Monica Squitieri is a painter and metalsmith currently living in Santa Monica. She began doing art because both her parents are artists who always encouraged her to stay true to herself and never stop 'making'. Her jewelry line is inspired by mostly California landscapes, nature, and history as well as rock and roll icons like Neil Young. Monica tends to name her pieces after the places, people or things they are inspired by, like Steamer Lane, Rincon Rings and Cactus Spike. 

 What did you think you were going to be when you grew up? A painter or a jeweler. I was always painting and always making jewelry. I think at one time, I thought I would become a fashion designer or when I discovered nail art, I thought I'd become a nail polish "artist." I just received my masters this past December 2014 in Mental Health Counseling. I believe it's very important to find balance in your professional life, and being an artist is my balance to working in the helping profession.

 How did you begin making jewelry? I grew up on a farm where making things was just apart of the everyday routine. I was always making hair crowns out of Daffodils with my sisters, macrame with my mom, or collecting corn kernels and soaking them to string into necklaces. Working with Metal was just a natural progression. 

What do you like most about working for yourself and developing your products? The brand development just fell into place, as my line is inspired by California. Having a muse consistently around me makes for an exciting branding process.  I'm constantly planning camping trips, motorcycle trips and local getaways where I know I'll find things that will inspire my line. Working for myself is a new concept for me, but I can definitely say while it is challenging at times, the best part is having flexibility in my schedule. 

Where do you see your business going in the future? I hope my business continues to steadily grow and remain a joy. I am launching a men's line this year, and I am pretty excited about it. 

And, when are you planning on moving to Santa Cruz? We're moving up this July (if all goes accordingly) and I couldn't be happier. While I love many things about Southern California, I'm definitely missing the Redwoods!