Holding a piece of Lorena Angulo’s handmade, sterling silver earrings is an opportunity to contemplate beauty alongside strength. The forms are delicate, inspired by nature (birds, flowers, leaves) and the artist’s Mexican heritage, including Christian iconography. Yet if you close your eyes and focus on the way the metal object feels in your palm, you’ll notice a reassuring solidity.
It’s as if Angulo channels Mother Nature’s inherent duality into each earring, bracelet, ring, or necklace. And, like Mother Nature, Angulo is pretty fierce.
Now at the full-flower of mid-life, the San Antonio-based artist finds herself juggling many demands, changes, and business responsibilities at once.
“Our son went to college last year, and that was a big adjustment for us in the house,” said Angulo, who has a daughter in high school. “I’m still creating every day because I feel it is good for my soul to keep myself creative.”
Her artistic juices start flowing early in the morning, in her home studio.
“I start very early, as soon as my daughter goes to school. I get into my studio and sit in front of my computer. I check emails, my social media, etcetera. I start drawing some ideas and most of the time I just sit in my worktable and start creating jewelry without a basic idea. Most of my creations come alive at the moment I sit at my table.”
A cancer survivor, Angulo’s illness and recovery have shaped her process in recent years.
“Since going through my thyroid cancer surgery [in 2013], my energy levels are still not the same as before. This makes me not as productive sometimes, but I have learned to adapt to the new me.”
Amazingly, while she juggled family and work demands alongside self-care, Angulo found time, energy, and inspiration to design an original ring every day in 2017.
Yes, she made a new ring every day. Angulo shared each new ring on her Instagram account, to the delight of customers and fans.
“I have been part of these [artistic challenges] before, and I always had a great time. This time I took the challenge because I knew it would help me to be motivated–even on the days where my fatigue will not let me move–to get into my studio and create something.”
When asked if she has a favorite among the 2017 challenge designs, she demurred. “It is hard to choose a ring in particular because every time I think I have a favorite, a new one comes to life and takes its place.”
Angulo said she enjoyed the freedom she had to experiment with the materials for the yearlong project. For shows and exhibitions, she crafts jewelry in metal and gemstones. With the ring-a-day challenge, she experimented with food and plants. “I think that working with these types of materials lets you be more creative. The important factor in this challenge is to be open to create with whatever you can find, to not put limitations on your creativity, and to learn to see beauty in everything that surrounds you.”
Whether she’s crafting intricate earrings made of sterling silver, firing a Virgin of Guadalupe-inspired pendant, or shaping bold rings (from bronze metal clay or arugula), Angulo’s primary creative inspiration remains the same: her familia.
“My family is always a great source of inspiration. They are always supporting me in all of my projects, and, when I feel a little down, they are the first ones to cheer me up. My creativity is always inspired by my Mexican heritage. It has always been like this since I started to create my artwork. Now these inspirations are stronger than ever.”
Story by Pamela Price
Lorena Angulo’s work can be seen at the San Antonio Museum of Art gift store and at Kathleen Sommers. In the spring she usually makes an appearance at the Southwest School of Art’s April Fiesta Arts Fair. And then of course there’s her online store, website, and social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram).