“My designs are all from my heart and my culture. My love of animals and anything of beauty influences me most.” - Michelle Tapia
Michelle Tapia was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Although she never received formal art or jewelry training, she has been creative since childhood. This natural inclination made her a quick study as she learned silver and goldsmithing, lapidary and the art of scrimshaw from renowned Alaska native jewelry-makers, Denise and Samuel Wallace. When the Wallace’s relocated from Santa Fe to Hawaii, Michelle expanded the line she started under their tutelage.
Working from her home studio in Santa Fe, Michelle carves each of her pieces by hand from fossilized walrus tusk, some dating back 20,000 years. Her designs are hand inked and set in fine metals. Animals, nature, her Spanish upbringing and her Tibetan Buddhist philosophies inspire her. Cats, dogs, bunnies, butterflies, fairies, dragonflies and mermaids are among the whimsical motifs she creates. Her small wearable devotional pieces are called Relicarios, and she has several pieces with the image of Buddha and brightly colored Lotus blossoms.
"I'm inspired by anything of beauty, goodness, love, and animals. I love learning about other beliefs and customs. For me, it is not about "religion", it is about a universal acceptance and compassion for one another."
The winner of numerous awards including five Best In Show at Santa Fe’s Contemporary Spanish Market, Tapia’s creations have developed a following around the world.