Lake Oswego jeweler embeds work with salmon skin, Tahitian pearls
Pamela Posada, who has traveled from her home country of Chile to Maui and now Oregon, is one of the artists participating in the city of Lake Oswego's Cultural XChange event celebrating multiculturalism. She also calls Lake Oswego home.
Through her business, Himanja, Posada sells jewelry that uses remnants of the natural environment such as salmon and snake skins, buffalo teeth and Tahitian pearls, which are gems derived from oysters.
"Anything I find that nature provides, I use it," Posada said. "I try to make people realize you can make beautiful things from nature."
Posada grew up in Chile and developed a passion for jewelry after becoming a Buddhist and making malas, which are rosaries made out of beads.
"Everyone liked it because it's different, a cool necklace. Then I started making and making," she said.
She then moved to Hawaii, where she honed her craft at Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center near Maui. Eventually she started her own studio, which closed due to the pandemic. She moved to Lake Oswego last year for medical reasons — her daughter goes to Shriners Children's Hospital.
Posada sells her jewelry online and says the transition to virtual sales has been tough. But to her, that's what makes events like the Cultural Xchange or farmers markets she's been to — including the Wednesdays in Willamette summer street market in West Linn — so valuable.
"It's complicated because jewelry, like clothes, you need to see it. You need to try it and feel connected. Online is a very cold relationship. It's different," she said. "These events are amazing for artists and the community because we have the opportunity to exchange experiences that you cannot have the same when you are online."
At the Cultural Xchange, Posada plans to discuss the process of turning salmon skin into jewelry — it involves boiling to dry it out and expunge the smell — as well as the techniques that produce the Tahitian black pearls, which come in myriad colors. She added that her process flows with her creative inspirations.
"My jewelry is unique. I never repeat any piece. Every piece is made with a lot of intention. I make it with a lot of love and people, when they see it, they feel it, like it and want to have it," she said.
Along with jewelry, Posada sells leather items like wallets and bags.
Eventually, Posada hopes to start up her own studio again and teach classes. She particularly wants to work with elderly people who may deal with arthritis and seek social interaction.
"To be able to create something and make it with your own hands, it gives you much satisfaction," she said.
To see more of Posada's work, visit her Instagram account, Himanja_designs, or the Himanja page on Facebook.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.