An eye for detail, a gift for art
Where we are in life is a direct correlation to the details that sculpted us to that that point. For instance, award-winning jeweler Melissa Booth knows that her life is all about the details.
“My mother was an arts and crafts type person and my father was a master carpenter; I watched him pore over the details of furniture and cabinet making and it really did mold me to who I am today,” Booth said.
Along with her husband, Jay, Melissa’s Designer Jewelry has been working the details of handmade jewel art in Hillsborough for more than 13 years. “We are in our third location in Hillsborough, all three in the same block, which is really a cool thing,” Booth said.
Melissa is the art designer and the jewelry sculptor and she knew from an early age she wanted to do something artistic. “I recall going to wonderfully large art shows and just wanting to be one of those artist, one day,” Booth said.
Upon graduating from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Booth took her passion in metals and wood to her first job as an artist working in a jewelry shop. Eventually, her detailed path led her to Asheville, where she advanced her craft and along the way, met her husband, Jay. “He lived in Raleigh and it was such a long commute to see each other that we eventually moved to Chapel Hill. Upon having dinner one night at an outside eatery in Hillsborough, I was struck by just how much I loved the town. I was doing all of my work from my home studio and soon happened upon space above Bandido’s, where I opened my first studio, which was more of a workshop than storefront,” Booth said.
As her artwork expanded and her popularity increased, Booth found it necessary to evolve into retail and moved her jewelry shop downstairs and eventually down the block to where she is now, between Margaret and King, on the west side of Churton.
From inside her shop, Booth builds ideas and concepts that are personal for her customers and reflections of her own detailed life.
“The work is meticulous and dirty, it is not glorious and clean at all. Many of the pieces I create for customers are unique to them, such as when they bring me inherited pieces of diamond or sapphire and I am asked to combine pieces to form something personal for them,” Booth said. “Inspiration for what I create comes from a thought, a line of architecture, or a curve of the body, and these compel me to place my thoughts to paper. I draw every concept before I ever begin an idea.”
As part of her craft of detail and creative awareness, Booth handpicks all of the unusual stones used in her work.
“My work focuses on the characteristics of the individual stones and I design for their protection, ability to be worn, and the beauty of a stones’ identity,” Booth said.
From in her shop, Booth produces works of art that are detail in design and demonstrative in artistic awareness. “I don’t plan on leaving this town. I love it and I love that I can produce and sell all from the same location,” Booth said.
If our life is about the details, then Booth is displaying her life inside her storefront and also through the passion, which she speaks.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MELISSA’S DESIGNER JEWELRY
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