Aura – (noun) the distinctive atmosphere or quality that seems to surround and be generated by a person, thing, or place.
If you have ever been to Louisiana, it’s hard to miss the distinctive aura that surrounds it. Whether it’s the grit coming from the swamps, the creativity bustling out of New Orleans, or the energy erupting from Baton Rouge, Louisiana is a melting pot of cultures, senses, and atmospheres. Having been born and raised in Louisiana, perhaps Nancy Price, owner and designer of Nancy Price Interior Designs, had a piece of that aura surrounding her from the moment she was born. This piece has grown and shaped the woman, boss, mother, and designer that she is today.
As a child raised Catholic and surrounded by the mix of French, Spanish and African influences naturally found in the Louisiana Creole culture, Nancy began to formulate a natural ability to visualize how complementary elements from different styles come together organically.
“My grandfather was a master craftsman, and I guess you could say, I’ve hailed from a long line of builders,” said Nancy. “Early on, I developed a love for both design and art and have made a career of it, which is something I am so fortunate to do every day. My husband, John Price, also appreciates architecture and we have been able to work together weaving my designs into his construction company throughout the years.”
Over the course of her career, Nancy has traveled the world in search of inspiration and one-of-a-kind pieces for her interior design firm. During her travels, she’s been able to curate a collection of timeless treasures that she has woven into the fabric of her design career.
“Years and years ago on my travels, I started collecting meerschaums, and that’s really what got me started,” said Nancy. “The first meerschaum I found had a beautiful hand-carved Mother Mary on it, with a stroke of blue on her cloak. It was stunning; it had stood the test of time, and it inspired me.”
As her travels grew, so did her collection. Nancy began to collect quartz, precious and semi- precious stones, brass, pearls, beads, and anything, according to her, that had a story and wasn’t just an object. Drawing inspiration from ecclesiastical, military, and antique pieces, Nancy began to visualize expressing herself through another design medium.
Ultimately, these treasures – comprised of antique and original reliquaries and stones from many cultures all over the world- led her to launch her own jewelry line, which she fatefully named Aura.
“I had a jewelry designer stop in our studio one day and we started talking about some of the same ideas. I mentioned that I always thought it would be cool to launch a line,” said Nancy. “After all, the heart and inspiration behind my designs are the same, whether it is a design for the home or design for the body. There’s an innate correlation.”
Each piece in the Aura jewelry line is three, four, or five layers thick, comprised of different materials and beading. In addition to each piece being designed by Nancy, all of the beads are strung by hand.
“We knot between every single bead on a piece of my jewelry, and it really makes a difference in how the piece lays on your body,” said Nancy. “This jewelry is handmade from start to finish through a collaborative process. The correlation and the natural formation of the pieces- from the rugged look of the stones to the intricacies of the beads or pearls- look so beautiful. They, like the materials they are made out of, are meant to stand the test of time.”
Versatility is also a key element in designing pieces from the Aura line. According to Nancy, these pieces are made to be enjoyed and utilized in multiple environments, whether that includes a piece that is hung on mirrors or door handles one day and worn around one’s neck the next.
With raw materials such as brass from South Africa, military medallions from South America, rare finds from an Indian reservation in Arizona, African rotary beads, and unique stones, pearls and meerschaums from Europe, Germany, Italy, France, and Bali, diversity is at the heart of the Aura line.
“I have allowed the region I grew up in to shape how I see the world and draw inspiration. In Louisiana, diversity from different cultures is celebrated; diversity was beautiful,” said Nancy. “Weaving together mementos of different cultures and combining them to create a unique, one-of-a-kind piece is the heart of who I am because I am someone who is the product of multiple influences.”
The beauty found in the ecclesiastical symbols that Nancy was raised around while growing up in the Catholic church have continued to influence her tastes for old icons of cultural meaning, regardless of their origin. With many of her pieces holding some sort of religious symbolism, drawn from different cultures around the world, there is a power and feeling bound to these pieces – a feeling that almost transcends time and unifies you to the world around you.
According to Nancy, inspiration is all over the world; it is rampant in all people groups. It’s just waiting to be found.
“Art is art no matter where it comes from, and some of the best artists are architects,” said Nancy. “Sometimes the way a beautiful piece of molding is carved gives me a visual of certain barrel beads, so I’ll go out and search for things to recreate that feel. It’s all how you choose to see the world and where you choose to get your inspiration from.”
Although inspired by other cultures, one of Nancy’s main sources of inspiration hits close to home in the form of her design clients, neighbors, family and friends.
“One thing we do with Aura is if someone comes to us with a special item – like a medallion they have collected or a family memento that was passed down to them for generations – that they may not know how to utilize, I can take that piece and craft it into something useful and beautiful,” said Nancy. “I call it a modernization of traditionalism.”
When visualizing new life for antique pieces, nothing is off limits for Nancy. Whether you are young or young at heart, one can appreciate the depth of the pieces and the meaning behind them. There is an inherent, organic, raw beauty in the way Nancy has used the various natural and design elements to craft the Aura line. She has curated the items in such a way that makes the pieces themselves feel as if they have their own soul.
They have an Aura.
For more information on the Aura line, which is her wholesale jewelry line, Nancy Price Interior Design, or Abby Price Art, visit her website at www.nancypriceinteriors.com.