We had the good fortune of connecting with Mijhal Daisy Poler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mijhal Daisy, how do you think about risk?
When I was beginning to fall in love with metalsmithing and jewelry making, I traveled to Mexico, where I dreamed I would find a true master to teach me his ways. I arrived in the beautiful colonial town San Miguel de Allende, and through word of mouth, found Antonio, the silversmith. I quickly realized he didn’t want to teach me how to be a metalsmith, he wanted to “show” me how to make my designs and send me on my way. There was little technique or patience involved, and I knew I couldn’t leave Mexico having only learned under him. One afternoon about town, I stumbled upon an outdoor artisan market and struck up a conversation with a man who was selling his jewelry. Luis was petite, wearing round metal-rimmed glasses, a black velvet vest, a bowler hat, and a thick brass cuff around his wrist. His pieces were rustic and imperfect, yet his mastery was obvious even to the most undisciplined eye, they were made with great care, and were incredible in their unique rawness. When I told Luis about my underwhelming experience with Antonio, he said, “you must come learn from me, I will teach you how to be a metalsmith.” Luis lived in a small town called Xico, about ten hours and 3 bus rides from San Miguel. He left me with his card, and said he didn’t have wifi or text, so to call him if I decided to, in his words, “take a leap of faith.” I was intrigued, but was I really going to travel to a tiny town I had never heard of to meet with a man I had encountered once, to stay in his friend’s spare bedroom, with no wifi or any idea where I was? I was, and I did. It is the best decision I ever made (don’t get me wrong, currently true-crime obsessed me would not have approved). In his tin-roofed home studio, Luis taught me how to mix and melt my own metals, how to forge iron, how to turn coins into stunning rings, how to cast metal in a can of tuna, and many more unconventional techniques. He took me in as his pupil and unveiled the magic of his work. He taught me how to truly connect with what I do. Taking that risk to trust a stranger, to follow my instincts, to put fear aside for the sake of learning — that’s what growth is about. I knew there was a chance I was making a huge mistake, but I knew either way I would gain something from my decision to take that journey. I don’t believe an individual or a business can grow and evolve without taking risks. Two years ago I decided to quit my job of six years as an artist’s assistant in New Orleans to travel the East Coast selling my jewelry. Sure, it was risky, but the “safe” alternative was no longer an option for me. That journey landed me in Austin, where I have been taking risks and growing my business for the last two years. Pursuing one’s passion always involves risk, it means leaping into the unknown without a safety net, but the results are often liberating and empowering. From making the decision to visit Luis, to quitting my job, to starting over in a new city and building my business from the ground up, to deciding whether to do the holiday market in San Antonio instead of Austin (a risk that unfortunately did not fare so well, but I did learn from it!), risk is a huge part of what has paved the path on which I am today. I encourage anyone out there hesitating to take a chance, no matter how big or small, to go for it. Pursue your passion, learn from your mistakes, and revel in the true liberation of taking risks.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Daisy Metalworks is a collection of wearable art carefully handcrafted by me, Mijhal Daisy Poler. All designs are made by hand in my studio, and nothing is ever mass-produced. I take pride in making pieces that are original and raw, giving off a delicate yet industrial feel, going beyond simply an accessory and evolving into an aesthetic that combines the vibrancy of the natural earth and the sleekness of modern design. I’ve learned that I am far from a perfectionist, and instead of feeling guilty about that, I’ve learned to embrace imperfections and go with the flow. I may sit at my workbench with one idea in mind, and as I work with the metals, very often, a different story is told. When I decided to fully pursue jewelry making, it was like ripping off a band-aid. I quit my job, left the city I’d been in for six years, and took the plunge. I began in New York and made my way down to Miami, finding art markets to vend at along the way. When I began vending in Miami, I quickly grew a following and was reassured that if I put hard work and my heart into it, I could do what I love and be successful not just here, but anywhere. One afternoon, vending at a market in Ft Lauderdale, it began to downpour unexpectedly. In between panic attacks, I was doing everything I could to salvage my pieces from the wind and rain, feeling defeated. Right then, in the pouring rain, a woman who had seen my jewelry earlier ran over to my booth because she simply couldn’t leave without buying one of my pieces. Not only did she make me realize I was doing what I was meant to, she also helped me gather my things. I’ve learned that you have to take chances and fail in order to run a truly fruitful business. Hardships will always be abound, you just have to learn to fight against the natural currents of life in order to come out on the other side…perhaps a little wet, but with a lesson learned. Buy a tarp!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I grew up in Miami, but truly haven’t permanently lived there since I was 18. I visit frequently, but I don’t believe I am fully up to date with all of the amazing new spots popping up. However, I do have some favorites I like to visit when I am in town! El Palacio De Los Jugos in Little Havana is my go-to spot for amazing fresh juices and Cuban sandwiches. Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza for some incredible coal fired pizza and rosemary wings, try the eggplant! La Sandwicherie for AMAZING late night sandwiches La Calenita Colombian Restaurant, their plantain soup is to die for! The Corner for great jazz nights and cocktails, also great for a date night when not crowded! Las Rosas for low-key artsy dive bar vibes and great local music. Lagniappe, lovely diy wine bar with awesome outdoor patio. Old Hollywood Beer House, this place is a true hidden gem. They have a great selection of rotating craft beers all for $4, cash only! Boxelder for great craft beers The Liberty for fancy cocktails and great late night food Robert Is Here is one of my favorite places to visit after a long day hiking the swamps in the Everglades, they have amazing smoothies and great local produce and homemade honey, jams, salsa, etc. Perez Art Museum is one of the best in Florida, in my opinion. Strolling along Washington Ave and people watching is also a favorite afternoon past time of mine.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Bonnie Jean Miller, Jose Luis Gomez Lima, Alex Salgado
Nominate someone: ShoutoutMiami is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.