Designer Spotlight: Ayesha Studio

It’s almost sacrilegious to try to put this artist’s credo into words, so let her take you on a magnificent visual journey instead

I first spoke to the delightful Ayesha Mayadas on the phone in October 2015. She was introduced to me by a dear mutual friend and fellow jeweler, Elisabeth Soscia of Earth Below Sky Creations. We started chatting, and I truly felt like I was talking to a long-lost relative. She has a sweet, soulful energy that makes you believe in the beauty of this industry all over again. I’m so thrilled she’ll be joining us in Tucson this year.  She is a talent to behold, and I know she’ll immediately cast her spell on many a new and familiar face.

The video on your website is really wonderful. I love how you give us a sneak peek into your world. Why did water become the focus of your work? Are you a water sign, by any chance?

I am not a water sign. Actually, I have had a general fear of water because I didn’t learn to swim till I was in my 20s. I am awed by water, its life force and its erosive power. It erodes our landscape, but creates it, too.

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Water-inspired linked necklace, earring and cuff in 18k yellow gold

Could you tell me more about forging and why you made that choice? It’s a technique that I find absolutely fascinating, and unfortunately it’s not utilized as frequently as we move more into mass manufacturing.

I am obsessed by line and how effective a pure and simple line can be. For me, the hammer is the only tool that lets me transfer onto metal the lines I see in my head. I also look for an “eggshell” quality to the jewelry I make. Again, forging gives me the opportunity to make thin, lightweight structures.

What is your favorite piece right now and why?

My favorite right now are these cuffs that I’m making in sterling silver with various stones and diamonds. They speak to the lightweight, eggshell quality I describe above, and when they are closed (there is a catch), the overlap of the cuff can leave the viewer wondering which side of the overlap actually holds the stone. It was important that the edges of the cuff (both the one you can see and the one you cannot see) have a purpose.

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Wafer cuffs with closure in sterling silver

You found your calling for jewelry while employed as a textile engineer. Could you tell us more about your journey and that transition?

I got my first intro to jewelry-making in high school. I fell in love with it then, but my practical mind felt that it was an impractical way to make a living. I went on to get a degree in textile engineering but always played with metals in my kitchen, summer workshops, etc. In 1993, when I found myself in Rochester, N.Y., with Rochester Institute of Technology in my backyard, I decided to take a leap and pursue the dream and obtain a masters in metalsmithing. I’ve never looked back.

Can you give us sneak peek about projects in the works? Anything new you’ll be bringing to the show?

After years of working in gold, I decided to look at silver as a way to make larger pieces and to make more mistakes! This happened about 18 months ago, so Tucson will be the first wholesale show where I will have a nice range of my silver work. My major focus still remains with my gold collection and this year, I’ve refocused on my alternative bridal line. I will have full line of rings with me as well.

Any advice for emerging designers?

There are definitely rising stars in the business, but that is not the only way to have an exciting and rewarding career as a jewelry designer. Emerging designers should take the time that is available in the early stages of their career to develop, play, make mistakes. Also as soon as is financially possible, do what you do best and hire others do what they do best. Doing everything will definitely stagnate your growth.

Why are you excited for JCK Tucson?

JCK has addressed many of the concerns that designers have when doing these shows. I am a newcomer to this wholesale show world, but the fact that JCK is hosting 50 VIP retailers for the first time should bring a lot of energy and, I hope, orders.

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Triple wave band and textured band in 18k rose gold