THE ART OF CREATING A LIFE YOU LOVE

From Forest Floor to Fingertips
by: Penelope
● June 14, 2024

Sunlight streams through the window of Christen Delaney’s studio, illuminating a workspace that feels less like a workshop and more like an extension of the natural world itself. An overflow of pebbles, rocks, semi-precious stones, and gold pieces reflecting the colors of a sunrise. Wooden work tables are adorned with sketches and ideas that capture the intricate balance of life.

Here, amidst the whisper of nature, Christen translates her love for the outdoors into exquisite, wearable art.

“I defiantly design pieces that I find interesting to create”, she explains, with a naughty smile gracing her angelic, sun kissed features. “I feel like my client is someone who is interested in the ‘process’ of it; the pieces they acquire or collect in their life always have a story to tell. I like to believe that people who like the fine arts are also the ones who love the art I create.” She added, “They care about craftsmanship, longevity, and could energetically tell when a certain piece is created with the best intentions.”

Made of pebbles, rocks, mother of pearls, pearls, solid gold, and precious stones – all these pieces were crafted by hand. Came to life from Christen’s vivid desire to create pieces that inspire. Unapologetically hers.
Christen isn’t just a creator; she’s a storyteller. Each piece she makes for CAM Studio whispers a tale – the texture of a weathered rock transformed into a pendant; the shimmer of sunlight captured in a golden nugget necklace. Her signature style is a celebration of the organic, a testament to the beauty found in imperfection. Just as nature thrives on diversity, her jewelry embraces the unique characteristics of each gemstone, each piece a one-of-a-kind expression of nature’s artistry, crafted and transformed into a unique piece that will be cherished for a lifetime.But her passions extend far beyond the realm of design. Christen is a mother, and her love for her children further fuels her creative spirit. “I’ve always just brought them out in nature,” she says, her eyes twinkling. “It hasn’t always been easy, but every time we go for an adventure, it gets easier than before. Now, driving for ten hours to go camping is normal for them. I find that when this becomes a norm for the kids, they find so many things to do. They can make an adventure and a game out of absolutely anything!” She laughingly shared. “I am very glad that I introduced them to the outdoors early on, it has instilled in them a spirit of adventure, resilience, and a great respect for nature.”

Instead of being hindered by having a family, her children helped shape the way she does business and the way she creates.  Since her time is now limited, Christen has figured out a way to design and create more efficiently. With her and her husband’s schedules and activities revolving around their kids’ time, the challenge to explore ways to involve them in what she does and still bring creativity in, is a constant.

“My girls love that I am ‘a maker,’ as they call it. For most of their lives we haven’t had a sitter, so they’ve often come to work with me. My youngest would often wear a little unicorn leash (because she liked to walk on her own) and go from vendor to vendor with me in downtown LA. I love showing them what I do. I also love demonstrating that what I do is flexible so I can either bring them or be there for them more often than if I worked a 9-5. They also help me find river stones for some of the work I create. I love integrating them into as much of the creative process as I can.”  Christen muses as she knows she has found a win/win! Certainly an achievement for a woman who, with all of her accomplishments as a designer, considers her children and being their mom as her greatest achievement in life.

Her journey towards creating the life she loves started at a young age. She has always been called by her love of art. From cutting up fabrics, to making clothing, to hand molding ceramics, her life has always been immersed in the art universe. Further enhancing her craft, she studied installation art in school and expanded to creating large scale mixed media pieces made of wood and metals.  

“Art for me is just the expression with which my brain communicates. I always have a need to create with my hands. Even if I am just doing simple crafting, creating is a NEED in my life.”

Though the process has not always been easy, through moments of doubt, sacrifices, trial and error, and the constant push and pull between following her inner calling and fulfilling her dreams – she has finally found her balance. After 15 years of making jewelry, she is finally in a place where she does not have to create for a showroom or follow a seasonal industry schedule. Instead, she can follow her own voice and what she desires to create. A lot of this balance is a result of her affinity with nature.

Although she does find nature inspiring, she mainly uses it to regulate and manage her nervous system. Aside from recharging her mind, body, and spirit – nature allows her to keep on going and sustain her in life.

“I use it in that same way for my kids. The older I get and the more challenging the world, I noticed how much more time I need to spend outside. There is so much inspiration available outside. You also realize how small you are in this whole puzzle of the world. I feel that’s been important for me to remember that while you’re an important piece, the world is so much larger.”

Today, Christen embodies the essence of living a life well-crafted. She has carved out a space where motherhood and artistry coexist, where she can nurture both her children and her creative spirit. Her work isn’t just about adornment; it’s a testament to the power of passion, a reminder that we can create the life we dream of one inspired piece at a time.

Furthermore, as a woman in this industry, she has thrived by meeting designers and industry movers who are both amazing women and mothers. Instead of competing, they have formed a community that lifts each other up. All these women create different things and receive different inspirations for their work, but all of them share the same challenges in the highly competitive jewelry industry. She further reiterates that “it’s been a really inspiring community to be a part of and that’s one of my favorite aspects of the job.” However, she also has this reminder to herself and perhaps advice for those wanting to start in the same business: “I do feel like you must be careful to not compare and get caught up trying to keep up with others. What you make should feel authentic to you. There is so much jewelry available these days so having your own confident voice is important. Don’t try to sell to everyone. You should create art that isn’t everyone’s ‘cup of tea.’”

So, the next time you slip on a piece of CAM Studio, remember that it’s more than just an accessory. It’s a tiny piece of nature, a reminder to reconnect with the world around us, and a testament to the powerful beauty of a life created with passion and purpose.

“I love the speed of my business right now. I feel like I can create works of art that feel good to me and resonate with enough people that I am able to make a business out of it. I like keeping things small these days. I’ve done the big business thing and I feel like it doesn’t align with my personality or how I work. Instead, I like being able to change my aesthetic as I stay true to my inspiration. If you’re too big that becomes really challenging. I see the future of CAM Studio as more of an art brand. Continuing with high end materials that are ethically sourced and following the non-linear nature of inspiration.”

Christen Delaney
Founder, designer, creator
CAM Studio

https://www.cam-jewelry.com/
@camstudio.love on IG

K.I.T (keep in touch)

(because we make kits, DUH)

ABOUT THE WRITER…

Penelope

Unicorn whisperer, miracle believer, and master connector of people and ideas for the greater good. Behind every success, there’s a friend like Pen. With kaleidoscope color-changing hair, Pen is a total MOOD with an eclectic flair for fashion, jewelry, and design. A lover, a traveler, and a happy, smiley wanderer. With her, shopping addictions are enabled and totally justified, so consider yourself warned. Always ready to embark on a wild adventure with friends (both furry and human) and family, Pen will literally work for food and look aesthetically pleasing doing it.

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