Katie Miranda is a jeweler, political cartoonist, and artist who seeks to bring that kind of immersive cultural teaching experience to her craft. Over the 7 years that she's been making and selling her unique pieces of jewelry, she's kept a focus on how best to promote acceptance and breakdown stereotypes of the Islamic world.
After receiving an art degree, Katie moved to Palestine, where she started work as a human rights worker and, later, a newspaper cartoonist. While she was there, she became interested in the art of calligraphy and began to study under master calligrapher Ehab Thabet. During this process, she gained an appreciation of Arabic language—and, as an extension—of the culture from which this tradition grew.
Interestingly, Katie's journey towards calligraphy and jewelry making follows her own personal philosophical journey. She originally found herself in the Middle East as a part of a kibbutz; her experiences on that first trip to Israel led her ultimately to discover the other side of the story and to volunteer in Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement a few years later. Upon her return to the U.S., she got her masters degree in Illustration, and at that moment, decided to combine her love to jewelry making with her love of Arabic calligraphy.
One of the main reasons I make it is because there is so much fear in the US now around Arabs and Muslims. People get kicked off flights for speaking Arabic or having an t-shirt that has Arabic writing on it. I want people to get used to seeing it and hearing it just like they are used to seeing signs in Spanish or hearing Spanish.
My jewelry and apparel are conversation pieces and people always ask what it says and that sparks a conversation. It even was the catalyst for a conversation between strangers that lead to a marriage. People have a lot of misconceptions and fear about Arabs and Muslims and my jewelry sparks conversations that educate and break down barriers.
Katie sent me a pair of the Habibti earrings in amethyst, and they're just gorgeous. I'd loved earrings since I got my ears pierced at the ripe age of 5, and I'm always looking for something new and inventive to add to my jewelry collection. The Habibti earrings are delicate but striking, which makes them perfect to pair with everything from jeans to an LBD.
I love that "Habibti" (the word written on the earrings themselves) means "my love" in Arabic, so you're literally wearing love around when you add these to your wardrobe. While it's such a sweet sentiment when given to your mom, friend, or sister, I think it also is a wonderful reminder to all of us to work towards acceptance and understanding towards everyone we meet.
Win a pair of your own Habibti earrings like mine, and join the conversation!
(Giveaway open to U.S. residents only. ARV $72.)
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