We recently featured jewelry handmade by Chalea of Mune Studios. Chalea was kind enough to provide photos of herself and her workspace, and answer our interview questions. Here we have a glimpse of the artisan behind the beautiful pieces she creates.
In this post, Chalea answers questions about her family, business origins, and thoughts on motherhood.
CC: How do you pronounce your name?
CM: Shall-Ay (as is “say”)
CC: Tell us about your family. Significant other? Children’s names and ages?
CM: My family lives in the Pacific Northwest on a small working farm in rural Southwest Washington. Our house is over 100 years old. We are surrounded by our pets and family, while building the life we want. Our two daughters (toddler and pre-teen) teach us things daily. My family is a core of strength in my life and I couldn’t see our lives in any other way.
CC: Where are you currently located (city / state / country)?
CM: Southwest Washington State, Northeast of Vancouver. It’s also a short hop over from Portland, Oregon.
CC: Tell us about your work space. Do you create items in your home? A separate studio?
CM: I have a small studio space, but my favorite place to work is on the go and out in nature. My tools pack up well, so I take them with me. Due to working around my children’s schedules, I’ve become very flexible with what my studio space looks like.
CC: What is your best time of day to get work done?
CM: Since I have a toddler, I’ve become in touch with being flexible with my time. I enjoy creating in that way, versus having a rigid schedule to follow.
CC: Anything special about your business name?
CM: Mune Studios has bridged many adventures since being a child. It’s felt almost like a family crest in everything I do.
CC: How long have you been in business as an artisan? Making mama metal?
CM: I’ve been drawing for the past 18 years. My passion for making art, grew into jewelry design and jewelry making in 2006. I started creating jewelry from raw wire in 2015, after seeing how endless my horizons could be when making all components myself.
CC: What drew you to enter this field of work?
CM: There was such an overwhelming need in the babywearing and naturally-minded community, for this type of jewelry. There was not enough supply available at the time, to meet the requests of the community. I was just getting into making designs with my torch, and was pleased with my experience. I got so many compliments on what I made, that it seemed natural to branch out with my own interpretations of mama metal.
CC: How would you describe your subject matter or the content of your work?
CM: I love creating things that remind me of nature or have an “organic” feel and flow. My goal and vision is to create heirloom-quality pieces that mothers can treasure for years to come.
CC: What mediums do you work with?
CM: My mama metal pieces start with Argentium Silver wire. I incorporate wire wrapping and naturally-formed gemstones, depending how the piece will be used. For someone with older children (who won’t grab the piece), we can work with delicate wires and use materials such as quartz crystals. Otherwise, I wouldn’t advise these materials around small children.
CC: Do you have a motto?
CM: Journey jewelry that tells your story.
CC: What inspires you in your creative work?
CM: I love the whimsical and organic things I see all around. It brings much-needed fun into our lives.
CC: How has your work / practice / design changed over time?
CM: I started out making beaded jewelry years ago. I wanted to continually improve my work and advance in my craft. I sought out teachers to apprentice under, and over time had some lovely ladies mentor me. I am very grateful to them.
CC: What kind of experience do you want a viewer or user of your art to walk away with?
CM: I want my customers to know their pieces are heirloom-quality. This jewelry will be there, making memories for years to come. I want customers to feel confident they can pass their treasures on to their children, whom can cherish them just as much.
CC: Fill in the blank: Motherhood is __________
CM: Such a wonderful journey and full of learning. There will be moments that push us to our breaking point. There will be days we’ll wake up and wonder if we can really do this. There will be times we won’t have answers. While this may not sound wonderful, in equal measure it makes us cherish and adore all the happy moments, all the quiet minutes, and every snuggle with our little ones in between. My children have been my greatest teachers in so many ways. I must remember to keep an open heart and an open mind toward what they are trying to help me learn.
CC: How has being a mother changed you?
CM: I used to be full of opinions about how a child should be raised. In each idea, I’ve had to eat my thoughts, haha! Motherhood humbles you. It makes you thankful for the time you’re given on this earth. I could say my biggest lesson is to slow down and be present in the moment. I used to wish my days away because they were too boring. Now, some of those quiet days are the ones most filled with love.
CC: What is something your children have taught you?
CM: Life doesn’t always go the way you planned, and that’s okay. Sometimes life turns out better than anything you could have planned.
CC: What do your kids do that makes you laugh?
CM: I can never resist laughing when both my girls are busy making each other laugh. It’s so infectious that I catch the giggles too!
CC: What is one piece of advice on motherhood that has helped you?
CM: Be patient. Be patient with your little ones trying to learn all the rules on earth; be patient with yourself too! You’re trying to figure it out just as much as they are. Since there aren’t clear instructions delivered with your children, you’re going to be in for a lot of trial and error.
Thank you to Chalea and Mune Studios for working with us to feature this beautiful and sturdy jewelry!