We had the good fortune of connecting with Dianna Badalament and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dianna, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?
I’d like my professional legacy to be that I used art, perseverance, and, love, to help transform the lives of young women and children from survivors to dreamers and thrivers. I developed and implemented goldsmithing vocational programs and work with human trafficking and gender violence survivors in India, Nepal and Thailand. Through learning advanced skills in a revered vocation to develop economic independence, these strong, young women were able to express and heal their trauma, gain empowerment, and become changemakers in their own communities. Now, while operating my own jewelry business, I work to help survivors locally with the dynamic, survivor-led not-for-profit, Redemption House of the Bay Area. The goal is to continue to support survivors on their healing journey, tap into their inherent potential and live meaningful and fulfilling lives. It is so much easier than most people think to pass along a skill or knowledge to someone else that imbues a sense of purpose. I hope to be an example through action for my daughter to learn from.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My work is inspired by nature and the wonder nature stimulates in our souls. All of my collections have mythological names as ancient mythological stories and deities always inspired me to connect with our natural world. I was luckily blessed with one of those ancient names, and, as a child it drove me to read those stories and envision embodying some natural element: the moon, calm seas, rain clouds, being born from the ocean, etc. Growing up next to the water solidified that connection. I use some unusual and less typical gemstones and cuts and organic elements in my metal fabrication and design. I also often explore the darker side of nature and that is readily scene in my work. While I grew up on the waterways of Long Island, I also grew up right outside New York City, so that industrial element is a part of my vision, too. Lastly, I’ve tried to roll sustainability into my work as much as possible, honoring nature, by using green practices in my studio and recycled metals and materials whenever possible.
Being a professional goldsmith is very difficult, and I think most who practice this craft would agree. It takes a long time to hone skills, the marketplace is crowded, not only with other handmade and handcrafted work, but computer generated designs, and, mass produced jewelry. A way to overcome these challenges is to develop a unique look or mastery of a metalsmithing technique to really standout. My favorite compliment is when someone will say, “Wow, that is really beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
When you marry all of these components together I think you get meaningful, eclectic mix of socially and environmentally-conscious jewelry fabricated using classical metalsmithing techniques. Visually, my talismans have the universal appeal of nature-based elements with a dark edge and precious materials used in a funky and unique way. Their story is tied to empowering sentiments of ancient, mythological deities. It is imaginative work that is as unique, complex, beautiful and inspiring, as the wearer.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There is so much to do around Healdsburg, in Sonoma County Wine Country, for visitors. The food and wine experiences are endless for a small town, and always growing. A great day would start at the Healdsburg Farmer’s Market or The Parish Café for breakfast, shopping at the unique boutiques downtown, like beautifully curated Gallery Lulo for unique jewelry, and, The Lucky Heron for creative gift-giving. Then, time out in nature kayaking or taking a dunk in the Russian River, playing bocce while winetasting at Seghesio Winery and Comstock Wines. Winding down the day with dinner at The Matheson for a masterful culinary experience and perusing the incredible wine wall, and, finishing with live music at The Elephant in the Room. We also love gathering those Farmer’s Market goodies and Elevate Wines’ crisp and bright Vermentino and rich Grenache and bringing them out to Bodega Bay to picnic on the beach and beat the heat.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to “shout out” my husband, Jeff, who has unconditionally championed me to follow my dreams; both in my goldsmithing pursuits, and then again, working abroad for years living in really harsh environments. He has my back in the most difficult of times, like when the NGO gets really hard emotionally and mentally, and, most recently, with my battle with cancer. He is my rock.
Other: email: firstname.lastname@example.org
1) 22 Frames Photography 2) 22 Frames Photography 3) John Berger 4) John Berger