By Maria Wyllie Explorebigsky.com Editorial Assistant

BOZEMAN – Inspired by her journey through life, Stacie Smith creates jewelry and paintings, each piece telling a different tale.

Smith used to see her work as separate pieces of art, but she now realizes they feed off each other, representing a personal dialogue in which she examines her own experiences.

“I think of my work as telling a story,” Smith said. “Sometimes it’s my own, and sometimes it’s how people are affecting my life.”

Due to their visual nature, Smith’s paintings tell these stories, and this year, she’s sharing them by creating a monthly painting, each based on a different person in her life.

“It’s a definite allegory,” she said.

Smith’s jewelry is characterized by silver, copper and brass mediums, and recently, she’s been adding color with patina, a tarnish created by various chemical reactions. She sees her jewelry as funky and elegant while also having depth and breadth.

Considered wearable sculpture, Smith crafts each piece of jewelry by hand. “They are one of a kind,” she said. “I never want to have a production line where people are working for me.”

Smith also does special orders. She prefers to work individually with clients, helping them design special and unique pieces.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in fine art with a concentration in sculpture and photography from the University of New Mexico in 1992, Smith worked as a photographer and metal smith in Taos. Five years later, she decided to get her master’s in art education.

Smith eventually found her way to Bozeman High School, where she has been teaching art for the past twelve years.

Although she no longer practices photography, Smith said that experience plays a definite role in her current work, helping with composition and lighting.

Stacie Smith’s work can be purchased online and at Theory, Oh Suzanna’s, and the Emerson Visual Arts Center in Bozeman. Visit staciesmithdesigns.com for more information.