Ecrevisse by Elise

by Mary Tutwiler

Elise Sonnier has been making art since she was a child.

Stitched collages, painted quilts, you name it, she was mixing media. This year, she was contemplating a long slow summer vacation from her art teaching job at the Episcopal School of Acadiana and after a few days of indolence, she got antsy. So she taught herself jewelry making and began casting around for something different.

"Somebody's got to be making crawfish jewelry," she said to herself, but evidently, no one was. One crawfish boil later, she was meticulously cleaning and beautifying mudbug claws.

Gilded, lacquered and studded with a pearl, Sonnier's Creole crawfish claw earrings are uniquely Louisiana. The claws adorn a sodalite (a blue lapis-like stone) and coral cypress necklace as well. Other items from her Dirty Rice collection bear local names like Teche, Atchafalaya, Venice and Carondolet. Prices range from $26-$110 on craft website Etsy.