Jewelry and Terra Cotta
My name is Ariel Chavez, and I am a creator.
Creator may seem like a broad term. For me, it means that anything I put my mind to will materialize, artistic and non-artistic goals alike.
I grew up watching my mom, uncle and cousin bring beautiful paintings and drawings into creation. By blood, I was born to be an artist- groomed mentally from a young age to believe I could create with mediums I had never even touched. From acrylic and natural pigments to ceramic sculptures and woodworking, I lightly dabbled in it all.
Engineer by day, artist by night- I live a life of dualities. But it wasn’t until 2020, when I found myself with more time on my hands, that I truly began to prioritize my artistic outlet. It began, of course, with a new cycle of self discovery- diving deep into reconnection with the earth and my ancestors, wanting to cultivate a deeper understanding and respect for traditional craft, my identity, and my cultural heritage. I looked to my ancestors from Mexico and the Philippines for guidance.
Lately, earth and fire have been my teachers. In 2021, I began to build an horno tradicional (traditional wood burning kiln) in my backyard, reminiscent of the ones in Mexico that have been used for thousands of years. As I progressed on my journey with clay, I ended up with a small electric kiln in my garage ceramic studio, wanting to experiment with glazes and porcelain.
Working with clay has taught me patience, how to slow down and unweave the tangled mess in my mind, how to let go of perfection. My artistic evolution into ceramic earrings came from wanting to turn the body of earth into delicate, wearable art that will inspire confidence and a return to nature in those who wear them. The use of Sampaguita flowers are an ode to my grandma Domy, who I took care of for many years before she passed. As an ode to my Mexican heritage and to my grandma Maria, I dove into learning pre-columbian techniques such as burnishing and decorating with fine colored clay slip. I hope to complete some of those pieces to display publicly as well.