Candace Mangin-Barnes

Candace Mangin-Barnes’ “Concentric Collection,” which includes this bracelet, is based on color and shape.

It’s not every day you hear someone say “I feel very lucky that I wasn’t able to find a job.” But that’s exactly the position Candace Mangin-Barnes found herself in after a 2006 move from St. Louis, Mo., to Massachusetts when her husband was relocated.

Mangin-Barnes has always had artistic tendencies, but initially pursued a psychology degree, switching her major late in the game to graphic design, and working while taking classes. As soon as she graduated in 2003, though, she realized the profession wasn’t as creatively hands-on as she wanted it to be. She enrolled at Webster University for her master’s in art education, then landed a dream job in Missouri.

After the move to Massachusetts, Mangin-Barnes searched for a comparable full-time position, and worked on illustrations, photography and jewelry in her free time. “It developed slowly,” she says. “It sort of grew into a business by accident.” But maybe it wasn’t so accidental after all. Mangin-Barnes is an avid sketcher, and now fills her journal with ideas for jewelry. “My work incorporates my passions for illustration and photography and wearing jewelry,” she says.

Mangin-Barnes is completely self-taught. In 2006, she decided to start making her work from scratch—no pre-assembled components—and a year later she opened The Intuitive Garden. To complete the transformation, she moved to a space in Western Avenue Studios in Lowell in 2008. “I find a lot of inspiration being among other artists,” she explains. “I get instant feedback.”

Her primary materials are resin, ink and acrylic. She follows two processes when creating new pieces for any of her three lines: she coats acrylic with multiple layers of resin, or she makes a mold, showcasing each design in sterling silver. “It’s a multi-day, sometimes multi-week, process,” she says.

Whether you’re examining a piece from her floral-inspired Illustrated Collection, tree-centric Photographic Collection or abstract Concentric Collection, you’ll always find something new. “My urge to create is innate,” Mangin-Barnes says. “I love the versatility of resin.”

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