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Stellar Metal

Jeweler. 

I'm Jessi Rae and I'm the designer, maker, and one woman operation behind Stellar Metal Jewelry.

I was born in the Sangre de Cristo mountains outside Taos, NM. My father was a jeweler and I have early memories of sitting in his shop, mesmerized by the art of metal smithing. My mother is a renaissance woman of many crafts, though her focus is mostly illustration. Artists run rampant on both sides of my family. 

In an attempt to break the cycle of the starving artist, my family pushed me toward academics, but I couldn’t deny my need for creative expression. While attending college in Santa Fe, I was drawn into taking some jewelry classes, where I discovered an immediate attraction to the art form that had been such a huge part of my early childhood. Shortly thereafter, I sought out a jewelry apprenticeship, which I found in the artist Noah Pfeffer. Within six months I left college to work for him full time. I continued to work and learn with him for nearly 10 years, even moving to Arizona in 2010 when he did. 
Since returning to Taos in 2015, I have also studied and worked with the jewelers Maria Samora in Taos and Ray Winner in Arizona. I spent four years working with Maria Samora in traditional goldsmithing and fine contemporary jewelry. She is well known for her cutting edge designs and high fashion style in the Native Arts world. Ray Winner is an incredible metal smith and jewelry designer of more than 45 years who I would consider to be a master jeweler. We’ve only worked together sparingly but he continues to be a mentor and great friend to me. Working under several artists has given me a large spectrum of skills and styles to draw my creative style from. Mentorship has played a huge role in my life as a jeweler.
I had always made my own work on the side but it was only in 2020 that my focus shifted fully to my business.  I have refined my style and skills greatly over the last two years and feel that I have really found my artistic expression. All in all I have been making jewelry for about 17 years now and I feel like I’m only getting started. I want to keep the traditional craft of fabrication alive in my work though I plan on incorporating more technologically advanced methods over time. All methods and aesthetics, from the ancient to the modern, have their place as far as I’m concerned. The unique style of my work as well as the term
I've coined to describe it- "primal contemporary"- reflects this sentiment.

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