NATURE IS MY RELIGION AND EARTH IS MY TEMPLE
My name is Melīna and I'm an entirely self-taught Silversmith and Artist, born in the verdant landscape and thick fog of the Puget Sound on Whidbey Island in Washington State. Not long after I was born, my parents split up and my mom headed back to Southern California to be closer to my Greek immigrant grandparents. It was there, where I spent many of my formative years, not far from the border of Mexico.
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 Greek children's books in his broken English and beautifully thick accent, and taught me 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 and contractor by trade, he and his hands were always busy either creating or playing Greek and Romani "Gypsy" folk music on the bouzouki and dancing. I'm a lot like him. I thank the sea and stars for him, and how much he encouraged my free and creative spirit.
The name LUPANYXA was inspired by many things. I live with overlapping autoimmune conditions, one of them being Lupus. The word lupus being a Latin word and used as a way of describing the disease as, "the bite of the wolf". Also, Lupa a Latin word for she-wolf, and I’m a wolfwoman through and through. Nyxa is a variation on the Greek name Nyx and word for Night. Together I formed these words into LUPANYXA. I feel this name connected deep within me.
A percentage of each and every piece of my jewelry purchased, gets donated directly to the Arthritis National Research Foundation at curearthritis.org/donate/ an organization that researches cures for autoimmune arthritis including Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Psoriatic Arthritis, Juvenile Arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
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 sensitive, introverted nature. I ended up stepping away from this very hectic career and way of life, 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 man 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, creating 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.
Every piece I create is unique and one-of-a-kind. I put time, love and dedication into every bit of my work. I work almost exclusively with Sterling and Fine Silver, and occasionally create pieces using bits of recycled solid gold. I never use filled or plated materials, and I try to use recycled silver as much possible. I source my stones and gems from mines here in the Americas, from only the most reputable and responsible suppliers and dealers. I only buy from a couple of 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/ Apache+Chicano lapidary artist, Maxamillion Avila.
My inspiration arises from life itself, 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, animals, 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 this thing we call life. We are all related.
Connection is our truth.