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Written by Marisa Howard


Posted on November 10 2017

The process of designing a new collection begins months, maybe even years, before it arrives on our website. I am constantly accumulating sketches and ideas, most of which never make into metal. 

For the last seven years, I have designed two collections every year. A schedule that sounds crazy when I consider all the work that goes into each collection. This is my creative outlet though and this schedule pulls me out of the day to day world of running a small business. It forces me to honor that side of my brain. It seems like a lot, but to me, it's a gift. 

This year was a little different though. I had some health problems that took priority over designing. For the last three years, I have been dealing with severe deterioration in my right shoulder joint. I have an auto immune disease that causes my body to attack my joints, causing inflammation and pain. This can lead to permanent damage to soft tissues, cartilage and eventually bone. After a particularly bad flare, lasting years, I was in need of a total joint replacement and rotator cuff repair surgery.  

The recovery from the surgery required that my dominant arm be immobile for six weeks, followed by one year of physical therapy. 

With this lying ahead of me, I made the decision to take the season off from designing and focus on recovery. I thought I could do it. I thought, with all the physical change, I wouldn't feel inspired. 

I was wrong. 

I spent a lot of time under ice bags. I read a lot. I rested. I iced more. I did every puzzle my mom had in her collection. I read some more. I iced again. I watched a lot of Golden Girls. 

I was bored. I missed designing. 

With a painful shoulder and my arm immobile in a sling, I knew metal work was not an option. I could hold a pencil though, so I was able to start sketching.  I visited past ideas and made a lot of new sketches. I was focused on curvy and imperfect shapes. Similar to the perfect imperfections and curves of the human body. 

I drew abstract elbows, uneven thighs, rounded hips. I thought about broken bodies. About imperfect shapes. I thought a lot about the battle I have been in with my body. Learning to love a body that is constantly fighting me. 

What I was sketching felt like a collection. The story felt cohesive and personal. The shapes felt like me. But, I knew I couldn't work with metal, not yet anyway. 

So, I made the collection out of paper and string. It felt good to design. But at the time, I didn't feel like these paper cut outs would ever make their way into metal. 

The paper jewelry inspired me though. So I decided to transfer the paper shapes into metal.

When I was stronger, I tried out the new shapes and they actually worked! I loved the way they turned out. Just like that, the Cambios Collection was born. It is a capsule collection, meaning it has a fewer number of styles than a full collection. 

Cambios translates to "changes" ... as in, Todos Cambios. "So many changes."  My first collection designed with my new titanium shoulder, during a time of great physical change. A time of acceptance. And, a celebration of my broken body. Of broken bodies in general. 

Even broken bodies are beautiful and capable.

Celebrate change. 

Meet the new collection: 

Caderas Earrings // HIPS // our beautiful shape, curvy or straight

Cintura Earring and Necklace // WAIST // our center, our core, our gut

Muslos Earrings // THIGHS // our strong yet soft, power house 

Codos Earrings // ELBOWS // bend, twist, grab, hug, hold, press 

Two Faced Necklace and RBF key chain // FACE // expression, voice, view

Agua Necklace and Cate Earring // AVOCADO // celebrating the beauty in the bottom heavy