BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Mimosa Handcrafted jewelry has been capturing tiny vignettes of Louisiana in bronze for more than ten years, forming a jewelry line that tells the story of creator, Madeline Ellis’, home. Native plants, animals, and even the architecture of the city drive her inspiration.
“There are so many unique and interesting things around us and I can’t help but take that in and turn it into something wearable,” said jeweler, Ellis.
Ellis grew up in a creative home with a seamstress as a mother, so she’s been creating things since she was a child. Even after she graduated in landscape architecture, jewelry-making became her outlet, and the city around her: inspiration. The artist says she likes to highlight things that are often overlooked or underappreciated, like the intricate designs of the windows found on the Old State Capitol.
When her pieces started piling up, her husband, Dawson, suggested she start selling them. Mimosa Handcrafted quickly grew from a small vendor at craft shows, to a full-time staff of seven filling orders from as far away as Australia.
Each piece is handmade with as much locally sourced material as possible through an ancient technique called lost wax casting, a process that dates back to the Egyptians. First, each item is carved from wax. Then, one of the artists makes a plaster-like mold of the wax figure. Once the mold is set, the wax is melted out, leaving the imprint of the carved figure. Then, molten metal is poured into the mold and allowed to set. When the mold is cooled and dissolved, what’s left is the metal version of the original wax carving.
From there, the pieces are trimmed, buffed, tumbled, polished, and cleaned. The whole process is spread out over a week.
“We’re making our pieces work horses,” said Ellis. “They’re providing jobs, they’re something beautiful, so there are a lot of things that go into it. There’s a depth to it,” she said.
There’s also a purpose. With her growing success, Ellis says they wanted to give back and use Mimosa to help others. Several pieces are designed to raise awareness for various causes or even funds for local issues and charities, from a cuff to promote community unity to a design of clasped hands commissioned to start conversations about mental health.
“We can do something in subtle, wearable ways that can be an icebreaker for a bigger, deeper, harder conversations that needs to be had,” Ellisa said.
It’s a passion Ellis hopes shines through every piece.
For more about Mimosa Handcrafted, click here.