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Jewelry Blog

St.Louis-based jewelry designer Patrice Valle has compiled her Mexican-American heritage, concepts of feminine power, and vast experience as a midwife into her pieces. “I’m exploring softer colors and geometric forms against white space, as in some of the quilts I’m making now,” she explains of the pale pieces," Explained Valle.

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She spoke with STLToday about the merging of her influences, starting with her Mexican-American grandfather. “Even though I was in the show at the International Institute, I’m not an immigrant," said Valle. "My grandfather walked across the Rio Grande in the early 1920s — in water up to his neck, as he told us. He took a job others didn’t want, climbing utility poles for a Texas power company. He married in 1928, and he and my grandmother raised two daughters. He insisted they speak English in the home. He was proud to become an American citizen. My love of color, which is a primary thing for me, comes from my Mexican American heritage and from the time I spent in Panama in high school and college.” Each image she uses is a piece of her heritage from Day of the Dead, La Catrina, and a whole spectrum of bright, playful, and welcoming colors in each design.

“I’ve caught over 3,000 babies in my career,” she says concerning her time in midwifery and how it has influenced her craft. “Now I provide screening and urgent care in pregnancy.”

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 Valle's interest in crafting began early. “When I was young, I watched PBS craft shows. I learned to sew from my mother. She wouldn’t let me wear miniskirts in the 1960s, so I sewed my own, on the sly,” she says. “I’ve always made things, but I move from one craft to another. For a time, I made large papier-mâché decorative bowls, then jewelry, more sewing, quilts — I guess you could say I’m a dilettante crafter,” said Valle.

Her celebration of all things feminine and powerful includes the admiration of historical figures like Frida Kahlo. She has painted earrings with the phrase "Oh my uterus!" for women who have lost their own. “Sometimes they are relieved, other times, sad, but the feminine cycle of pain at birth, pain in our periods, pain in death — we need to honor that in each of us,” said Valle.

Information originally sourced from STL Today.