Metaalia Jewelry

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Meet the Artist


  • About This Artist

    Aalia Mujtaba is a Pakistani-American artist creating gender-neutral jewelry and accessories. Inspired by paisley patterns in South Asian textiles and geometric glaze work on Mesoamerican pottery, she combines the two in her jewelry to explore ideas of human connection, belonging, and identity. Aalia uses traditional metalsmithing materials and techniques but has recently experimented with laser cutting and 3D printing.

  • Q&A With This Artist

    A: Drawing is central to my jewelry-making process. I complete multiple drafts and make minute tweaks to the angle of a line or the scale of a shape to harmonize a design before I even touch the metal. I design best under constraints and limit my palette to metals, semi-precious stones, and negative space. I love my handsaw and find piercing a therapeutic act, but as demand has put certain pieces into production, I’ve sought out technologies like water jet and laser cutting.

    A: Jewelry delivers a powerful message about the person wearing it and I first fell in love with it as a way to communicate individuality. The scale and function of jewelry appeals to my need for control and constraints. But the real joy is in the process -- watching solder run around a seam and filing the perfect beveled edge so that half millimeter of metal glints in the light.

    A: It has been important to me that through my work I sustain other small businesses, local and regional. As such, 85% of my gemstones, metals, tools, and processes such as cutting and casting technology, I purchase or contract from Georgia-based companies.

    A: In 2001, I went to Penland School of Craft for a Fall Concentration in the small metals studio. The experience was life changing and the album on repeat (in my portable CD player) was Bjork's Vespertine. The music was so layered and intricate -- it was a great match to the tiny detailed work of a jeweler. I will always associate that album with the magic of Penland and uncovering my life path.

    A: My mother is a woodworker and I've had the privilege of experiencing her growth as an artist for four decades. Watching her designs develop from sketch to finished piece, attending deliveries of her furniture to clients homes, and witnessing their delight in how her unique perspective and skill brought beauty to their lives taught me early lessons in process, patience, design, and human connection.



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