Arts Alive - Feb/March 2018
- story by Denise Jacobs, photos by Lisa Loth
Like many of us of a certain age, Elizabeth Veglia has been transitioning and downsizing.
She is best known for her mosaic installations on the Gulf Coast, and her work can be seen at Stennis Space Center’s museum, in the lobby at Hancock Medical Center, alongside the Ocean Springs’ bridge, at the entrance to the Bay St. Louis Library, and at the Waveland City Hall complex.
She has numerous other mosaics in schools, churches, and public buildings throughout Mississippi and in New Orleans and has worked with an international group of artists on installations in New York City and in Barcelona, Spain.
About five years ago, Elizabeth decided to transition into a creative genre more lightweight than mosaics. “Mosaics make for heavy work,” she explains, “And they require cement, tiles, saws—things that weigh a lot and require a lot of space.”
This Arts Alive column
And in this small space, the magic happens. Here Elizabeth meticulously designs unique hand wrought jewelry using semi-precious stones, silver, and bronze—small materials, small storage space and small tools.
“At this time, all my mosaic supplies and tools are in storage,” she says, “And making jewelry is a welcome and lightweight creative counterpart to making mosaics—wonderful for now! And painting, I have always painted, and it doesn’t have to take up a lot of room.”
Most recently, Elizabeth has been spinning and twisting silver and bronze wire around semi-precious stones like Labradorite, Apatite, Agate, and Amethyst in the process of creating necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Listening to the stones and feeling their energies results in a blending of her creativity and the stone’s attributes.
One collection is heavily influenced by the fluid, watery Caribbean blues of Aquamarine, Amazonite, Chalcedony, Lapis Lazuli, and Jade. At the other end of the spectrum, the Primal Collection features contrasting blacks and whites. Elizabeth also works with crystals. “I am so glad that crystals are popular now,” Elizabeth says. “I love the sparkle.”
At this time, her creative space has transitioned from the 700-square-feet studio in a Bay St. Louis property she and Billy sold in June, to a small house. Earlier in the year, the couple sold a home on Rotten Bayou that they had lived in for 13 years, a place that included a 1,600-square-foot studio.
Elizabeth says that downsizing feels good. “We have a living room, a kitchen, one bathroom and two bedrooms. My part of our shared space is perhaps 50 square feet.” She laughs and says the move has been a test of their long-standing relationship.
“Could we work together in one room, this jeweler and her contractor/realtor partner? Yes, we could. Sharing a small space is a testament to our relationship.”
And, as to the art, life in transition has offered Elizabeth the opportunity to focus on the solitary artistic mode of a jeweler and sometimes painter. It suits her.
Elizabeth’s collections will be on sale at Bay Life Gifts in celebration of its grand opening at The Shops of Century Hall beginning February 2. Elizabeth will be available to discuss her process of making jewelry on Second Saturday, February 10, and later in March. Check with Bay Life Gifts for updates and details.
Plan to be dazzled.