Cheyenne Sukalski, Silversmith, Wild Expanse
“There is a certain flow state that exists in creating at that intensity, which is really what I love about silversmithing.”What does a day in your work life look like?
I like to start my day with a cup of coffee and some tunes. Silversmithing is so involved that I generally get totally sucked in and during the afternoon find myself wondering why I haven’t eaten any food or drank any water. My days in the workshop are some of my favorite days, but they do leave me rather exhausted. It’s a thousand tiny cuts and solders. You get really good at using both your hands to do intricate movements. There is a certain flow state that exists in creating at that intensity, which is really what I love about silversmithing.
What made you start doing the amazing things that you do?
I had been trying to find a ring with my favorite mountain range on it, and not surprisingly I couldn’t find one. Then one day I had the thought, maybe I could make it? And so I went down the rabbit hole of learning how to create with metal and flame. I had always done art growing up, whether it was drawing, screen printing, graphic design, so for me, it was a new avenue to explore my creativity, but with a really visceral element that I had not found before. Creations that could be held, carried, cherished--it felt more right than anything else before it. Guess you could say I fell in love and I haven’t looked back!
Did you complete any training? If not, how did you learn your trade/skill?
I took an eight-hour class that basically taught me how to solder two pieces of metal together. And then from there I learned, and am still learning, by just doing, and of course making mistakes. It may sound odd but the first time I held that torch in my hand, the process of silversmithing just felt like something I had already done before, it really clicked.
What are you doing when you’re not working hard?
I spend most of my free time rock climbing and running around the mountains. Part of what I love about living in Yosemite is having this amazing wilderness as my backyard. It is a really special thing that I do not take for granted in any way. Of course, on the off day that I am not running around, I love making yummy food and curling up on the couch with a movie or a good book.
If you could give your 20-year-old-self advice, what would it be?
My 20-year-old self was living a life that really built the foundations for what I love and where I find myself now. I wouldn’t tell her to do anything different but I would tell her to not take things so seriously. I feel a certain unparalleled amount of joy in my life currently, which I would have liked to share with her.
Do you have any special projects or cool things you want people to check out?
I’m dreaming of creating a holiday pop up show on the eastern side of the Sierras this winter with a few other artists and makers, so keep an eye out for that! Aside from that, I have shop updates every few weeks, follow along on Instagram to get the most up-to-date info!
In the first photo, Cheyenne is wearing our grey stretch canvas Maven Slim pant, which you can check out here! In the third photo, she wears the Britt Utility in natural canvas which you can find here.