Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jewelry Designer Gayle Ray


Asheville Jewelry Designer - Gayle Ray


The artist’s studio is central to an artist’s myth and the way that we come to understand the work of art and its meaning in society”, says Alex Gartenfeld, the deputy director and chief curator of the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami (ICA).

So as part of our continuing series, “Inside the Artist Studio” we once again seek to uncover an individual artist’s feelings and insights into their work.

This month we are interviewing fine jewelry designer Gayle Ray.

Handcrafted Fine Gemstone Jewelry by Gayle Ray

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

As a child I loved making my own paper doll clothes and my gifts to others were always something I had made. I didn’t think so much about what I wanted to do – I just always created.

Asheville Jewelry Designer - Gayle Ray

When did you first realize you wanted to be an artist?

My step mother got me a drawing and painting kit when I was about 11 and praised the work I did. That probably inspired me to continue creating.

How long does it take you to create one of your pieces?

A necklace can take about an hour to an hour and a half. Earrings are faster, it just all depends on how complex the design is.

I smile, because there is, of course, all the years that come before that teach us how to mix the right color, size and shape to create a unique piece.

What is your schedule like when you are working?

I sit for a few hours at a time and work on pieces. It’s really play for me. There are so many endless possibilities of ways to use the stones, chain, and findings – it’s fun to explore them.

What would you say is your interesting quirk while working?

I listen to books on tape sometimes or watch a movie while creating.

While creating the design, I completely focus, then in stringing, I can use my mind to focus else where. I’m careful to put things into my life that are uplifting.

Asheville Jewelry Designer - Gayle Ray

Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your artwork?

Mostly from the materials. I find beads or chain that I’ve never used before and create with them. Sometimes I see something someone else has done that sparks a creative idea.

I also think spending time in nature is soothing and inspiring. We absorb so much from looking at the beauty of a flower, color combinations in nature, textures, etc.

What do you like to do when you’re not working on your art?

I teach meditation and I work with people as an Energy Healer using the Akashic Records and Inception Point Therapy.

Both of these modalities help people to move through blocks in their lives to create better relationships, happier careers, and more peace and love in their lives.

I also take time to play with my dog, Gracie, do walks and offer service.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your art?

I don’t know that it was surprising, but I think it’s significant that I intend the energy of peace and love to be a part of each piece I create.

In meditating and choosing to stay centered, that energy goes into the pieces and is available for the wearer of each piece.


How many pieces do you think you have created?

1,000 to 2,000 at least.

Which ones were your favorites?

Over the years, my pieces have matured. I usually pick out a few each year to keep and wear. Everything I make, I would want to wear myself.

How do you decide on which ideas to develop?

I am guided by Spirit / the Divine as I create. So it’s really connecting to that Presence and letting it guide my work.

Do you hear from your fans? What kinds of things do they say?

People say they love wearing my pieces and always get compliments on them when they do.

What do you think makes good art?

For me it’s connecting inside and letting myself be guided. I have a degree in Art Education, so I’ve studied and have a certain amount of knowledge behind me, and then it’s letting go and flying.

Trusting my intuition to create something that is unique and interesting and at the same time being aware people will wear this and I want it to be sustainable.

Now that you know a bit more about Gayle, we invite you to come by the Mountain Made gallery and see her wonderful work for yourself.

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