A Labor of Love

Santa Cruz couple Nani Lane and Aryn Hull put their creative minds to work creating BelleWoods Art, a line of beautiful handmade earrings. I instantly loved the way their pieces mixed materials, such as leather and shells or metal and unique antique detailing. Both artists at heart, Lane incorporates inspiration from her native island of Kauai, while Hull's background in stonework makes for the perfect jewelry making combination. I had the pleasure of visiting them in their Swift Street studio to learn about their creations.

What inspired you to start making jewelry?

Lane: I have always loved accessories and special fashion accents. As a little girl, I always admired my mom's beautiful earrings and wanted to learn to create my own.

Hull: I started to create jewelry as gifts for my mom and my younger sister. I would snoop through their jewelry to see what they were wearing so that I could get an idea of what to make for them. They always loved my gifts and I had fun creating them.

How did you get your start in the jewelry making business?

We were both the little kids at the craft fair selling beaded jewelry. Little did we know, 20 years later we would again be selling our creations as BelleWoods Art.

What materials do you use to make your jewelry and where do you find them?

We are always experimenting and playing with using different materials to create our jewelry. Our current collection is made up of leather in different colors and textures, fabrics, shells, stones, antique findings and metals. We are constantly on the lookout for new materials at flea markets, bead shops, the beach, Leather Wise in Santa Cruz, and anywhere we find ourselves.

How do you two collaborate when making the pieces?

Our work is a collaboration from thought to fruition. Sometimes we can’t fall asleep at night because we are bouncing ideas off each other. We have discovered each other’s strong points and learned to divide labor accordingly.

What kind of person wears your jewelry?

Most of our earrings are bold statement pieces; young confident women have most often been drawn to our designs. However, we have been working on broadening our collection to attract women of all ages and styles. Aryn has been working on some gorgeous, polished, beach fossil pendants for men and women. 

What’s one of the best moments you’ve had during your career as artists and jewelry designers?  

Oct. 31, 2011 when we met at the Cocoanut Grove costume ball while wearing our hand-made costumes.

What’s your favorite part about the business? 

Creating! The satisfaction of bringing ideas to life is one of the best feelings in the world.

Where can your earrings be found?

At BelleWoodsArt.com or contact us at bellewoodsart@hotmail.com.

Photos: Sera Michael