Ma Crush Monday: Nikiya Schwarz of Gold Dust Collective

 Nikiya, Poppy, and Maya.

Nikiya, Poppy, and Maya.

We're thrilled to shine some light on this week's crush, Nikiya Schwarz of the radiant Gold Dust Collective , a collaborative project that spoke to the songs inside of us. Profiling the local people of Nevada City, Nikiya and her friend Kat illuminate the unique cultural and artistic heritage in the community they grew up in. Beth learned of their stunning work when returning to the Gold Rush town of Sacramento (neighboring the Yuba River Watershed) and connected with their curiosity of local land and people, particularly in their intimate photo-documentations and interviews,  "FOLKTALES."  Nikiya- a designer, stylist, and editor (who also often collaborates with local shop Kitkitdizzi)   is a mother of two young ones herself and was kind enough to connect with us and answer #thesamethreequestions. Click for the interview as she discusses homesteading, transitions, and guilty pleasures.

1.PS: Tell us a bit what's behind your children's names:

Poppy Eloise | 9

NS: We chose Poppy because of her birth in February when the wild poppies are first starting to emerge and as a tribute to her maternal grandmother who has suffered from an opiate addiction. (We are transparent about it in our family, it’s part of her maternal heritage.) Eloise we just liked and resembles names of her father and my relatives.

Maya Paloma | 12

Maya just landed on us. Four days after her birth. We loved the sound and the meaning (illusion, not to take the material world at face value). Paloma was a name I loved. Picasso has a daughter name Paloma. What we did not know when we named her is that he also has a daughter named Maya. This kid is an artist herself, through and through.

 Sisters in the woods.

Sisters in the woods.

2.PS: Can you share a few of your local Motherhood Favorites?

NS: We play outside a lot. The Yuba River is our best friend, in all seasons. There are endless trails and rock hopping adventures to be had. I was born here and always manage to find some new treasure out there. We like to explore the old ghost towns and mining sites like Malakoff Diggins and Empire Mine Park Association that were once thriving hubs during the Gold Rush. We learn a lot about natural history, human history, and how to better care for this place we love so dearly.

 A new kind of light.

A new kind of light.

3.PS: What commonalities of Motherhood do you reject, and on the flip-side...do you have any guilty pleasures? 

NSI reject the notion of providing my kids with all kinds of extra cirricular activities. I find boredom to be the space creativity is born from and strive to make my kids as bored as possible. Not really, but I think we as a culture, provide way too much in the way of entertainment to our kids. They need down time. We all need down time. Space for ideas and imagination to emerge. I am also working with this notion that motherhood should be or is inherently satisfying. I chose to be a “stay-at-home” mother. I birthed both of my girls at home. I love being home and making a home. I am so grateful I had that time to be completely present to my children and I also struggled with depression, having internalized this idea that what I was doing was supposed to be deeply fulfilling. Parts of it were, for sure. And there were other parts of my being that lay fallow that now need to be dug into and fertilized and allowed some light. My marriage fell apart in part from my loss of identity and dissatisfaction with my role. Now we get to be a new kind of family, I get to be new kind of mama, and their dad gets to be a new kind of papa. I’m hoping to transform the idea of a “broken family,” at least for my daughters. We are not broken, we are finding wholeness and learning to be ok with sadness and change and are ironically, finding happiness more often these days.


Guility pleasure: the mall! We live in a small town with no box stores. It’s about an hour away.  We love a little soak in mainstream culture. And we love coming home.

PS: Would you mind sharing a SCRIBBLE? (a doodle, a recipe, a poem- anything!)

“There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

-Leonard Cohen

 Of Nevada City, Nikiya says " This place is deep in her bones, not because it's perfect, but because it's home. "

Of Nevada City, Nikiya says "This place is deep in her bones, not because it's perfect, but because it's home. "

Make sure to follow Nikiya and Gold Dust Collective on Instagram!