep it mixed. 😉"
Take a look at some more lovely jewelry pieces by Leah!
JEWELRY DESIGN TIPS, TRICKS, AND HANDY TECHNIQUES
What's one design tip you one to share with your fellow artists?
"Know your intention. I find that pieces that do not have a clear intention usually don’t make the final cut."
Any words of encouragement or tips to those who are starting out in the world of jewelry-making?
"This art form and industry are challenging. If you’re just getting started and are feeling defeated but it’s still all you can think about, keep doing it. When you’re learning something new it should be hard. Allow yourself to be a beginner and be present in every step of the process. Success is never an overnight phenomenon and is never without a lot of dedication and hard work. The journey is the reward."
Finally, her message to the universe:
Follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yote.jewelry/
Take a look at her website: https://yotejewelry.com/