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Balance and Beauty - The Art of Michelle Hoting


 Artful Musings: The Art of Michelle Hoting
Balance and Beauty

By Maja Wood

Michelle Hoting knows how to play with balance. Some of her jewelry designs give you a sense of balance like there’s a solid rod, centered through your body, anchored into the earth. Other designs feel like your arms are stretched out on either side, the balance coming from the tension between the two extremes. And still other pieces feel like the balance you sense while riding a bike, movement and momentum being the key.

“I get my inspiration from nature,” Hoting said. “And in nature, things are rarely symmetrical yet they’re balanced.”

Take for instance, her Oak Leaf necklace. On the left, an acorn design hangs down, reminding me of a pendulum. On the right, clasped to the chain above the acorn, is an oak leaf design that hangs in such a way that it feels like it’s falling from the tree. There’s a sense of movement as well as that of balance and unity.

Hoting’s Ginko necklace is another brilliant example of how asymmetrical design instills a feeling of overall wholeness and integrity. On top of that, it’s surprisingly unique. I’ll go through long stretches of time feeling like there’s nothing new under the sun. And then suddenly, I’ll see something and wonder, “How could I have possibly never seen anything like that before?” It enough to make one giddy.

That’s how I felt during this fall’s Art Trails Open Studios event when I stopped by Hoting’s Santa Rosa studio and saw the Ginko necklace. That was the one piece I asked to try on. It’s like a cuff necklace, except the opening is in the front, and the two sides end in leaf designs, forming the focal point. While I was trying it on, I told Hoting how surprised I was that I had never come across anything quite like this reversed cuff necklace. She laughed and told me she hadn’t seen one like it either—and she’s been in the business for two decades.

“It’s kind of my thing,” she added. “I’m sure someone, somewhere has made something like this. But I haven’t seen it.” She just happened to be playing around with designs, and this one evolved organically. “I love all my babies and I don’t choose favorites. But, this is one of two designs that after I created it, I had this feeling of, ‘Wow, I did it.’ It was a sense of, I don’t know...accomplishment isn’t quite the right word, but something like that. I had been working with jewelry for 20 years, yet once I finished those pieces, that’s when I felt: ‘I got this.’”

To make an appointment to visit Hoting’s studio, call 707-791-4680