WM FRIENDS: Mary Macgill
Mary Macgill is an inspiring jewelry designer splitting her time between her NYC studio and home in Block Island. Her work draws inspiration from the natural elements and combines gold with stones she sources herself with an amazing attention to detail. She was generous enough to share the details on her envy-inspiring life with us. Read on and shop her line here!
I’ll describe a day on Block Island (where we move for the summer) because it’s more fun. Wake up around 7:30 and make coffee, listen to NPR, walk outside with the dogs. I’m usually in the studio by 9. I get emails and business out of the way and then check in with my assistant on orders and start filling them. We break for lunch around 1 – I make a salad for everyone and we eat outside. The afternoon is usually booked with studio visits. Women come in after the beach with lots of sand to hang out, look at stones, and shop. We wrap up the day around 6:30 and I bike to the beach for a run with my boyfriend and dog. I get home in time for the sunset and a margarita, take an outdoor shower, and then throw a bunch of stuff on the grill for dinner. My head hits the pillow at 11 (I like my sleep).
If you weren’t a jewelry designer, what would you be doing?
Shop owner (secret - I idolize Whitney) (Ed. Note- the feeling is WAY mutual!)
What are some of your favorite pieces in your collection and what was the inspiration behind them?
The baroque pearl rings are my favorite. I layer three together and never take them off. Pearls are little treasures and the color and lustre of each is so unique. The design for these rings came from ancient Etruscan and Egyptian rings.
Another staple are the hand studs. I got the idea for these looking at some of Alexander Calder’s pins in the shape of heads, birds, and hands. I love them - they have a sense of humor and always make people smile.
What's your favorite Netflix show to binge watch?
House of Cards – I have a total girl crush on Robin Wright she’s so intense!
How did your brand start? What advice would you give to someone interested in starting their own jewelry business?
My brand started after leaving a great corporate design job and moving to Block Island for the summer. I signed up for the farmer’s market and made two business cards- one for jewelry and one for flowers. I made everything in aquamarine and sold hydrangeas from our garden. People swarmed my little table every week and I realized I had a product that people not only wanted, but cherished as a reminder of their summer at the ocean. People emailed me throughout the year requesting presents and that’s when I decided to dedicate myself to starting this business.
Advice? Just go for it. Get your product in front of real people and make sure it stirs in them some kind of emotion. Then you know you have something lasting, and a customer that will return.
Why do you feel your jewelry fits well with the WM GOODS vibe?
When I started my line I wanted to create well made, yet relatively affordable gold jewelry that didn’t compromise on design or originality– Whitney and I have the same values here in terms of curating design – and that’s why MM fits into the picture.
What’s one question you wished people asked more about the process of jewelry designing / making?
How I pick out stones and pearls. You’d be surprised how much time goes in to choosing the right stones for each piece.!
Has your brand seen a notable design evolution since you launched and how do you see the aesthetic growing as the brand grows?
Absolutely. My first collection was the stone collection and it is in a constant state of change. I never source calibrated stones and I buy in limited quantities – this allows me to continually look for new, interesting material.
As for the hammered wire pieces, the hand series opened up this idea of drawing with wire. There are endless possibilities here. I am currently working on pieces based off of Elsworth Kelly’s plant drawings.
I think great ideas are born out of constraint. I decided to hand make jewelry without the use of heat, chemicals, or casting (some would say I’m nuts). It’s a constant challenge, but each puzzle presents an opportunity to create something that no one else is doing because I’m thinking about making jewelry in a different way.
Tell us about your current work space- what do you have to have around you at all times?
Our NYC studio is super cozy. It’s our cave! I work on a bench my grandfather built and always have my favorite art books with me: Rachel Whiteread, Cy Twombly, Mondrian, Ellsworth Kelly, Patti Smith, Richard Diebenkorn, Irving Penn, Edward Weston, and my mother, Susan Paulsen. We’re always burning a Feu de L’eau candle in Ivoir, drinking Bellocq tea, and filling our vases with flowers from our favorite shop around the corner Fleurs Bella. Then there are the giant chunks of aquamarine laying around . . .
What's on your February playlist?
- Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin
- The Zombies – Can’t Nobody Love you
- Chris Bell – I am the Cosmos
- Kiiara – Gold
- Wet – It’s All in Vein
- Beirut – No No No
- Jason Isbell – Stockholm
Mary will be taking over the WM GOODS instagram account 7/15-7/17!
Shop Mary MacGill's jewelry HERE