Maker: Mikayla of All Goods From the Woods
I have this piece of driftwood on my kitchen sink ledge that my kids gave me. We collected rock and shells one day at the lake, and they glued on the pieces they found to spell Love and gave it to me for my birthday. I have a feeling its one of those things that I will never throw away. Not only because they made it for me, but because its made from wood and stone and shells, and I’ve always been drawn to things like that. Mikayla has a passion for taking things from nature and making them into wearable, lasting art. And I think it’s all pretty darn amazing! Meet Mikayla of All Good From the Woods, and check out her naturalistic designs!
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Mikayla. I am an artist and all around extremophile. I grew up in Orange County and fled to the San Bernardino Mountains as soon as I was of age, and have resided there ever since. Though I have a house and have spent many years in Big Bear, I can hardly call it my “home”. My husband and I travel 9 months out of the year, joyously immersing ourselves into the influence of nature.
What do you make or do?
I handcraft wild jewelry using nothing but the “forest finds” I personally have harvested. Having lived off the wild land for nearly a decade, I am very much in tune with natures requests and boundaries. As the seasons change, so does my jewelry. My forest finds consist of lichen, foraged mushrooms, moss, seasonal blooms, a wide variety of wildlife sheds, insects/wings, claws, locally mined crystals, chrysocolla, amazonite, twigs, alder cones, bones and fossils. I use many different mediums to create jewelry out of these findings such as casting fine silver, glass, woodworking, to simple focal point crystal pendants. My intention is to honor the woods with all and embrace bliss along the journey.
Where can we find your creations?
You can find my things at www.AllGoodsFromTheWoods.com
Is there an interesting story behind the name of your business?
When I first started my business, my name was Native Creations Company. “All Goods from the Woods” was just my slogan. The word “Native” had intended to be directed towards the goods I was selling, not my personal heritage. I got tired of explaining my business name over and over again to customers so I made a sign to put in my booth with just my slogan on it. “All Goods From The Woods”. It made people smile and intrigued them to see what it was that I was selling. I had such a great response, that I decided “what the heck, might as well make the slogan my name!” and so it goes.
How long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?
I started messing around with making jewelry in 2014 and officially started the business in October of 2014. I made myself and Etsy account, and signed up for my very first Local Farmers Market in April of 2015. What began as a hobby quickly grew into a legitimate business. I quit my day job last April, and this last year has proven to be a success! I am thrilled that I can dedicate 100% of my time to something I am so passionate about.
When you’re not making things, what do you do?
When I am not creating, I am experiencing the great outdoors. Everything from exploring to foraging, mining, hiking, skiing, wandering, collecting and gathering.
Is creativity a luxury or a necessity for you?
I have never thought of creativity in the category of luxury or necessity, just something that flows freely and I choose to embrace it!
What obstacles have you had to overcome to lead a creative life?
From the time I was a teenager, I knew the typical Monday-Friday / 9-5 would never work for me. Money has never been my primary focus. Sure you need it to pay bills and live a comfortable life, but how much do you really need and at what cost? My time and how I spend it has always been my main focus. Living a simple / minimalist lifestyle, I don’t need to make a six figure income to be comfortable. Modern society is every artists obstacle. It’s up to you to create your own reality and break the mold. As long as you are confident in yourself, the fear and risks fade away.
Did someone in your family, a friend or teacher introduce you to your creative side or have they helped you along the way?
I grew up in a musical family, so creativity and individuality were heavily encouraged. As a child, we went camping often and valued our time together outside of the city. My dad is skilled and meticulous when it comes to building, fixing, or creating anything with his two hands. My mom is the ultimate “people person” typical Italian, not a single shy cell in her body. Combine the two and you’ve got an artist who isn’t afraid to share their goods with the world! My parents even let me do independent study in high school which taught me self-discipline and time-management, now being the foundation of being my own boss.
Where do you find inspiration?
Always has been and always will be nature. The ever-changing seasons, always keeping my admiration and inspiration fresh.
What’s on the horizon for you and what you do?
The art of silversmithing is fairly new to me, and extremely gratifying. I plan to integrate more handcrafted metals into all of my creations.
If money wasn’t an issue how would your life change with regards to your art?
I go down this road and ask myself this question every single day, just for the sake of being grateful. I would not change a single thing. I am right where I want to be, enjoying life to its fullest, creating, and sharing. All of which fills my heart with happiness!
What would be your perfect day off?
day off…. day off…. day off from what? life? Every day is too dang good and full of fun, why would I want a day off from that?
What inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?
Forget everyone else, never compare, and wholeheartedly believe in yourself. Think positive, dream big and manifest!
Who are the makers that inspire you?
The whole handmade community inspires me. As artists, and as people. Half of the thrill of participating in events, is meeting my fellow vendors. Some of which have turned into dear friends.