Making a Statement

Jewelry artist Molly Avellar showcases her work and fellow artists in new store Adorn

By Lisa Leigh Connors

A small crockpot, steel wool and hammers.

These are just some of the items artist Molly Avellar uses to create one-of-a-kind pieces at her work bench inside Adorn, her new Orleans boutique.  The crockpot comes in handy for cleaning the jewelry;  the steel wool helps give her jewelry a matte finish; and the hammers create texture and natural-looking nicks. She is perhaps best known for her signature sterling-silver driftwood collection of earrings, necklaces, cuffs, and big statement rings created with moss agate. “It looks like there’s sea life inside of it,” says Avellar, who finds inspiration from the ocean, nautical world and the natural beauty on the Cape.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Avellar opened Adorn with her mother, Jenny (pictured below), who is also an artist. Located on Main Street, on the way to Nauset Beach, the shop not only features Molly’s work, but also a rotating gallery space with local artists, as well as other handcrafted items, including a skate egg case necklace with matching earrings by Boston-based Hannah Blount and handmade leather wallets by Corter Leather, based in Brewster.

“I always wanted to have my own store for my jewelry, but I love so many other things,” says Avellar. It gives my peers the opportunity to show their work. This store is never going to be stagnant. It’s always going to change. Keeping it fresh is really important.”

The Orleans native discovered her love of jewelry making during her sophomore year at Nauset Regional High School.

It was at Nauset where she picked up the basic skills of soldering, forming, finishing, stone settings and design. At the same time, Avellar also took a jewelry making class, a natural extension of the metals class, she says.

Avellar remembers thinking, “I don’t think I’m going to like making jewelry.” But she soon fell in love with the process—from finding the right stones to hammering texture on a bracelet—and has never looked back. She graduated from Nauset in 2007, later sharpened her skills at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco, and launched Molly Avellar Jewelry in the summer of 2012. The artist­— who started selling her work at local craft shows and Etsy— initially started making pieces with seaglass that she discovered on Cape beaches. She has since moved on to agates and opals to jasper and quartz. “I am looking for stones to have a natural shape and not a perfect circle,” she says. “I am looking for stones with an ocean feel.”

Avellar comes from a long line of family artisans. Her great-grandfather was well-known Cape Cod artist Vernon Smith, best known for his bas-relief wood carving and his abstract figurative work.  He studied with Charles Hawthorne, founder of the Provincetown School of Art.  Avellar’s uncle, Dan Joy, a painter and a muralist, is currently working on a mural of the former train station in downtown Orleans.

Almost every morning, Avellar can be seen walking the beach with her dog, Nala, a shepherd chow rescue from Tennessee. “I love it here, there is no place I’d rather be,” she says.  “I moved away in March of last year to Delaware for an ex-boyfriend. It was good that I did because it changed my perspective on everything. I needed to figure out what I am going to do, and this is what came of it. Sometimes it takes that life lesson. I am hoping the store will grow over the next 10 to 20 years and will allow me to live the life I want to live here.”

Adorn is located at 211 Main St., Orleans, 774-316-4245.
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