Journal

Kindred Artists of the Week: Lara and Mariah

"Although fun, Mokume Gane can be tedious medium to work with! It often goes through a long “ugly duckling” phase. Patience and persistence are important." 

Presenting our Kindred Artist of the Week series! We are big fans of all the artists we work with and we are so excited to share their stories!

This week’s featured artists are Lara and Mariah - the Fairbanks-born and raised duo behind ELM designs. Much of their work uses a technique called mokume gane, which produces an incredible juxtaposition of metal and the natural world - and their long hours of labor and love show through in each piece. 

Who are you?

Lara and Mariah. We are both artists that were born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. We met while pursuing our Fine Art degrees at UAF and shared a similar fascination with the Japanese jewelry technique Mokume Gane.

What do you do?

Working independently, we both design and fabricate jewelry. We specialize in Mokume Gane, which is a metalsmithing technique of stacking metals of different colors and creating patterns within a piece. We also use silver and gold to create our designs.

What inspires you?

We have very similar inspirations when it comes to art: patterns and forms found in nature, minimalism, architecture, and painting are some.

What’s your favorite moment in the process?

I think we can both agree on this… the end! Working with metal, specifically Mokume, it goes through so many different stages. Most of the time the final form isn’t clear until the very end when the metals are oxidized to show the different layers and patterns in a piece. That’s when it finally comes together.

What’s a trick of your trade, or a piece of advice for other artists in your medium?

Although fun, Mokume Gane can be tedious medium to work with! It often goes through a long “ugly duckling” phase. Patience and persistence are important. Patience prevents overheating and overworking and gives the time needed to create patterns. Keep practicing - things do get easier!

What’s next?

New designs, new ideas! We’re constantly inspired and changing things up!


Vertical Mokume Bar Necklace

See more of Lara and Mariah's work here

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