From the other 1/2 of our team (I really feel like only 1/4 of the team, since Shannon is so much more knowledgeable than me!) -- today's blog post is from me, Sheila -- and I will write the next few, featuring some awesome jewelry designers we've recently met on LinkedIn.
Before we get started, I am sending a big THANK YOU for all those who recently signed up to follow our blog. This past week we had a record number of signups! For all our fans and followers, here's a heads up on our just-launched Christmas in July sale -- running July 10 -20, with 20% off everything in the shop. We have many exciting new listings -- including Peruvian Opal, Larimar, African & Exotic Beads & Gemstones, and more (Shannon's cool Lapis Lazuli necklace shown here is also available)!
Now, back to today's topic. Our first post in the new LinkedIn artist series is on Michelle De Los Santos of Tantra Gems, who is harnessing her talent to help a very worthy project coming up soon. In a bit, I'll tell you more about her & her work. But first, there's a time-sensitive event announcement I don't want anyone to miss:
Michelle De Los Santos and Lorraine Davis Announce A Gallery Jewelry Event: " Metamorphosis"
This showing is the unveiling of their new collections in celebration of their own transformations. They are delighted and excited to share and participate with the Healing Art Gallery featuring West Coast contemporary art.
Using organic crystal
, gemstones and metals, Michelle creates decorative hand-forged pieces inspired by the fluid elements of nature. Merging her artistic background with the power of healing stones, harmony and individual style come together.
Here are the details on this event for a GREAT cause!
A Gallery Jewelry Event: "Metamorphosis"
Part of the proceeds to benefit the
YWCA - Yolanda Project*
(a domestic violence support program)
Saturday, July 12, 2014
6:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Healing Art Gallery
3530 SE Hawthrone Blvd.
Portland, OR 97214
Facebook site for Michelle De Los Santos:
I don't know about you, but I'm dying to go! I'm not going to be in the Portland area at this time (darn!!) so I will hope Michelle (shown here on the right) will send a little note about how things went, and maybe some photos and info about how folks can support the Yolanda Project beyond/outside of this special event.
I just returned from Tucson and being with the AWESOME women (Hi Kelly!) who run the YWCA there, and I know they make such a difference for the lucky women who make their way to them. They help some of the most disadvantaged and deserving women in the state of Arizona -- everything from providing a professional clothing closet for job interviews, to job training, to counseling and personal development support.
I'd like to know more about Portland's Yolanda project and how it got its name -- though my fear is there's a very sad story behind it. At least the Portland YWCA, and Michelle and others are pitching in to try to prevent the tragedies that too often happen in the lives of women -- and to support women after violence and abuse.
I wrote a novel some time ago, loosely based on real life (The Road From La Cueva
) -- and while my subject was more focused on emotional issues than physical abuse, we know how much hurtful words can damage the human spirit. My own experience with this issue leads me to cheer for Michelle and her colleagues for contributing to this event. I do hope some of you out there in cyber-land can attend the showing. And even if not, I encourage you to support your local YWCA or Women's Shelters however you can -- a donated suit, toiletries, children's toys, books -- all are generally appreciated. And of course $$ if you can!!
So now a bit more about Michelle and her work.
Michelle was born and raised in New York City, where she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology. She continued her studies at The New School for Social Research before working as a designer for companies like Middle Earth, Eternal Gems, La loop, Hillary Flowers and Gottex Swimwear.
In 2000, Michelle started her own clothing line combining deconstructed-wearable art originals -- lovingly hand-painted and sold in specialty boutiques in NYC, Miami, Barcelona and Madrid. A personal injury triggered a major metamorphosis
in her life; over the last few years, she began a new evolution, forging custom handcrafted jewelry.
Her pieces are inspired by the fluid elements of nature. She's a natural explorer, and her curiosity has taken her around the world -- seeking transformation and wholeness. Part of her quest is to help others with physical and spiritual healing. In each piece she makes, she strives to inspire, uplift and create harmony and balance. Her work is so aesthetically beautiful; yet it is also full of symbolism and meaning. Today her work is exhibited at galleries and boutiques, and she is delighted to create one-of-a-kind pieces to reflect her clients' style and interests. I especially love her use of semi-precious stones and raw quartz crystals. The colors are vibrant and the work radiates positive energy!
Until next time,
Note: Just prior to release of this post, Michelle sent me this additional information about the Yolanda Project:
*The newly transitioned Yolanda House facility is a long-term communal housing program that provides survivors of domestic violence and their children a safe haven to get back on their feet after escaping the atrocity of domestic violence. The Yolanda House facility empowers survivors of domestic violence to achieve personal safety, self-sufficiency, and a renewed sense of hope. It is named in honor of the late Yolanda Panek, a YWCA program director, who was brutally murdered by her ex-boyfriend, in front of their 2-year old son, on July 13, 1995. Commenting on the shelter, Yolanda's mother Susan Panek said, "In my heart I know that Yolanda's gift of caring for others will continue through Yolanda House." If you would like to support the project, contact the Recovery Association Project, at: