My name is Melina and I'm an entirely self-taught Silversmith and Neurodivergent Artist. I was born in the verdant landscape and thick fog of the Puget Sound on Whidbey Island in Washington State, but grew up in Southern California with my Greek Romani "gypsy" immigrant grandparents.
My grandfather was the father figure in my life. He nurtured my creativity early on. We were very close as the only two artists in our family of mostly healthcare workers. He taught me to read from children's books in his broken English and thick accent, and to paint as soon as I could hold a brush. Together, we adorned the house with murals of the islands and mythology of his beloved homeland. I would watch him build, sculpt and even invent new tools. He was a house painter, decorator and contractor by trade, and his hands were always busy working, creating or playing Greek and Romani folk music on the bouzouki, accordion and dancing. I thank the sea and stars for him, and how much he encouraged my creative spirit.
The name LUPANYXA (Loopah-Niksah) was inspired by many things. I live with overlapping, incurable autoimmune conditions, including Rheumatoid Disease and Lupus. The word Lupa is from Lupus, a Latin word and used as a way of describing the disease as "the bite of the wolf", as well as a word for shewolf. Nyxa is a variation on the Greek name Nyx the primordial goddess of, and personification of the Night. Together I formed these words into LUPANYXA. I feel this name connected deep within me.
I have been fortunate in working and creating in some very interesting fields along my journey to silversmithing. I was a painter and sculptor throughout my youth and into my twenties. I went on to earn my degree in Costume Design while living in Los Angeles. I worked in the fast-paced fashion and entertainment industries for several years before realizing that lifestyle was much too over-stimulating to my introverted nature. I ended up stepping away from this very hectic career, as I felt so powerfully called to work on my own art and to create independently.
Eventually, I made my way North again. I could not deny the pull to be back where I was born. Surrounded by trees, rivers, nature. Today, I live, work and create in Portland, Oregon aka Chinook land. The Pacific Northwest and the richness of the Cascadian landscape will always feel like an integral part of my being.
I have a lifelong deep love and affinity for creating and working in three dimensional form. I even dabbled with creating my own jewelry at one point while working as a costume and clothing designer in Los Angeles. But, never learned to use a torch or to solder. This was until I found a retired teacher and inventor, in a small town on the Columbia River in Washington. He offered an introductory class that taught the basics of metalsmithing tools and safety. I signed up immediately and have not stopped learning and experimenting since. I have been entirely self-taught since that initial safety class. I am so in love with every aspect of it. It's the medium I was always searching for. I lose myself in it completely, and time disappears.
My work is unique and one-of-a-kind, intuitive as well as deliberate, and it's my goal is that every piece will last lifetimes and become heirlooms.
My jewelry is responsibly crafted and I follow sustainable studio practices. I work almost exclusively with recycled Sterling and Fine Silver, and occasionally create pieces using bits of recycled solid gold or bronze. I never use filled or plated materials. I only use ethically sourced, natural stones and gems from mines here in the Americas, from only the most reputable and responsible suppliers. I occasionally source from a couple very select overseas suppliers, like my Baltic Amber from Lithuania. Most of the cabochons I now use in my work, are created right here at home by my partner, Indigenous 2nd generation Lapidarist, Maxamillion Avila.
My inspiration arises from life itself, mythology, the vastness of the cosmos, the stable density of earth, the emotion of water, the invisible messages in the ether, the excitement of fire, the changing seasons, cycles, rituals, forests, oceans, creatures, the ancients and all of nature.
I often channel my ancestors and animal allies in my work. I try to honor all peoples and plants and creatures by creating reminders of our connection to each other and most of all the great mystery of being alive. We are all related.
Connection is our truth.