My goal is to blur the lines between the creator, the jewelry, and the wearer. I know I have succeeded when the wearer says, “It feels like a part of me."
I design and hand fabricate every piece from silver and brass. Usually, the silver is there to support the brass as a centerpiece. The process continues with the wearer, as their unique body chemistry, environments, habits, and preferences continue to change the piece over time.
I want my jewelry to be something you reach for when you crave something tactile. Imbued with your power, your essence, take my jewelry with you on your journey until your last days. Then pass it on to the next wearer, heavier now with the essence of the life you lived.
About the Artist
I’m Maleeha, the owner, designer, and maker of Maleeha Jewelry.
I have always been a maker. In the early days it was scraps of fabric, found objects, and safety pins to adorn my backpack while listening to Harry Potter on tape. (fr, on tape. Goblet of Fire was 12 cassettes.)
When I was a young teenager, my family moved from Dearborn, MI to Beirut, Lebanon. The rich history of the land and the pride my resilient people take in it made a lasting impact. Standing in a bazaar that people have been trading in for thousands of years and over several empires, tromping around along the Mediterranean, finding shards of pottery in Roman aqueducts, and discussing my family tree that has been followed closely for dozens of generations (a massive privilege that I don’t take lightly) are all experiences I hold very close to my heart. These are the places where some of the current themes of my jewelry began to form.
The Islamic Golden Age became particularly interesting to me, scientists and philosophers translating and saving the knowledge of previous empires because The Quran valued the seeking of knowledge and the development of science. This was in stark contrast to the Islamophobia of post-9/11 USA.
Devastatingly, in 2006 Lebanon became unstable. I am privileged to have been able to leave at all, let alone in one piece.
Back in the USA, another element began to enter my aesthetic. I’d drive around the Ford Rouge steel plant and marvel at the massive structures, the thrilling buzz of the power plant, the impossibly blue flame that roared over my favorite smokestack. I was drawn to Detroit’s dark, industrial nightclubs where I discovered the magic of dancing as meditation… and where I could just be a freak lol
I received a BA in fine art at Western Michigan University, where I spent a lot of time in the jewelry studio. After graduating, I did all sorts of things to make money. I was a cook, a substitute teacher, an assistant at a flower shop, a nomadic barista at music festivals, a landlord, a secretary, a jewelry polisher, a repair jeweler, an antique arms repair technician, a server, a caregiver… I’m sure I’m forgetting some. All the while collecting tools and building out my own jewelry studio.
I finally took the plunge in late 2019, regrouped over lockdown, and began showing my jewelry at art shows in 2021. I wouldn’t be where I am without the support of friends and family, and the privileges of time, space, and therapy. Every day is more magical and serendipitous than the last.
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