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30 Sep

If A Mermaid Made Jewelry, It Would Look Like This

Posted by Bikini Owner

mermaid by hand

Mermaid By Hand's Eliza Sloane at her workbench

Can we just talk about how much we love Instagram? A quick scroll can take us to far-flung places, incite exciting, inspiring ideas, and introduce us to people doing really, really cool stuff. Eliza Sloane of Mermaid By Hand caught our attention one day, and after diving deep into the images of her powerful handmade pieces, we were intrigued enough to want to connect and learn more. 

The way Sloane takes inspiration from the sea is a slam-dunk in our book, but the conscious crafting of her style and the artful approach she takes in the workshop sets her apart in a way that is distinctive and refreshing. Here's what the sometime-surf bum and avid traveler had to say about starting a jewelry business, wanderlust, and who she'd love to see wearing her baubles. 

BIKINI: The sea seems to be a never-ending source of inspiration for you with Mermaid By Hand. Can you talk about how it influences your work?

ELIZA SLOANE: I was born and raised by the sea, and I find it hard to be away from her for too long. I began treasure hunting for shells and seaglass at a very early age. I have always been a collector and a creator. The sea is where I go no matter how I feel, and it is where I feel most connected. Everything about it's vast beauty inspires me. The way the sunlight reflects off the face of a wave, the way the seaweed dances underwater with the current, and the neverending ebb and flow of the tide. Whether it is a seashell cast in recycled metal, an up-cycled seaglass ring, or turquoise stone that reminds me of an aerial view of a reef, all of my art is in one way or another inspired by the sea. I am especially captivated by the relationship between the moon and the sea, and this is very prevalent in all my work. 

BIKINI: How did you become a jewelry designer?

ES: While I was living in Rincon, Puerto Rico, I had managed to collect way more seaglass than I could keep in my own personal collection so I taught myself to wire wrap. I began selling to friends and friends of friends and things quickly escalated. I had a strong desire to create more sustainable pieces that could be passed down from generation to generation, so once I moved to Southern California I decided to pursue metalsmithing and create jewelry full time. I feel so blessed as the whole process unfolded so naturally for me. I feel so connected when I am creating. I think this is how to figure out if you are on the right path. What I love the most about creating and designing is knowing that so many people around the world are wearing little pieces of my heart, and finding joy in them. I love this quote from Keith Haring about creating: "When it is working, you completely go into another place, you're tapping into things that are totally universal, completely beyond your ego and your own self. That's what it is all about." 

mermaid by hand

A handful of stardust and stones

BIKINI: Who are some designers/artists that inspire you?

ES: I have been really lucky to meet some of the artists and designers in person who I have been admiring for years on social media. Vanessa of Crafturday, Kirstin of Nature Bound, Corina of Wild and Free Jewelry, Janne Robinson and Marissa Quinn are all such incredible women who make pure magic. It is so important to have a strong tribe of empowering and creative women. We all feed off of each other and inspire one another to continue to pursue our passions. Jess of Stela 9 has been another huge inspiration to me over the years. Currently, I am obsessed with the designer Andrea Verdura and his sustainable fish net shoes. I have been living in them since they arrived! I am most drawn to artists and designers who embrace transparency and have a rad story behind their work.

BIKINI: How you spend your time off?

ES: When I am not at the workbench, you can find me at my local beach break, surfing a single fin or twin fin. I recently began my 200-hour yoga teacher training, so I also spend a ton of time in the yoga studio as well. When I can manage to take a few days off, I love driving up the coast to San Onofre to camp and surf with friends. I also spend a lot of time at my home by the sea with a good book and cup of coffee.

BIKINI: Traveling seems to be a big part of your life--where are some of your favorite beaches?

ES: Oh, this is a hard question! We have so many beautiful beaches here in San Diego — Sunset Cliffs is a favorite, and there are so many stunning beaches in North County. I traveled all over Southeast Asia last year, and the beaches there were something else. I rose with the sun amongst thousands of limestone islands jutting out of the emerald sea in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, and have a pretty gnarly reef tattoo from Bingin Beach in Bali. As far as surf beaches go, Playa Maderas in Nicaragua is one of my top favorites. Drake Bay in Costa Rica is hard to get to, but so worth the adventure. I am originally from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, which is such a special little beach town on the East Coast.

mermaid by hand necklace

A Mermaid By Hand necklace

BIKINI: Tell us about your hopes and dreams for Mermaid By Hand. Who would you love to see wearing your pieces?

ES: I want to grow the business sustainably and transparently, and create more time for travel and fun! I also have this dream of combining all of passions...I think it would be awesome to have a creative healing sanctuary by the sea (filled with plants, crystals, hand shaped surfboards, a yoga studio, and a fully stocked kitchen) to share with others. Kind of like an artist's retreat. I would love to see my pieces on two of my heroes, Brene Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert. I have been so inspired by both of their work. I would also have to say Julia Chaplin, world traveler and creator of the Gypset books/label, and Justina Blakeney, of The Jungalow. I'm obsessed with her book The New Bohemians (I am constantly redecorating!) I also have a girl crush on Charity Rose from The Head and The Heart. I would love to see her wearing my pieces on stage. 

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