Sonoma magazine headder.jpg
Few objects symbolize the beauty of autumn more than fall leaves and rarely do we examine a leaf’s intricacies – its veins, curves, ridges and imperfections. But study a fallen leaf up close and you may agree that they are nature’s works of art.  That is how Santa Rosa Jewelry artist and organic metal sculptor, Michelle Hoting views leaves, petals, acorns and other flora found here in Sonoma County and on her travels.

Michelle Hoting designs distinctive wearable art – for every season - in her Santa Rosa studio and she is among the artists selected to participate in this year’s Art Trails Sonoma County.

Natural leaves are one of Hoting’s favorite subjects when creating her unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, inspired by her love for nature and the outdoors.  Using leaves from oak and ginkgo trees, grapevines, sage leaves and other flora that catch her eye, Hoting carefully and meticulously casts these delicate items in her studio with a special technique she perfected.  Hoting calls her technique “Lost Leaf Casting” which uses pure silver Hoting sources from recycled electronics. This technique brings out even the subtlest of details in the leaves.  Hoting describes this technique as similar to nature’s way of creating a fossil, only in Hoting’s case it doesn’t take 10,000 years to create, thankfully.

No two pieces of Hoting’s are alike, including her sets of earrings. While they may compliment each other and be symmetrical on the wearer, they are separate pieces cast from individual leaves. The day I visited her studio, she was working on casts of two similar ivy leaves that would soon be a pair of earrings. Nearly identical yet with their own characteristics, Hoting has an eye for finding just the right leaves to compliment one another and more importantly, the fortunate wearer.

Along with her Lost Leaf Casting, Hoting works with gem stones, rocks, antique pieces, and wood.  Her career in jewelry has spanned 25 years and includes positions as jeweler for Cartier, manager at Bulgari, and manager of the jewelry repair department of a well-known antique jewelry firm.  Hoting majored in Geology and Fine Art at The University of Texas at Austin before attending the Gemological Institute of America where she focused her studies on diamond grading and colored stone identification. She also studied metalsmithing at the Glassell School of Art.

Originally from Texas, Hoting moved to Santa Rosa with her husband four years ago. It was then that she decided to pursue a career that unites her love for nature and the outdoors, her finely honed jewelry skills and her passion for art. Today Hoting is an accomplished and much sought after artist with a thriving business and many return customers who collect her pieces.

 Make an appointment to visit Michelle Hoting's studio-boutique in Santa Rosa, California. 707-791-4680 or email

December 3, 2015

Balance and Beauty - The Art of Michelle Hoting

Artful Musings: The Art of Michelle Hoting

Balance and Beauty


By Maja Wood

Michelle Hoting knows how to play with balance. Some of her jewelry designs give you a sense of balance like there’s a solid rod, centered through your body, anchored into the earth. Other designs feel like your arms are stretched out on either side, the balance coming from the tension between the two extremes. And still other pieces feel like the balance you sense while riding a bike, movement and momentum being the key.

“I get my inspiration from nature,” Hoting said. “And in nature, things are rarely symmetrical yet they’re balanced.”

Take for instance, her Oak Leaf necklace. On the left, an acorn design hangs down, reminding me of a pendulum. On the right, clasped to the chain above the acorn, is an oak leaf design that hangs in such a way that it feels like it’s falling from the tree. There’s a sense of movement as well as that of balance and unity.

Hoting’s Ginko necklace is another brilliant example of how asymmetrical design instills a feeling of overall wholeness and integrity. On top of that, it’s surprisingly unique. I’ll go through long stretches of time feeling like there’s nothing new under the sun. And then suddenly, I’ll see something and wonder, “How could I have possibly never seen anything like that before?” It’s enough to make one giddy.

That’s how I felt during this fall’s Art Trails Open Studios event when I stopped by Hoting’s Santa Rosa studio and saw the Gingko necklace. That was the one piece I asked to try on. It’s like a cuff necklace, except the opening is in the front, and the two sides end in leaf designs, forming the focal point. While I was trying it on, I told Hoting how surprised I was that I had never come across anything quite like this reversed cuff necklace. She laughed and told me she hadn’t seen one like it either—and she’s been in the business for two decades.

“It’s kind of my thing,” she added. “I’m sure someone, somewhere has made something like this. But I haven’t seen it.” She just happened to be playing around with designs, and this one evolved organically. “I love all my babies and I don’t choose favorites. But, this is one of two designs that after I created it, I had this feeling of, ‘Wow, I did it.’ It was a sense of, I don’t know...accomplishment isn’t quite the right word, but something like that. I had been working with jewelry for 20 years, yet once I finished those pieces, that’s when I felt: ‘I got this.’”

To make an appointment to visit Hoting’s studio, call 707-791-4680

June 29, 2016

Art Review: Artists at the Source 2016


Art Review: Artists at the Source 2016

By Jim Kelly

I’m not normally a fan of using French words in newspaper columns but when the subject of art is discussed, the Language of Love seems essential. Besides, because of his French daughter-in-law, Jacqueline, Jack Smith, long-time columnist for the L.A. Times, frequently peppered his sentences with parlez-vous. Not too much pepper, mind you, only enough to add a bite to his words.

Armed with this irrelevant piece of trivia, I went to see some new friends and old at  Art at the Source (not to be confused with Art Trails) 22nd annual, open studio tour of western Sonoma County artists. 

Whenever I see new art, I’m reminded of James Thurber’s famous line, “He knows all about art, but he doesn't know what he likes.” 

In my case, I may know more than I think I do but I think I know nothing. Ergo, the French.


Michelle Hoting


Oak Leaf Bracelet, Michelle Hoting

If you are lucky enough have someone in your life who is funny, friendly and just all around fantastic, you have a friend like Michelle Hoting. When she moved to West Sonoma, she made a leap of faith and changed careers. From  jeweler at Cartier, managing a Bulgari boutique and then a career repairing antique jewelry she now designs her own art. And art it is. 

“I didn’t know anyone when I moved here four years ago.” She said. “I thought it would take forever to make new acquaintances.” When you meet her, you’ll understand why she was so wrong. Think of your best friend. Michelle’s art jewelry is geologically compelling, mixing precious stones into aggregates with streams of silver flowing through each element.

Michelle’s grandfather cofounded the Corpus Christi Gem and Mineral Society and she grew up surrounded with his rocks and stories of her mother and grandfather rockhounding on the King Ranch in Texas.  It wasn’t until she was at UT Austin that she ended up in the jewelry business thanks to her favorite Geology professor.

Vive l’amour de l’art. 

Cloverdale Reveille Newspaper on July 31 for the Flourish Art Show at The Cloverdale Arts Alliance Gallery.

Cloverdale Reveille Newspaper on July 31 for the Flourish Art Show at The Cloverdale Arts Alliance Gallery.

Santa Rosa Magazine Holiday Gift Guide 2013

Santa Rosa Magazine Holiday Gift Guide 2013

Kathleen McCallum Gallery Party Invitation 2013

Kathleen McCallum Gallery Party Invitation 2013