Last year, Dialogue on Race Louisiana had the amazing opportunity to team up with a local businesswoman, Madeline Ellis. Madeline is the Owner and Creative Director at MIMOSA Handcrafted, a Baton Rouge jewelry company that creates remarkable pieces using the ancient art of Lost Wax Casting.


We recently reached out to Madeline for a quick interview where she shared a little about herself, MIMOSA Handcrafted, and the details of the partnership.


©Jason Cohen Photography

DORLA: Tell us about yourself, including your company — MIMOSA Handcrafted. When did you start and how did it grow?


Madeline: I earned my degree in Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University. I am predominantly self taught in the area of jewelry making, only studying metalsmith basics briefly at Arrowmont and the occasional studio workshops. My degree and work gave me a solid foundation for design principles and an awareness of our local Louisiana landscape, culture, architecture and human experience that heavily influences the inspiration for my work. I started the company in 2008 and my husband joined me full time in 2015. He really is the more entrepreneurially minded one and the growth started to take hold after he joined. We fairly quickly started hiring and now are up to a team of about 10.



DORLA:How would you define MIMOSA‘s style? Where do you get inspiration from?


Madeline: My work focuses on creating pieces that bring the wearer home to beauty and belonging. My jewelry speaks to a part of each client’s personal story. It inspires them to share, to wear, and find others with similar storylines, creating connections and bonding them in a personal way. My culturally inspired work ties people to a sense of place and belonging – the place a person calls home and the people they call theirs. It gives them a way to connect by way of mutual fondness over something meaningful.

Ultimately, my work is about experience and relationship. A special MIMOSA piece becomes a favorite for many reasons. When a client holds her mimosa piece in their hand and shares their story with someone, they are the embodiment of why I do what I do. Nearly every time, a heart is opened and a connection is made. The world feels smaller and we all feel a little bit closer.



DORLA: Why did you want to work with Dialogue on Race?


Madeline: Because I truly believe honest conversation in a way that feels safe and respectful for all involved is vital to the growth and understanding necessary right now.



DORLA: Tell us the story behind the cicada piece.


Madeline: I’d first reached out to Lauren Crump around June of 2020, knowing she had some relationship to Mrs. Maxine Crump and ran the idea by her of us offering to do something that might drive more donations and awareness around the good work DORLA was doing. She quickly connected me to Mrs. Maxine. I hadn’t thought much beyond a possible donation or teaming up to raise funds for & awareness to their work. Instead of a simple donation, she posed that we work with DORLA to create a piece that spoke to, and might in some way capture the essence of and share a bit of the story of the work they do in our community.

I was terrified. What do I know, who am I to even attempt this? What if it’s terrible? I was so nervous, beyond nervous. I got vulnerable & told her all my fears.

Mrs. Maxine gave me the kind of pep talk you see coaches give in great movies. She empowered me to dig deep into my experience, own my skills and challenged me to understand the transformative work they do. With her encouragement I decided I had to try. The worst I could do was fail, right?


After research, zoom meetings, phone calls, and emails with her and her team we landed on the unlikely symbol of the cicada.


For thousands of years, the cicada has been a symbol of change, renewal, rebirth, metamorphosis, and transformation. In lieu of one major metamorphosis, the cicada’s 17-year life is marked by multiple moltings (or sheddings of old layers). On its 5th molting, it finally leaves the ground to emerge into the light.


From there, they use their large eyes to seek full awareness of their surroundings. Through powerful song and strong communication, they show us what it is to use voice in community to be infinitely more effective in a unified pursuit.

The cicada speaks directly to the change, renewal, rebirth, metamorphosis and transformation that happens when people are able to communicate the way they do through the DORLA courses.

It speaks to this change not being a one time event but to a process of something more like moltings that happen throughout a lifetime.

It speaks to eyes wide open seeking awareness of our surroundings and how they work and finally it speaks to what it means to have a powerful voice and strong communication that can be used in community to be more effective in a unified pursuit.



Ten percent of the proceeds of each cicada pendant will go to Dialogue on Race Louisiana. You can purchase your pendant here. To explore the other pieces from MIMOSA Handcrafted, click here to visit their website.