Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My name is Maia and this is the blog of my jewelry shop, FEATHER + STONE.
More about that in my next post. 
But to begin with...
I was born in Woodstock, New York and grew up in a peripatetic family. We traveled from the get-go, frequently and with a fervor! Before the age of 20 I had lived in something like 15 different states and countries, including New Mexico, Utah, the South of France, and a ranch in the mountains of South Central Colorado.  For us, wandering was a lifestyle choice. 
 I grew up in a family of artists, jewelers, poets and inventors. My father, a prodigy who began his career as a muralist for the WPA in his teens (some of his early murals still grace government buildings throughout the Western US), moved to Woodstock from Colorado in the 1950s. His works have shown at the Whitney, MoMA, the Met and all over the world. In Woodstock, he was a painter, sculptor and even designed and built our house, which had hand-carved openwork doors and beautiful, swooping butterfly roofs. In his free time he was also a beautiful flamenco guitarist and folksinger who jammed with the likes of Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger. My (much younger) mother, born in Holland and raised in France during her childhood, moved to Woodstock with her family during WWII. She was a writer, a poet, and a fine jeweler (I have her to thank for my background in jewelry making and design! Yes, I learned from the best), and later in life studied Art at Yale and became an award-winning wildlife painter (you can see her work at )

 My mother and father were adventurers and road trippers from the start - here she is early in their romance with the MG in which they traveled the backroads of the West. Pup tent in the background, cow skulls strapped to the back of the car, along with my father's guitar. Now THAT'S what I call camping!
My mother, by the way, is still a great adventurer, hiker, fly fisherman and world traveler who has been the best inspiration that any daughter could hope to have. I am profoundly grateful to be related to her and to have her as an example of how to live a full life with grace, integrity and all sorts of panache.
 Later, while traveling through Europe, we acquired a British LandRover which we shipped back to the US and used as our camping vehicle for many years. 
Moab has been, and still is, a big part of my life. We camped there when I was a child (that's me in front of the ladder and my mum behind) and my family and I hike, bike and camp there still.
 Meanwhile, back at the ranch...we spent the summers of my childhood on a cattle ranch we owned on a mountainside outside of the tiny town of Cotopaxi, Colorado. I got to ride horses, hike in the mountains, catch snakes, befriend coyotes, tame tarantulas, chase waterbugs, make mudpies, rescue prairie dogs, and generally live a life in the great outdoors until we returned to Woodstock or Taos for the winters. 
 My family was always artistic and we spent a lot of time sketching in the beautiful meadows and aspen groves of our remote mountainside, far from civilization. 
 My grandfather, Dutch inventor and engineer JC "Jack" Van Rijn, out of his element in the mountains of Colorado, but still working on his calculations! 
 We lived in a cabin built by the original settlers of the area, which we renovated only minimally. Most of it was left as is, including newspapers from the 1800s that papered the walls of the stairway, and the dirt they used to insulate the walls, which would come trickling out every time you hammered in a nail. We had no electricity, no plumbing, carried our water in from an outdoor well, heated a tin tub at bathtime, and used a kerosene lamp over the kitchen table in the evenings to read or play scrabble. My mother cooked on a beautiful (original) woodstove and baked bread in its oven. We used other stoves like this upright one for heat.
 Local ranchers ran cattle on our property and we got to ride the fences and ride heard with them. 
 My friends and I entertained ourselves with horseback games, of which we invented many. That's me jumping bareback on my little Arabian, Samsi. 

And finally, this gorgeous image of my mother cooking on the woodstove. She liked to look up pioneer recipes and experiment with wild plants like nettles and cattails. But her homemade bread was the best thing in the world. 


  1. Wonderful introduction, Maia! Looking forward to admiring your beautiful creations here...

  2. Outstanding Maia! Beautiful introduction to another outstanding blog! I love everything about it, the beauty of your parents the rugged outdoors and the yearning always to move. The jewelry is exquisite.

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback, Yoli! I really appreciate it. And thank you for the kind words!

  3. Dear Maia,
    I just realize today that you opened this new space. This a wonderful and very moving introduction.
    And your jewels are beautiful (I am especially found of the glass beads,and brass beads, and ... well all of them!).
    You are awesome, with so many talents.