Looking back, it seems like maybe Marisa Haskell was destined for the world of dangly necklaces and geometric earrings. She grew up in artsy Santa Barbara with an antique-dealing dad who specialized in Native American and pre-Columbian jewelry, and Marisa made her first piece at the age of 14 using leather tanned by her own grandmother (which is just a little different than most kids’ after-school activities). She went on to study art history at UC Berkeley but got sucked into the jewelry realm after a few designs she’d made sold out at an art show, which made her realize that, hey, this might just be her form.
“I get a lot of inspiration from looking back at antique tribal jewelry and accessories—there are so many shapes and symbols, like crescents and arrows, that have stayed stylish throughout time,” she says. That’s a theme that she draws on when discussing her decision to stay in Oakland, which has gone from a charming-but-recession-hit area to one that’s teeming with small businesses in the five years since she set up shop in Temescal Alley, where her store is now a neighborhood fixture and a hub for like-minded designers. “I’ve thought about moving somewhere else, but Oakland has a very specific culture that supports what I do,” she explains. “Longtime residents have more local pride than anywhere else I’ve been. People are just endlessly stoked on supporting local artists.”
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