Woohooo! Happy Wednesday afternoon! I've been dying to make this post for a few weeks...well, it was a little idea in my head months ago so I guess the truth is I've been dying to make this post since December when I met Noelle!

My husband and I have a habit of frequenting the All Arts Market in NODA. Never been? You have to check it out on June 17th from 6-10 PM! It happens in the Neighborhood Theater on 36th Street. Tons of local artists set up tables to display all their incredible art work and hope you'll purchase some for your personal stash. Even if you don't have plans to buy anything it's a fun place to hang out and it's FREE! When you leave you'll feel artsier for having been around so many cool people. Ok, back to Noelle. She had a table set up at the All Arts Market in December. Kevin and I went to look for fun Christmas presents and after about an hour we had already perused most of the tables in the place and we ended up in the basement in this skinny hallway where everyone who walks by bootie bumps you...and we spotted Noelle's jewelry and we stopped to check it out (while everyone bootie bumped and probably wanted to punch us...I'm so glad we did it anyway). The truth is - I am not much of a jewelry lover or wearer. I usually only wear it to make myself look and feel more like an adult at important events. We had probably passed by about 15 jewelry tables without batting an eyelash before stopping at Noelle's table. There was something so unique and interesting about her jewelry. Everything on her display that day was metal...and it had been twisted and molded into incredible things. It truly felt like if you were to put some of it on you would be wearing a piece of sculpture. We ended up buying a necklace for my funky-necklace-loving mom...but in the process I got to hear all about Noelle's business and her goals for the future, one of which was to create jewelry as her full-time job and to starting doing it sometime in 2011. Well about a month ago Noelle Munoz Jewelry became Noelle's full time job and I wanted to help her celebrate by taking a few pictures of her jewelry and showing it to anyone who would look at it! So that's enough out of me! I asked Noelle a few questions about her work so that you could be as inspired as I was by her creativity and her passion! Here she Noelle:

Who are you? I have lived in Charlotte for six years but I am a Texan that was raised in Northern VA. My life is actually pretty boring. I was a wild teenager and my wonderful parent’s and I were both lucky to have survived my high school years, despite all odds I married an incredibly generous, selfless, attractive, red head from Mayberry, I kept my last name. I have one sister who has really good taste in clothes and is an awesome promoter of Noelle Muñoz Jewelry and is kind enough to be my pro bono model. My Dad is an architect and my mom is a painter so I was bound to inherit some creativity. A few random things about me…Right now I am super into bright color, I will take it any way I can get it, it just makes me happy. I am also really into getting my house fixed, I live in a 60’s ranch house so there is a lot to do. When you work from home if your house is not the way you want it, it will drive you insane! I get super excited when I get to share helpful information with people, I love meeting someone that wants to start their own business I get to encourage them and tell them about all the free resources in Charlotte- it makes me feel good.

When did you start making jewelry? I was lucky enough to find my love for jewelry making in high school, I think it was sophomore year that I took the jewelry making elective. It was a great class and I am sure quite a liability for my teacher Mrs. Morgan, with us running around with lit torches and sloshing caustic chemicals around. She was awesome because she taught us legit silver smithing technique, no clay bead making or anything like that (not that there is anything wrong with that).

Then at VCU (you might know the name from the final four this year- go rams!) I majored in fine art with a focus in furniture and jewelry design. I loved the furniture but I loved the metal even more and a lot of that was due to the fact that if you messed something up you could just melt the metal down and start over, with wood it wasn’t so easy. I also loved staring with this nothing and then working it, getting it all scratched and crusty while you are working and then it ends up something beautiful and shiny, it is so satisfying.

Out of school I didn’t want to be a jeweler, I didn’t want to be isolated in a studio or design under someone else’s name. So I went into architectural sales and landed my dream job at Knoll, a modern commercial furniture manufacturer. Pretty soon into it I realized there was little opportunity for hands on creativity and that was something I didn’t know I needed until I didn’t have it any more, so I started dreaming of owning my own business. So after 5 years of dreaming, slow planning and many hurdles I am here, with my own business. I technically became official when I incorporated this December but I left Knoll on May 13th to become a full time business owner.

What's your favorite piece of jewelry you've ever made? The Bones bracelet, it is very unique and bold and I think it is the best example of my design style. I made the Bones bracelet when I was at VCU for a contest sponsored by Swarzchild Jewelers. It took forever for the concept to come together and I was literally giving it the final polish minutes before the submissions were due. All of my class mates had finished weeks before and just sort of shook their heads at me but in the end, much to my competitors dismay, I took first place. I work best under pressure.

From what do you draw inspiration for your pieces? What are you passionate about? I get my ideas from my surroundings, mostly architecture and nature. I am constantly flipping through architectural magazines looking for elements that inspire me, I have stacks of pages I have torn out that I flip through when I have a creative drought. I love edgy, modern design but I also love southwestern design elements, I guess that comes from my Texas roots. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what style I choose to make a piece of jewelry in, just that it is authentic and different. When someone tells me my work is different, that is the best compliment.

What are you typically doing on a Saturday afternoon? Hopefully out on the lake or at the beach, but typically I spend a little time in my studio or trying to get a handle on my wreck of a house. I always try to get some quality time with my hansom husband, we usually squeeze a nap in somewhere.

Name three things you can't live without. 1. My dog, Rudy. He is really a little Tasmanian devil, always getting into some mischief but I love him and his unconditional love for me. 2. Having encouraging, creative, inspiring people around me. 3. The hope for a vacation in the future.

Tell us one personal and one business goal you have for this year? I am still trying to get things in order business wise like redoing my website, getting my work photographed, executing my marketing strategy, etc. I would really like to have all my ducks in a row by Thanksgiving and really have a killer Christmas season. Personally at the end of the year I want to be happier, I really already I am, there is nothing like taking a chance to follow your dreams.