Submitted photo by Jill Stokesberry
The desire to take a risk is often a defining quality of an artist. Pablo Picasso described it as “always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”
For Manzanita musician and jeweler Lucy Barna, that meant moving away from all she had known to make a home on the North Oregon Coast.
Barna, along with her twin 8-year-old sons, made the move to Manzanita from New Mexico in November 2015. Already an established singer-songwriter and prolific jewelry artist in the Southwest, Barna found herself drawn to the Oregon Coast after several visits.
“Honestly, I was just walking down the street here, and I got a hit: ‘I am going to live here.’” she says.
Barna decided to return home and mull the move over, thinking it might be just a crazy impulse. After a year passed, the desire hadn’t faded, and Barna decided it was the universe’s way of telling her what she needed to do.
“When I’d visited, I’d played a couple of shows and brought my jewelry to a few places,” she says. “Things seemed to be lining up. Really, it was just a leap of faith.”
As a musician, Barna draws from influences such as James Taylor and Joni Mitchell — music from the 1970s that her father introduced her to as a child.
While Barna describes her style as Americana, she says writing and hearing original music is her favorite, no matter what the genre. Though she has no formal musical training, Barna learned songwriting and guitar techniques while living in San Francisco.
After settling in New Mexico, she helped form the trio Hot Honey, which was awarded three top awards in the local music scene by the Santa Fe Reporter’s annual Best of Santa Fe issue, including the title of Best New Band 2013.
So far, Barna’s only gig in her new North Coast home has been at the San Dune Pub in Manzanita, though she is eager to explore other area venues as she becomes established. For now, however, music has taken a back seat to her thriving jewelry business.
That doesn’t mean her music has been abandoned; Barna says she feels she is close to getting back into what she calls a “song-writing groove.”
Still, it’s easy to see why her focus has become largely her jewelry work. “Since I’ve moved up here I haven’t done much music because the jewelry is my life blood,” Barna says.
Barna was first introduced to jewelry design through college coursework and the vibrant New Mexico jewelry scene. Though that exposure influenced Barna initially, her move to Oregon allowed her to focus on a more contemporary style.
“In New Mexico, the designs are really traditional,’” she says. “It’s nice being here on the West Coast where there’s more interest in design.”
Her jewelry business is called Votive: Handcrafted Elemental Jewelry. A lot of Barna’s work is influenced by sacred geometry and natural patterns like water and wave designs. Locally, her work can be seen at RiverSea Gallery in Astoria and The Beehive in Nehalem.
All of Barna’s pieces are handcrafted in her tiny home studio in Manzanita, something that allows her the ability to spend time with her kids.
Balancing her talents and passions with motherhood is always a challenge, but Barna calls being a parent her number one job. “It’s hard. I was a single mom most of their lives, but you just get used to it,” she says.
As she looks to expand her creative repertoire, Barna is satisfied she can make all of her endeavors succeed.
“When you get your creative outlet going, it really energizes you, especially if you’re doing it in the right way,” she says.