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.

April 2019


  • Emma Macchiarini
  • Emma Macchiarini
  • Emma Macchiarini
  • Emma Macchiarini
  • Emma Macchiarini
  • Emma Macchiarini
  • Emma Macchiarini
  • Emma Macchiarini

Emma Macchiarini Mankin-Morris

Website: macreativedesign.com
Instagram: emmamacchiarini

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am Emma Macchiarini Mankin-Morris, a metalsmith, a teacher, an administrator of my own jewelry school, President of The Metal Arts Guild, and last but not least, a mom. I go by the last name Macchiarini however, so that people know that I am part of the Macchiarini family. I am the third generation of metal smiths in the Macchiarini family.

In my jewelry, I draw inspiration from the work of my father and grandfather, as well as the materials I am using, and my love of the natural world. Themes in my work vary from animal forms, floral blooms, and the human body, to outer space and mathematic, or geometric pattern. I enjoy creating jewelry which comes of a process rather than a pattern. I look at jewelry making as an adventure with challenges, and points of interest, rather than the mere creation of an object. Sometimes, I find that the challenges of making things leads me to places I never would have gone. There is genius hidden in mistakes. I have found in creating special objects for people to love, acceptance, and patience are more valuable, than technical bravado.

I try to keep an eye on posture and form during jewelry making. To me, everything about jewelry making is somatic. I have a sketch journal of work that inspires me, and that I want to create that is always handy. I love to draw jewelry ideas. I started out my art career as a painter, and my practice is a cross-pollination of creativity, and innovation which is informed by interdisciplinary art practice. I love teaching, and making things, and enjoying the studio with students and family members

What is your favorite tool and why?

My favorite tool is a ball pein hammer that my dad welded a specialty spring grip onto. He gave it to me for Christmas one year as a special gift. It really is the best tool ever. It has sentimental value, as well as being useful. The spring grip absorbs the shock of the strike so that the wearer is saved elbow and carpal tunnel injury. Also, the weight of the hammer is greater since the grip is steel, this gives the strike more heft and authority.

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

I like working with anything. I love gold, but I also like working with repurposed trash items. Anything and everything can be made precious, just by paying attention to it. I love meteorite and citrines, and rubies. I prefer copper to brass, but I don’t mind working with any type of precious metals.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from the works of a lot of people who made things during the arts and craft movement. I love the modernist jewelers, not just my grandfather, but others as well. I love looking at Pinterest and seeing what’s out there. Mostly though, I turn inward for design ideas. If I look at the materials, they will tell me what they want to be.

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

I have been working at the jewelry bench since I was 11 years old. I’m not going to tell you how long that has been.

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

I never give advice, no one follows it. I would only point someone toward their own inspiration. Crawl before you walk, walk before you run, run before you fly. Order of operations is very important in metal work.

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?

The biggest challenge for me these days is keeping stillness and focus in the studio. The cell phone, and all its interrogatory elements threatens this process every day. I must remind myself to focus on the work, and to do only one thing at a time. It is impossible to multitask at the bench. Making things is an activity from another time, so we must work hard to incorporate that into this life of emails, internet, and social media.

Favorite resource/vendor or website

An often-unexplored resource is Depot for Creative Reuse in the east bay. They have lots of nice items that can be incorporated into your jewelry, especially if you make found object and alternative materials work.