Goldsmith and jewelry designer Melissa McClure finds inspiration for Jewelry Alchemy, her line of delicately organic jewelry, in her disparate upbringing that straddled Manhattan and Houston - the ultimate urban landscape and the most rugged of America’s wide open spaces. Jewelry Alchemy, individually handcrafted by the artist in her Los Angeles studio, is both refined and soulful, delicate but with presence. Made from 18K and 22K gold, each piece is painstakingly individually forged – down to the very last link in every necklace. The combination of Melissa’s modern bohemian designs, age-old craftsmanship and the magic of something lovingly made resonate through each of McClure’s versatile creations.
Opposites are everywhere in the gold confections. “Growing up, I split my time between the city and Houston. They are two very different worlds, but they both speak to me. Like me, they are contradictory – but there is magic where the two meet,” says Melissa. Rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces all walk the line between free-form shapes and restrained proportions. Known for her recurring twig-like motifs, McClure’s work also explores negative space, minimalism and scale.
A sense of family tradition informs Melissa’s designs. The latest in a long line of jewelers (her maternal family has been in the jewelry trade for five generations), McClure finds inspiration in her late grandmother, Lucylle Barnes, a third-generation jeweler with impeccable taste and dedication to family and beauty. Craftsmanship, something that Melissa prizes in her goldsmithing work, also runs in her veins. Her paternal grandfather, a true denizen of the Wild West, was an accomplished carpenter whose work ethic and attention to detail McClure strives to invoke in her own creations.
Before earning her metalsmithing and design degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City in 2005, McClure earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Theory and Criticism from Middlebury College. She has also worked in Los Angeles’ film industry as a costume designer and wardrobe stylist for film, television and music videos.