On the corner of 35th and McDowell streets in a 12-foot-by-20-foot backyard studio, silversmith Day Hixson likes to play with fire. Sparks fly as she works to the background of metals screeching like gears grinding in an old race car. Here, she constructs her one-of-a-kind jewelry line, Daycreations.
With more than 15 years of experience in the trade, Hixson's latest venture involves organizing an arts block party in NoDa. The event, NoDa Day, will be held on May 5 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on McDowell, between 35th and 36th streets. The block party will feature interactive art from more than 20 local artists.
A true artist, the Charlotte native can't fully explain her creative process. She plays around with molten silver, copper, brass and steel until she makes a piece that appeals to her. Hixson's passion for fire and metal led to a career in metalwork after she found out she was going to be a mother. "I didn't know what to do with myself after I got pregnant," she says. "I wanted to have some purpose in life." She attended the Penland School of Crafts near Asheville.
Daycreations are intricately crafted rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces and leather cuffs. "I like to take things and form them into something you wouldn't expect," she says. Each item has a personalized message that most people don't realize is there. Many of these will be on display during the May 5 event, when Hixson's studio will be open to the public.
Hixson says the purpose of the upcoming block party is to showcase interactive art, which she believes is lacking in Charlotte. NoDa Day will feature blacksmith Theron Ross working his craft, potter Corbin West throwing pots, and painter Tim Sheaffer working on a large-scale painting. Several other metalsmiths will also be present. In addition, attendees can enjoy several food trucks, yoga sessions every hour and a half, hula hoopers, a DJ, beer by NoDa Brewing Company, and activities for kids. A portion of the artists' proceeds will be donated to the Crisis Assistance Ministries, which will have a table set up to collect donations.
Every moment spent in the Daycreations studio brings something unexpected for Hixson, and she's eager to share her passion with the masses. "You can do this your entire life and still have something to learn," she says.