As a little girl, Eliza Jane Piazza often visited her grandparents’ log cabin and wood shop, where she fell in love with the simplicity and rustic beauty of nature that surrounded her. The sights, sounds and creative endeavors on display in her grandparents’ home also inspired Eliza Jane to explore her own artistic talents.
She later found inspiration in the versatility of metal clay and began creating her own jewelry 10 years ago. Today, she owns and operates Dharma Cowgirl Jewelry in southern Indiana, where she’s essentially following her grandparents’ example to create beautiful art out of nature.
“I live in a log cabin in the woods and this setting greatly inspires my art,” Eliza Jane says. “My family has lived in Indiana for five generations, or more.”
Often incorporating symbols of nature into her jewelry, such as birds, trees and moons, Eliza Jane hand-forms each piece using sterling silver metal clay, then applies textures and carving details, before combining individual pieces and layers to create 2-D and 3-D jewelry. Using heat and pressure, she also embellishes some of her creations with very thin layers of 24-karat gold before combining them with colorful gemstones.
“I make wearable art that helps the owner express their individuality, their connection to nature, a feeling of empowerment, and an expression of their spirituality,” the Evansville jewelry-maker says.
Jewelry made with symbols of houses also holds a special place in Eliza’s heart — not only because of special memories made with her grandparents, but in honor of her work with the homeless population in southern Indiana. She donates a portion of the profits from each house piece sold to shelters and programs to aid the homeless.
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