Artist M.J. Oref in her studio Friday as she prepares for a cross-country trip to exhibit her jewelry line. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
By Bonnie J. Gordon
On June 26, artist M.J. Oref will walk out the door of her Espanola home, jump in her blue Prius and take her show on the road.
Oref plans to spend a month introducing her jewelry to potential customers in a dozen states at private shows hosted by friends and family.
“We’ll eat and drink and have a good time,” Oref said. “If someone buys something, great. If not, we’ll still have fun.”
Even during the Depression, women always found the money for make up and jewelry, Oref said, adding that it’s fun to treat yourself to something that makes you feel good.
Oref is a multi-media artist who works in pastels, metal and ceramics, among other things. Her work ranges from large sculptures to a pair of earrings.
She markets her art as Earth Goddess Enterprises and has many clients in Los Alamos.
“I’m an artist because I want to interpret the earth,” Oref said.
Oref often uses organic materials in her work and hopes to have a completely organic jewelry line one day. She also uses casts to capture organic forms.
Oref’s first artisitic creations were definitely earthy. “I started out with mud pies,” she said.
Her geologist father instilled her love of rocks and minerals and the two bonded over their shared enjoyment of these earth treasures.
Oref always liked the shiny ones best.
Oref’s jewelry studio is a cornucopia of color and texture. Strings of semi-precious stones line the walls. Bins full of beads and pearls fill the cabinets.
Found objects, like the corkscrew stems of a squash, are tucked in here and there.
While earning her BFA in metals and jewelry design at Savannah College of Art and Design, Oref learned jewelry making techniques from many cultures and historical periods.
For example, she uses the ancient Korean Kum-Boo technique to apply thin sheets of gold to silver to make silver gilt.
One of the pleasures of living in New Mexico is talking with local Native American jewelers about their craft.
Earth Goddess Enterprises offers Oref’s intuitive personal Guardian Angel Portraits.
Oref creates the portraits in pastels and gold ink. Each is unique and created specifically for the person commissioning it.
“I meditate on the person’s name,” Oref said. “It’s as though the angels are sitting on my couch waiting for me to start. It’s a sacred thing — I’m delivering a message from their angel that they need to hear.”
Everything in a Guardian Angel Portrait, including the colors and what is represented, carries a message for the person receiving it, she said.
“None of my angels have faces,” Oref said. “Angels are made of light.”
To see more of Oref’s work, visit her online store www.etsy.com/shop/earthgoddess1