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Date: November 26, 2018Posted by: Marionette Martinez

From time to time we feature children of our alumnae who have made a name for themselves in their chosen field of endeavor. In this issue, we feature Tara Magboo, daughter of Mildred Dominguez-Magboo (High School 1965), who makes fashion jewelry and has recently been interviewed by the San Diego Voyager Magazine.

Adorable Mayhem
Today we’d like to introduce you to Tara Magboo.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?

Interestingly enough, dreams of working with metal did not enter my mind early on. In fact, I fell into jewelry making quite by accident! I went to undergraduate school at The Rhode Island School of Design and wanted to focus on Illustration. My primary love at the time was drawing and painting and therefore, never considered other areas of focus. Later on, in my junior year of college, I took an Introduction to Jewelry Making course because I didn’t get into a popular Illustration class and needed to fill out-of-major credit.

I never dreamed that this course I took by chance would change the direction of my career. I absolutely loved the jewelry class because I enjoyed working on an intimate scale, the methodical fabrication process, and working with fire!

After I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, I’ve been working in the jewelry industry ever since. In addition, I also completed my Master of Fine Arts degree in Jewelry and Metalsmithing at San Diego State University.

Please tell us about your art.

As artists, we tend to juggle multiple jobs. I teach jewelry classes, I run my jewelry business and work for other jewelry companies. It is, by no means, the easiest profession to pursue, however, I can’t imagine doing anything else. There is nothing that is as gratifying or fulfilling to me as being a maker. Despite the challenges, it is a good feeling to know that I’m pursuing the path that I know is meant for me.

In terms of my jewelry line, Adorable Mayhem, I am mainly inspired by memories from my childhood as well as Japanese craft and popular culture. These are things that have brought me joy in my life, and I hope to impart that same happiness to people that buy my jewelry. Some pieces are sweet, others are funny, and some even have a dark twist to them. For example, I make a little blue bird ring that is sweet and precious, yet I also make another piece of jewelry that features a fox smiling slyly while smoking a cigarette.

The other equally important aspect of my work is its craftsmanship. The care taken in the making of Japanese craft truly inspired me to take great care in the fabrication of my own jewelry work. I make all the work by hand and detail all the jewelry under a microscope.

I love carving facial expressions or tiny paws of animals! I also make the majority of the findings such as necklace clasps and earring wires by hand. It’s little details like these that make the work more special and unique.
As far as materials, I work in both recycled, tarnish-resistant silver and ancient bronze. Very soon, I will be adding fine jewelry pieces! Stay tuned!

Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?

Jewelry, as with other craft areas, is ever-evolving as technology advances. It’s important to be flexible and open to new ways of working in addition to developing traditional techniques. For example, I never thought I would be using a microscope or welding with a laser in jewelry fabrication. Honestly, I was, at first, resistant to using advanced tools. Now, I can’t even imagine fabricating my work without these instruments because it has greatly expanded what I can do and has made me a much better jeweler.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?

The main show that I exhibit at every year is San Diego Comic-Con International. I have been selling my Adorable Mayhem line of jewelry there for the past nine years. Anyone out there that has tickets to Comic-Con 2019 check out booth 4537!

My work can also be found online through my website as well as through other social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I’ll post images of work in progress, artwork that inspires me as well as new jewelry designs.