Shalla Wista Studio
June 27, 2014
Laura Gaines of Shalla WIsta Studio
the Kaylee Earring made "The Buffy Way"
the classic Kaylee Earring comes in various sizes
the Fish Skin Leather Wrap Bracelet with a Spike Clasp and Druzy Quartz Necklace
the Shalla WIsta Gold Spike Earring with Crystal Studs
Shalla WIsta Studio hosts an Open House twice a year
Deer Antlar Necklace WIth Austrian Crystal Leaf as worn by Happily Grey
leaving the Open House with the Agate Cuff and Druzy Quartz Necklace
Jennifer Hagler Photography
By Buffy York
The first time I met Laura Gaines was at a jewelry show seven years ago. She was representing her new line of jewelry, Shalla Wista. I thought she looked so classic in her simple white shirt that I bought the necklace and earrings she was wearing right off of her neck and ears, hoping to recreate the look. Something was lost in translation. Laura is California cool and long and tall and blonde. I am not. While I may not look like her wearing her jewelry line, I absolutely love it.
A few years later I moved to a house on a very quiet street and was very excited when not long afterwards Laura moved in next door to me. It was a neighborhood where the houses were all but stacked on top of each other and Laura and I could stand at our respective kitchen sinks and have a conversation with each other through the windows. At that point Shalla Wista Studio was housed in Laura’s upstairs guest bedroom and I loved to go over and visit with her and Kaylee, her former assistant, as they tediously hand crafted each piece of timeless yet current jewelry. The “Kaylee” earring was created out of that room. Anyone that knows me, knows that I will bust out a hoop earring for any occasion, but I especially love the Kaylee. It is a wire wrapped several times to form a hoop earring that hangs off of a French Back. I have them in gold and silver, and even though Laura lectures me about using the little rubber backs, I inevitably lose one and she always makes me a new match to my lone earring. Any other pair I would write off, but these are the greatest. I have her make them a little different for me. I like the earring to hang like a loop rather than sideways. Laura tells me that when people order the earring that way she calls it “The Buffy Way.” I love that.
Laura’s business has grown significantly since the early years and she has moved her design studio to a shopping district in Mountain Brook, Alabama, however each piece is still handcrafted by Laura and her assistants Sarah Jane and Taylor. Her line in shown exclusively in Birmingham at Regina in Gus Mayer and in over 30 retailers throughout the Southeast and Colorado. The line is featured in this month’s Southern Living, has been seen on stars such as Kate Hudson and Gennifer Goodwin and was recently worn by Fashion Mega-Blogger Mary Seng of Happily Grey.
Most of the photographs above were taken at an Open House Laura hosts twice a year in Birmingham. She offers previous years’ lines at a discounted price. Go to ShallaWista.com and sign up on her mailing list for dates and locations of her next Open House as well as current retailers. The Open House ususally occurs before Mother’s Day and Christmas for obvious reasons and is well worth the trip because her pieces are classically crafted and stand the test of time.