Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday Artisan: The North Way Studio

Meet our Saturday Artisan, Maria of the North Way Studio. You'll agree with me that she has an amazing talent once you take a peek at her Etsy shop.

Hand crafted with a focus on the simplistic, every item is lovingly created to add a bit more beauty to your life. All designs, materials, and colors are inspired by nature, with a little twist of whimsy thrown in.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what arts/ crafts that you make?
My Fiance and I are both from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, about 4 hours north of the Mackinac Bridge. We are incredibly lucky to live in such an absolutely gorgeous area, right on the shores of Lake Superior. We love it there and are really proud to be Yoopers (one that lives in the U.P.). A lot of the jewelry that I create is inspired by different aspects of life there—apple blossoms, the ruggedness of the area, and the rich history of the mining towns. It’s all so incredible that it’s hard not to find muses on a daily basis.

What is the story behind your shop name?
The name The North Way Studio came about last winter, when I originally opened the store. In the beginning it was going to be dedicated to knit goods all named as different aspects of the Upper Peninsula. I really enjoy Fair Isle colors and designs, so the store was going to be filled with items of that nature. When I finally opened with a few items (only a few months ago!) I realized what I really wanted to focus on was jewelry. So my inventory changed, but the name just stuck. It’s still a sort of dedication to my proud northern roots. 

Who is your target market?
My target market is really anyone who enjoys fine jewelry with a focus on the simplistic. You can do a lot of amazing things with wire, but at some point, it just becomes too extravagant to wear and enjoy on a daily basis. So I wanted to keep it simple, really trying to highlight the beauty of the stones rather than bury it.

Which part of creation process that you like to do the most?
It really depends on the stones I’m purchasing. Sometimes the best part is seeing the finished item; how it hangs or how the facets catch the light. Other times, just finding the stone is the most exciting. I literally spend hours online searching for the perfect piece. I’m a little bit crazy here lately when it comes to gem shopping. At least now I have an excuse to hoard all of them.

Any advice for others running their on-line shop?
My advice to other sellers would be to really follow what you want to do. Don’t get set in a certain rut, thinking you have to stay in one category always. I changed from knitting to jewelry making nearly overnight, reworking item names and everything. These are your beautiful creations and your little spot of the world to really show them off—so make it exactly how you want it to be!

 For us who love to travel, could you share a bit about your beautiful town/ city? 

The town I’m from is just wonderful. We’re still on the small side, but we have some amazing culture that is very unique to the area. The Keweenaw is filled with rustic beaches and huge forests, cabins, a few lighthouses and old towering mine shafts from the mining boom. 


There is so much history tucked away up there, it’s hard sometimes to really take it all in. Artifacts from the 1800s could be sitting in your yard and there are a lot of ruins just off the road that we walk by on our way to classes. A lot of people still retain their heritage, such as the Finnish in the Keweenaw. My family is a very proud and boisterous mixture of Italian and Finnish—and we love it! Of course, the gem of the Upper Peninsula is Lake Superior. There is something so majestic about the fresh water and how ginormous it is. It’s always toe-numbing to swim in, but Yoopers seem to relish that for some reason. We’re very proud of our Lake and of the entire area.


  1. Wow, your jewelry is gorgeous. I'd love to see more amethyst jewelry in your shop, though!

  2. Wow, very pretty. Did you ever think about working with rough diamonds? They would go really well with your simplistic designs.

  3. Thank you both so much!

    Amber--I'm currently on the hunt for the perfect Amethysts. I'm very picky with my purples for some reason!

    Alexandra--Rough Diamonds are absolutely gorgeous. At the moment I am beginning the process of actual metal work, so eventually I will be creating rings and stud earrings with rough diamonds along with other rough stones:)

  4. I can't believe you only started your jewelry store a few months ago! really beautiful items!

  5. What a lovely lady, and what a gorgous shop! Her photography is absolutely sensational. I wish I knew her secret. :D


  6. I've never heard for Keweenaw, it looks so lovely :)
    Thank you for making such a lovely things, and for the great advices. means a lot!

  7. Knitting and me do not get along its a i can do but not my fav craft I have Been to Benbecula, Outer Hebrides in Scotland the fair ilse are on the otherside seeing knitted items or any craft firsthand is the best you can feel the history and the love that went into it .

  8. Lovely inspiration to create and wear~

  9. Very beautiful jewelry! I love visiting the U.P., too!

  10. I think your jewelry is beautiful, I am also from Michigan, and you do live in a beautiful part of the state. It's one of my favorite places to visit in Michigan. It is wonderful to see your inspiration comes from the natural beauty around you. I recently opened my shop On Etsy too and I know it is a challenge to be found with so many other sellers onsite. I wish you much success, I will check you out there too. I have shared your jewelry on Pinterest too.