Featured Member

Each month a new Featured Member is chosen from the completed member profiles on our website. Their interview and work is highlighted on our blog and social media. Visit our archive of past Featured Members.

July 2017

  • Lexi Daly
  • Lexi Daly
  • Lexi Daly
  • Lexi Daly
  • Lexi Daly
  • Lexi Daly

Lexi Daly

Sebastopol, Ca

Tell us a little about yourself.

Growing up, travel was very important to my parents, they wanted my sisters and me to see the world, learn its history, and experience the beauty of nature as much as possible. I remember always being so fascinated by little intricate objects I found in nature while camping and traveling; seed pods, tiny wildflowers, seashells, and butterfly wings. When I was five, my grandmother gave me a huge box of beads that I obsessed over, and my fascination with tiny objects slowly developed into a love of jewelry making. I fell in love with small glass beads called seed beads and spent much of my childhood teaching myself different traditional bead weaving techniques from cultures all over the world that use them. I found the intricate patterns of seed beads woven together with thread fascinating, like so many throughout history have.

My connection to nature and the way I was brought up instilled in me the importance of environmental consciousness, humanitarianism, and sustainability. While working towards a fine art degree I became aware of the huge negative effects the jewelry and fashion industry have on the environment and I considered not becoming a jeweler for those reasons. Then I realized I could be a voice of change, and my work could help others be a voice of change by wearing it. That is when I started working with objects I “save” from entering the landfill (AKA trash, old clothes, or disposable products). The jewelry I make today is a combination of bead weaving, disposable products, and recycled silver.

What is your favorite tool and why?

My mini drill press, it has been a life saver when drilling the hundreds of tiny holes I use to sew beads through.

Which materials do you create with most and what is your attraction to using them?

Since sustainability is so important to me I find it exciting to come up with unique ways to use things people have thrown away. We see these things in everyday life and most of us don’t think twice about using them once and throwing them away, and what happens to them afterwards. I find ways to transform them into something beautiful and valuable, while at the same time educating people on the negative impact of those disposable products. My hope is by doing so I can get people to think twice about using disposable products, and to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

I also love working with seed beads. They are so versatile in the way they can be used, and they add a complexity and intricacy to my jewelry pieces that I love. Lately I’ve switched to using vintage seed beads to make my work even more environmentally sustainable.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I get a lot of inspiration from playing with new “materials” and seeing what ways I can use them. I spend a lot of time in the studio cutting and drilling and shaping things like plastic bottles, stir sticks, and coffee cups to see how far I can take the material from its original form to transform it into something beautiful and dynamic. I had the most fun transforming old clothes into paper and using the paper in my jewelry. It completely changed the clothes and helped save the environment a little bit from the huge effects fast fashion has on the planet.

I’m also inspired by royal fashion from cultures all over the globe throughout history – the traditional neckpieces from ancient Egypt, lacework from the Ukraine, Native Ecuadorian collars, and European fashion, fairytales, and folklore.

How long have you been working in metals and what brought you into this field?

I’ve been working with metals since 2005 when I moved to Oakland and went to Art School to further my skills in jewelry making. The beadwork I did as a child had evolved into large intricate necklaces and collars. I wanted to learn metalwork to combine modern metal pieces with traditional beadwork. The juxtaposition of the two fascinated me at the time. You can see some of the pieces I created using that idea on my website.

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in metals?

Don’t risk getting hurt for a good grade or to complete a piece you’re really excited about quickly. Working with metal can be very hard on your body and it can take time to build strength and dexterity. Your body is your most important tool, listen to it. Take breaks all the time, set a timer to remind yourself to stand up, stretch, and look at something in the distance to protect your eyes from strain. If your teachers don’t show you, take the time to watch videos on the most ergonomic ways to work and discipline yourself in working in those ways. Invest in the best tools, its well worth the stress it takes off of your body, it could add years, even decades to your career.

What has been the biggest challenge for you as a metal artist and have you overcome it, or how are you working to overcome it?

My physical injuries. In college I injured my ulnar nerves in both arms and that created tendonitis in my forearms and a lot of pain and weakness. Nerve damage takes a very long time to heal and it has really hindered my career. It has been 10 years and I’m just now feeling able to work full time again. It has been the biggest challenge of my life, not just my career. If I didn’t love making art so much I don’t think I would ever have had the determination to heal from the injuries I sustained in college.

Favorite resource/vendor or website you would like to share?

Nature. Getting out in nature helps me relax and I find my creativity flows more easily once I’m back in the studio.

There are so many great resources online for jewelers now its hard to choose, but for those just starting out there’s some great online courses on branding, marketing and photography on creativelive.com that I’ve found super helpful.