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Laura Serino

After visiting Maine only a handful of times, Laura Serino packed up her studio apartment in New York City and headed north for "the way life should be." After a summer on North Haven island, she and her boyfriend, a Maine native, settled in Portland, Maine. Serino is a former magazine editor who has been published in national and regional publications. When she isn't blogging, she spends her time antiquing, scouring thrift shops, exploring new places in Maine and cozying up to her cat Jasper. She recently completed her first book, "Twentysomething Girl, 1001 Quick Tips and Tricks to Make Your Life Easier." Reach her at info@forefrontfashion.com Follow her: @ForeFrontFash

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Fore Front Fashion with Laura Serino
Posted: December 4, 2013

Hand-forged and upcycled metal jewelry by artisan Chaya Caron

I first met Chaya Caron over three years ago when I had the pleasure of stopping at her home in South Portland to see her process and jewelry up close. I’ve kept my eye on Chaya since and thought it was about time we caught up! This Thursday, December 5, she is kicking off a holiday shopping event and sale that spotlights local artists and benefits Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Southern Maine in her studio (22 Cottage Road in South Portland) . The kick-off reception will include exclusive event pricing, door prizes and a holiday raffle. There will also be treats, sweets and cocktails from event sponsors Downeast Beverage, Flatbread and Verbena Cafe and Catering.

The last time we met was 3 years ago! Tell me what you’ve been up to since then!
It has been an exciting three years. I’ve spent the summers furthering my business at juried art shows while creating new designs and working on custom works the rest of the time. Custom wedding jewelry is one of my absolute favorite projects, and I’m excited about the growth of interest in my engagement rings and wedding bands.  I also launched a new website and logo this year and moved my business to a new location in South Portland this spring! As you can tell, it’s been busy.

Has your style evolved over the past few years or have you found that you’ve been fine-tuning your skills in metalwork?
I launched a new Nautical line this fall and have also created some new pieces in the existing lines. My work has evolved into more hollow form shapes (like my pod shapes) and reversible earrings and pendants! I like the way they look and feel, and customers respond to the “hidden” shapes on the backs.

Can you talk a bit about some of your current favorite pieces?
The pieces in the reversible collection really are my current favorite.  The pendants and earrings feature combinations such as my Peace Lotus on one side and either the Stacking Stones or Om on the other. In honor of Maine, I created a pendant with a sailboat on one side and an anchor on the other. My biggest hit this year has been the new dove chain. I make it in two finishes (matte and shiny), and the clasp is a bird–it’s fun because it works beautifully alone or can be paired with any of my pendants.

Tell us a little bit about the holiday shopping event and the benefit for BBBS.
I have been donating work to fundraisers for local non-profits that help children for years, so when I did my first art benefit in 2010 with two other artists, we honed in on Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Southern Maine. After a wonderful and informative meeting with Sam Beal, the executive director, we were thrilled with our choice. He has built a solid support network of volunteers that has helped hundreds of children, and all of BBBS’ funding is private, so that’s quite an accomplishment. Since our event, RISE to the Occasion, which featured over 24 artists and raised more than $500, I have been doing small studio benefit events each year and donating jewelry to the art auction annually. My new space has more room, so it seemed like a great time to expand my efforts and involve other artists. Our event kicks off on Thursday evening (5-9 p.m.) and will run through December 23. I’m thrilled that 11 artists will be offering a wide variety of locally made art, including jewelry, home decor, clothing, cards, and photography. Prices range from $5 to $500, so there really is something for everyone on your list!

What do you plan on giving this holiday season? Besides your own jewelry!
I do often give my jewelry as gifts, and I’m honored that people appreciate it. But I also try to shop locally and support other craftspeople. This year, I have a stash of handcrafted items I found in Mexico this spring for family members.

Don’t miss out on stopping by Chaya’s studio throughout the month of December. A percentage of every purchase made until December 23 will go towards Big Brothers Big Sisters.

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