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Artist Profile: Puakea Soares-Mercado

Artist: Puakea Soares-Mercado
Business Names: Jewelry by Reshell and Stone & Bone
Location: Hilo, Hawaii


How do you describe your work?
I have two shops that I passionately divide my time designing for. My first shop on is Jewelry by Reshell. I’d say it’s my more modern contemporary urban styled boutique. with a flare for old classic styles and trends, with a touch of my own modern twist.

My second shop is called Stone & Bone, which is a tribally styled native inspired collection, incorporating bits and pieces of traditional materials as well as spiritual symbolisms, and giving it an abstract, yet metaphoric modern twist to my ancestral lineage.

I first had only Jewelry by Reshell, as my main platform for exhibiting and selling my jewelry. But being the Gemini that I am, One was just not enough. Plus, because my style and range varies according to my moods, and materials that I’m in love with at the time, I just needed another venue to support my native work, that’s when my second shop Stone & Bone was born.

I chose to separate my jewelry styles so that my target audiences could have an easier time navigating through thousands of jewelry sites. Keeping it simple and easy to locate, is half the battle of selling on the web.

What kind of training did you have which helped you to achieve your current level of artistry?
I’m a self created artist on all disciplines that I love to do. I’ve been drawing, painting, and beading since I was 4 years old. I can’t imagine my life with out arts and crafts, all of them. I’m an addicted artist, no matter what the medium I’m working with. It consumes me. As far as being a professional and making a living off of what I do, I’ve sold my work from the start. I always wanted to be in business for myself, and art was and still is the vehicle to my success. My jewelry business on has giving me more exposure and venues to reach farther, and has allowed me to make contacts with other professional in the field, that has helped me to grow even more.

Is there a tool or material that you can’t imagine living without?
Oh yes, I can’t imagine my work as a jewelry designer with out wire. I’m just crazy about all things wire. It’s the most amazing material to work with. My work has taken a whole new life since I’ve incorporated wire into my designs. I see it now as a means to create more structural pieces, where as before, I felt my work was limited and lifeless. Let me not forget, my most favorite tool of all is my ring mandrel, with out it there’s no way I could create My Chunky Dinner Ring Collection. Trust me when I say without it I would be lost.

What inspires you to create?
Ah, alas I’m an artist, it’s who I am. If I didn’t create, my life would cease to exist.. It’s in every thing I do. I know I sound so dramatic, but there’s never been a day that goes by that I don’t create some form of artwork. To me life it’s self is inspiration. I’m an artist, I can be no other.

What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
I’m not one to give advice, or seldom take it. Unless I truly feel it in my bones. But what I tell myself everyday is , “Girl, you’re very luck to be able to do what you do. Love it, live it, and most of all share it with whoever wishes to be apart of the process. That’s all that matters, the rest will take care of it’s self.” Life finds away to make it happen, and passion fuels the rest.

What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?
My work does get stressful at times. But I’m the one putting the stress on myself. I’m my worst enemy or my greatest alley. I’ve learned to step back and let it be (the Beatles had it right), and it’s worked itself out every time.

What takes up the majority of your time?
My family, I’m a wife, a mom, and a grandma. I love my family all very much. But they know if I’m busy working on a project to give me my space. They know if I’m not doing me, which is my artwork, I’m not going to be able to be good for them. Because it’s been my work as an artist and designer that provides for my family, and they understand that.

In closing I just wanted to say, In loving who I am, my work has improved, finding my niche and following my heart has shown me that anything is possible. I have high standards for my work, but I also know that the moment doesn’t always turn out the way I envisioned. It’s turned out better. So do what you do and love every minute of what you do, and the rest will follow.

The work shown:
Free Bird Beaded Embroidered Choker: My Native American lineage inspired this women’s beaded choker, with back stitch applique. I used an array of diffrent sized beads, cabochons, and light beige ultra suede for it’s backing. This piece is light wight and fit’s small to medium women’s neck. Available @ Jewelry by Reshell

Spanish Moss Copper Wire Cuff Bracelet: This definitely one of a kind copper bracelet, was inspired by the play of wire and the diffrent gauges. I loved the way the colors and tones emphasized the different sizes, age, and depth as well as texture. The roughly cut stone was the perfect choice for the focal bead, lending just the right amount of color and flare to make this ornament pop. Fits women’s medium to large wrists, Available @ Stone and Bone on Etsy

Fortune Teller Carnelian and Copper Charm Choker: I love all things Gypsy related. This wonderful women’s choker is all things that a fortune teller would adorn herself with. I choose to use carnelian as the my faceted focal piece, for it’s healing and protection qualities, and copper as a means to hold and secure them together, copper is said to be the metal of the Goddess of Love Venus, the collection of charms range from hearts to pearls and so much more. I loved the idea of the colored silk ribbon to be it’s tie, so that this piece can be worn long or tight near the throat. One size fits all Available at Jewelry by Reshell on Etsy

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