Jewelry is one of the oldest forms of art and is also fairly trend sensitive, which is why it is so exciting to come across someone who makes me think about it differently. Mary MacGill’s made in New York jewelry collection has done just that. Her beautiful, minimal gold pieces are both timeless and exactly on trend, but when you look further into the collection, you see that the pieces are more than just metal, they are thoughtfully made works of art.
I met with Mary last fall in New York and haven’t been able to stop thinking about our interview or her collection (or her incredible vintage Levis!) ever since. When I saw her hand earrings and bracelet the day we met, I was intrigued… and the next day I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I love jewelry and collect it, but it doesn’t always make me think. Now, whenever I wear the hand cuff that Mary was so kind to make me, I’m re-inspired and motivated by the idea of creativity through constraints.
Read on for more from Mary, a peek into her gorgeous studio, and some of my favorite pieces… and be sure to use code “love” for 10% off all orders through February 14th!
WHERE DO YOU MAKE YOUR COLLECTION?
My workshop is in an art gallery in Tribeca – there are just two of us so we don’t need a lot of room yet. Every summer we move the studio to Block Island, where my family has a home. I participate in markets and host studio visits but this is also where I’m the most inspired, so I’m able to put my blinders on and just work.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
I took a jewelry class at camp when when I was in the eighth grade. I loved it so much but when I came home, I didn’t have the metal smithing tools I’d had at camp available to me so I didn’t know how I could continue to make jewelry. A beloved family friend has always been like a mentor to me, and she told me not to let myself be constrained by my circumstances. I started wire wrapping as a way to make jewelry without soldering and it stuck. Sometimes I consider soldering now, but I always manage to work around it in my designs. I started making jewelry and never really stopped… I had my own contacts in the diamond district when I was 13!
I worked for David Yurman for two years after school – I was on a team that designed one of a kind pieces for our retail stores, often using David’s prized possessions in our designs. I left Yurman and moved to Block Island, where I started making my own jewelry. As I worked on starting my business, I traveled and camped across the US for the better part of a year. I started working on my business full time last year.
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION?
I stay away from looking at other jewelry for inspiration – I look at art. A lot of jewelers look at costume jewelry, but I think there are so many other places to find inspiration.
I’m also really inspired by Block Island, and by nature. I feel a strong connection to that, and I think that comes through in my designs.
TELL ME ABOUT THE DIFFERENT PIECES IN YOUR COLLECTION:
I work with a stone carver on the carved stone cuffs – each cuff is carved out of one single piece of stone!
The 14k Collection is made up of small, classic pieces and is meant to tap into the essence of gold.
The bangle bracelets with stones were some of my first pieces – you can mix and match them and they have a lot of movement, which I love.
The Fringe collection is inspired by one of my favorite artists, Alexander Calder. Calder eschewed soldering and welding and worked simply by wiring and hammering metal. That’s really how jewelry has always been made.
The hand and braided collection are my newest additions, and they allow me to delve into the idea of drawing with wire.
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