My work is inspired by the land in which I live and the lands of my youth. Symbols and pictoglyps of the southwest or Far East are embedded with artifacts that were found or salvaged in my journeys. My work is infused with nature because it seeks to reveal the beauty that can only come with age. Each piece emerges from my workbench with a sense of mystery, playfulness, or empowerment.
Kalaya has a passion for making and has been a metalsmith since 2008. All of her pieces are one of a kind, made in her private studio in New Orleans. Processes include forging, fabricating, and making her own stamping tools. She uses a variety of metals, mostly silver and bronze, but also looks for other materials to play with or add conceptual weight, such as wood, plastic, and artifacts found here in New Orleans or during her travels.
Kalaya’s young adult life was spent exploring the Sonoran Desert in the southwest, and learning about her Native American and Thai roots, which led her to be fascinated with myth, talismans and amulets. Being born into a military family led her to live a nomadic life, and thus she attended three different high schools. She received her BS in Microbiology from Northwestern State University in Louisiana. In 1992 New Orleans claimed her as her own. She studied at Delgado Community College in Fine Arts under Margo Manning, apprenticed with local artist Becky Burt, as well as attended master workshops in New Orleans and at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, San Francisco.
Kalaya migrates towards making pieces that have an organic feel and her inspiration comes mostly from nature and sacred symbols.
At least once a year the winds of the desert and Mexico call her back home. So you can usually catch up with her in San Miguel de Allende eating a tamale.
Where to Buy
Work is not available for sale through the SNAG website. Please contact the artist directly to inquire about making a purchase.