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Stetson Summer Series: CobraCult

Jessica Ilalaole is a born and raised Hawaiian native shaped by the love of nature, art, and exploring. After relocating to a rural mountain setting, Jessica continued to explore art, inevitably falling in love with metalsmithing. Working out of a cottage studio and spending her free time backpacking in the wilderness, Jessica is most inspired by mountains, folk art, mysticism, traveling, natural beauty and the mysteries of old. CobraCult jewelry is owned and operated solely by Jessica with occasional help from friends and loved ones.

Photography by Nicole Morgenthau

“My jewelry business began as a hobby and I’ve now been a full-time artist for over five years. It’s a dream to work for yourself but you have to harness creative discipline.”


“I gather inspiration for jewelry pieces from my surroundings.”


“I moved out of a city environment and into a rural mountain setting, which has allowed a deeper connection to the world around me. I’m able to notice the movement of animals and the shifts in the weather through the large windows in my workshop. I’m also able to watch the subtle changes in season.”


“My workshop is located on our rustic property at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. I’ve recently been watching the snow recede from the mountain tops. I believe the seasons have a big impact on my creative process and resulting work. During spring, the animal activity is abundant and I may be more focused on animal shapes and vibrant colored stones. The fall and winter bring a new color scheme and more silence. With the snow insulating the world around my home and workshop, I feel the most creative and tend to dig deeper. In the summer I do a lot of hiking and backpacking. New Mexico has such a rich history and the warm months allow for more exploration. I don’t see how an artist couldn’t be affected by the seasons because it changes how we look inward as well as outward.”