GeekCraft Expo Midwest's Spring Thing is less than two weeks away: have you RSVPed to our free, family-friendly geeky craft show March 3-4 at the Madison Masonic Center?
One exhibitor you'll see is Monina Creations, maker of custom dice jewelry, miniatures, and art! We had a chance to e-chat with proprietor Paulina Palacios to learn more about her pieces, and what she'll be bringing to the show this spring.
GeekCraft Expo: How did you become interested in jewelry making?
Paulina Palacios: It was never about just making one kind of thing. I call myself a Jane of all trades—one, because Jack has been hogging the limelight, and two, I don't care to limit myself in anyway. Because of that, I can bring my knowledge of many other things to whatever interests me at the time. It allows me to execute more nuanced pieces in whatever medium I choose.
What jewelry offered me was satisfaction in being able to make other people happy. There is a personal element in everything I make because its a reflection of what's going on in my life—different facets to what I navigate in the day to day, so my jewelry will reflect that, and it is a token way to connect with other people.
GCE: How do you develop your designs?
PP: Philosophically from what's around me. Technically and mechanically, how do I bring the best out of this idea? Gathering from different facets of my life: my Day of the Dead work reflects my heritage, my pursuit of culture and history, and who I am as a person. My dice jewelry, on the other hand, was this intention that snowballed out of control. That intention being the celebration and acknowledgment of other people's passions in creating stories and characters and memories that are independent of the day-to-day stuff. I love acquiescing to the fantasy element of that.
GCE: What’s unique about your jewelry?
PP: In regards to my D&D jewelry, I felt there was a need to have jewelry that wasn't too cheesy or wasn't subtle about the dice. I felt that there was a lack of more sophisticated pieces, styles that had a complexity to them that you would expect from fancier jewelry.
I love customizing jewelry! Whatever you want, however you need it, whatever looks best on you, I love making it just for that person. It goes both ways: whether I have a piece that somebody wants to wear in a particular way, or if I can create a piece based on whatever character, inside joke, or story the other has to give me to create a piece around it, I love either possibility.
GCE: Can you talk to us about your Day of the Dead items?
PP: With my Día de los Muertos work, I not only painstakingly paint the designs on the skulls one by one, but the designs that I bring into the piece stem from cultural nuances and regional variances that exist in Mexico. The designs will reflect the geography and climate of the places they're from.
My pieces are authentic in that they accurately depict the stylistic nuances of a region, because I reference real folkloric art. When I do I speak from a place of memory. All the pieces that I paint are from places I have been to, that I have taken the time to note the clothes that the indigenous [people] wear, the types of flowers they feature, and whether they focus on animals or plants.
GCE: What are your favorite geeky movies, TV shows, comics, or video games?
PP: The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time! Huge soft spot for that entire mythos, like many others it's my childhood. Devil May Cry solidified my passion for action, fantasy, and sci-fi themes in any medium. Borderlands means a lot to my fiancé and me, as an experience that we shared as a couple. Pan's Labyrinth, many things by Guillermo Del Toro, Labyrinth with David Bowie, anything that extends to the fantastical and gives it a real human experience in its process.
GCE: What is your favorite convention snack?
PP: Anything my fiancé packs because I am too busy thinking about crafts to think about snacks. Bring me Dr. Pepper for a discount!
GCE: What are you bringing to GeekCraft Expo Midwest this spring?
PP: I am super excited to bring back my designs from 2017 for Día de los Muertos, but more than that I have really upped the ante and developed my D&D dice jewelry. I got so involved in creating dice jewelry that I desperately needed to have access to a greater variety of dice, which turned into molding and casting my own dice.
I will have pieces that will never exist again, and pieces that I am so personally excited about that I don't want to turn them into jewelry just yet, because I am waiting for them to pick out their owner and then they can choose how best to keep this dice piece. It took a lot of time to develop the techniques behind producing my own dice jewelry.
Some of my earlier pieces I have affection for and do look homemade, but my more recent pieces have a better developed sheen, color work, and diverse inclusions that might be in each die. I can't wait to meet who goes home with these pieces. I love it when my jewelry finds a home!
Our thanks to Paulina, and her fiancé, who transcribed her answers while she was busy crafting! Be sure to stop by her space and check it out at GeekCraft Expo Midwest's Spring Thing!