Silversmith and jewelry designer Lawrence Baca, a lifelong resident of Santa Fe, draws inspiration for his beaded necklaces, pendants and earrings from the Spanish and Native American cultures around him. His abiding commitment to creating unique crafts reflecting the love he feels for his environment and his passion for the materials of his trade was recognized in 2015 by the Spanish Colonial Arts Society with its Masters Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Pieces from Baca’s extensive jewelry collection, made from silver and gold and adorned with a variety of gems and stones, are featured in his upcoming solo show “The Dynamics of Love and Jewelry Design” at Sorrel Sky Gallery. The show opens on February 3 during the First Friday Art Walk. Baca will be on hand to talk about his work during the 5-7:30 p.m. opening reception.
Baca is especially delighted to showcase his brightly colored car heart pendants, which he and woodcarver Ron Archuleta Rodriguez designed together close to a decade ago. “The hearts are carved out of wood and covered with layers (10 to 15) of high quality car paint,” says Baca, who has always admired the color schemes on lowrider cars. “We stopped making them for a while, and then I revived the idea about three years ago.” Baca is now working with Carlos Montoya, who has a car body shop in Galisteo. “Carlos came up with some special customized car colors-reds, yellows, lime greens, dark blues and golds-for the heart pendants.”
Embedded into some of the pendants is a lace-like texture that’s achieved by taking real lace and making an impression of its pattern in the metal. The heart is often surrounded by silver, gold and semi-precious stones.
Among the crosses Baca has designed for the show are several that swivel and are double-sided. “I like to use good clear stones, like moonstones, garnets and citrine, in the center so light can pass through them,” he explains.