Like many artists, Alina (Ali) Holmes can trace her love of artful creations as far back as early childhood. Even as a preschooler, she knew she wanted to be an artist. While attending Sakai Elementary during the 5th grade, Ali, her twin sister, Joli, and two of their friends began making jewelry, which they sold at the local farmer’s market under the business name of “Krafty Kids.”
During high school and part of college, Ali worked at Beads of Bainbridge, while also continuing to create her jewelry line. It wasn’t just about making extra money though, it was a passion, one that helped her through the financial needs of her college education. She attended Whitman, graduating with her BA in 2016, then going on to obtain her master’s in teaching from Western Washington University in 2020 and is currently a substitute teacher.
In her work, she strives to create simple designs with bright colors and modern patterns using high quality materials that anyone can wear to dress-up an outfit or throw on for a more casual look. Ali also strives to make jewelry for everyone, creating pieces that fit a variety of lifestyles and tastes, as well as affordability.
Like so many others this past year, Ali has spent a great deal of time sitting at her computer teaching or reading through the heavy news cycle. Creating jewelry has kept her centered and given her a respite from the screen. While working on her pieces, she listens to music or her favorite podcasts, letting the weight of the world slip away and the creative juices flow.
Much of her jewelry revolves around beads, and she’s constantly reusing materials from pieces she might not have been too happy about and turning them into something new and exciting. As she describes it, “I think there is a real beauty in jewelry as a medium this way, in that it can be reused and repurposed in so many new ways!”
One of the things Ali enjoys about jewelry making are the subtleties she builds into different pieces. Her most recent creations are long silk necklaces with brass knotted into them in a loose kind of pattern. She also enjoys working with simple materials like brass beads, which allows her to introduce interesting shapes into her pieces, giving them a unique look. In addition, she creates pieces made of colorful handcrafted beads, sterling silver, gold-filled metals, and gemstones. She hopes that when someone purchases a piece, over time they discover new details she’s added that they might not have initially noticed.
When making one of her earring lines, she uses a hammered technique. By hand hammering each ring, she introduces texture, which infuses a slight asymmetry to the earrings. She says, “By creating simple pieces, I hope that people can wear them casually, for work, for running errands and feel comfortable and confident in their style. Personally, when I am teaching online, I throw on my biggest and boldest earrings to show off my style.”
Going forward, Ali would like to find a full-time teaching position in a variety of art subjects, such as jewelry making, ceramics and printmaking. An additional goal would be to eventually teach graphic novel/comics art classes, however she feels she needs to improve her illustration skills first. She would also like to invest more into her jewelry business by adding in a permanent studio area where she can work with a torch, jewelry saw and other tools to allow her to expand into different design styles.
Ali donates much of her profits to different organizations that work on social justice and antiracism around the country, such as the Okra Project, House of Tulip, and the BTFA Collective.
You can find Ali’s pieces year-round at Plum (124 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, WA) and her WildeWire Jewelry links on Facebook, Instagram, and Etsy.
OTHER ISLAND WANDERINGS:
Island Wanderings: Wendy Armstrong
Island Wanderings: Fatima Young
Island Wanderings: Gigi Godfrey
Island Wanderings: Chris Demarest
Island Wanderings: Deborah Rhee
Island Wanderings: Andy Bergh
ABOUT MARGARET MILLMORE. Margaret Millmore is a supernatural fiction author and blogger, living on Bainbridge Island with her husband, Bryan. Her first published works were flash fiction, The Welcome Home and Untitled – Luke N. Goode, which were featured on Bay Area artist, Kenny Mencher’s blog. In 2011 she published her first full length novel, since then she’s published a three book series, another novel and her current series (via Next Chapter Publishing – formerly Creativia Publishing) What Haunts Me (Ghost Killer Book 1); The Edge of the Cemetery (Ghost Killer Book 2), which was awarded the August 2016 Book of the Month award by Long and Short Reviews; and What Hunts Me (Ghost Killer Book 3). The majority of her books are set in San Francisco where she lived—previous to island life—for over 26 years. Her preferred writing genre is supernatural fiction, with the exception of her time-travel novel, The Dragonfly Door. In addition to her novels, Margaret writes a blog, called The Island Wanderer – which focuses on people, events and businesses on Bainbridge Island: https://theislandwanderer.com/blog/. All her books can be found on her website and her Amazon Author page.