A love for Native American culture fuels the artistic expression of Joy Evans’ unique custom jewelry
Art has always been a part of Joy Evans’ life and career, but it’s her love of all things Native American that fuels the artistic expression of her unique custom jewelry.
“My father was a Cherokee and I’ve always loved the Native American culture, especially the jewelry,” Evans explains. “The silver and turquoise pieces pulled me in. Now I design and hand make pieces using a variety of metals and stones in the old Southwest Indian way.”
A self-taught silversmith/metalsmith, Evans visited museums and did a lot of research on the Indian art of jewelry-making to learn the craft. From her Spirithawk Studio at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Pickens County, Evans designs, hand hammers, shapes, stamps and files in the traditional Indian way on a stump and anvil.
“It comes to me so easily,” Evans said. “I’m always amazed at what the heart and hands can design and create from a sheet of silver or copper and stones dug from the Earth.”
Spirithawk Jewelry is sold in shops around the country, at Hagood Mill in Pickens County and online, but a large part of Evans’ work is custom orders. “I love working with my customers to create a unique piece of jewelry from an idea they have in their mind and heart.”
After 15 years as a master metalsmith, Evans is taking her passion for creative expression through jewelry-making to adults and children alike. She holds workshops for upcoming metalsmiths at her studio and at Holly Springs School of Mountain Arts. She also serves as the resident metalsmith at Hagood Mill where she demonstrates her craft the third Saturday of each month.
“I want to share my knowledge to encourage individual creative expression, and to pass on this wonderful craft,” Evans says. “From classes for girl scouts to Ladies Night Out, my workshops are a way to learn and enjoy creative fun with a few of your friends or a group.”
Metalsmithing is not the only way Evans is helping to keep traditions alive for children and adults in the Upstate. A self-taught fiddle player, Evans is a member of the Heart Strings, a bluegrass band that holds a free performance at Hagood Mill the second Saturday of each month.
“When I met my husband, he was a banjo player in a bluegrass band,” Evans explains. “I figured if I wanted to hang out with him, I’d better learn an instrument.”
Like her passion for sharing the art of metalsmithing, Evans is passing down her love of mountain music as an instructor in the Young Appalachian Musicians (YAM) program. Supported by Preserving Our Southern Appalachian Music (POSAM), YAM introduces children to Appalachian music through instruction in instruments common to the Appalachian region such as guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, autoharp, dulcimer and doghouse bass.
“It’s so rewarding to see children who, at their first lesson, didn’t know how to take a fiddle out of the case to watching them perform on stage,” Evans said.
These days, Evans and her husband hang out together a lot at Middle Ground, their property that sits on one of the ridges of the first mountains that form the Blue Wall, or the beginning of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the SC/NC border. The Cherokee called it Sah ka na ga, The Great Blue Hills of God. The couple first built a shop for Evans’ husband, White Wolf, who is an artist of museum quality primitive weapons. Her studio was built on the opposite side of the property.
“Every tree fall and nail driven has been with our hands,” Evans said. “A journey in itself.”
Interested in a custom necklace, bracelet or earrings from Spirithawk Jewelry? Call or email Joy Evans at (864) 417-7363 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet Joy Evans and see her demonstrate the art of metalsmithing at Hagood Mill Historic Site & Folklife Center in Pickens County on Saturday, September 21, from 10 am until 4 pm.
See more from Spirithawk Jewelry online at spirithawkjewelry.com.