While living the van life with her partner in 2018, Lauren Souza spent time in beautiful and scenic locations, including California redwoods, southwest deserts and the Methow Valley.
The lifestyle gave her all the time and inspiration she needed to find a new artistic outlet.
“I had a creative void but I didn’t know what to do with it,” she said. “I came across a little bead store [in northern California] and bought some stuff and it kinda just snowballed from there.”
Now settled full-time in Winthrop, Souza is marketing her wire-wrapped bead and crystal jewelry under the name Ramble and Roam. She’s been a frequent presence at Methow Valley farmers markets and craft bazaars for several years, but is excited to make the valley her year-round home.
“I’m really excited about it, it’s given me space to actually work,” she said.
Souza said she’s always been interested in art and crafts, but hadn’t made jewelry before starting to make a few sets of earrings and necklaces for herself. She said the beads and crystals she incorporates inspire the design of her finished pieces.
“I’ve always been crafty, always wanted to do something more with it, but I just never … had the time or motivation and then living in the van out in the woods I had all the time in the world to perfect everything, she said.
Souza is particularly fond of amethyst and smoky quartz, but said she’s always collected rocks and crystals.
“My crystals I try to keep in a simple wrap because I want you to see the stone,” she said. “There’s a lot of wire wrapping out there that is very intricate and very beautiful but sometimes I feel like it takes away from the stone itself.”
Her pieces are wrapped with copper or silver-plated copper wire, and she’s starting to experiment with sterling silver wire. She also makes leather necklaces and hat bands. This winter, she plans to learn how to solder so she can make rings and other kinds of jewelry.
“I think it’s very nature-based,” she said. “I get a lot of stones that are perfectly crafted into beads, they’re still of the earth. … It’s very hard to be uninspired here.”
In her first winter in the Methow — and a week after the first big snow of the season — Souza said she’s adjusting to the changes in color and light around her.
“Since we got this big snow I’m already feeling different,” she said. “I really need to push myself to let the snow inspire me. It’s really beautiful.”
While she doesn’t use a lot of light blue colors, she’s thinking of incorporating them more, maybe with a blue lace agate.
Like many artists, Souza was limited to selling her work online in 2020 due to COVID restrictions, but for the past year, she’s been doing as many in-person shows and bazaars as she can get to.
“In person I really thrive,” she said. “I’m still blown away by the fact that people come up to my booth and fall in love with things that I make.”
For more information about Ramble and Roam, go to www.rambleandroamdesigns.com, or email email@example.com.