Good morning! As you read this scheduled blog post I'm probably getting ready to board a train to Munich! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Today's Behind the Design features jewelry maker, Mary of Contrary Jewelry. I just love Mary's collection of beautiful, vintage sourced jewelry.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I'm endlessly inspired by the idea of repurposing forgotten or seemingly simple materials into wearable jewelry with a clever edge. I never tire of flea markets, antique shops, and rummaging through aisles of dead-stock vintage findings in the New York jewelry supply warehouses.
Where do you do most of your work?
I currently work out of my home studio located on the lower level and keep the majority of my supplies tucked away in wooden wine crates, vintage suitcases, and mason jars. When everything is spread out and I'm in the middle of a jewelry making session, we jokingly refer to all the findings, tools, and shipping supplies as "my mess." This mess has sometimes been known to follow me upstairs from time to time during a great movie or episode of Mad Men.
How did you come up with the name for your business?
It was what I thought would be a clever take on the old nursery rhyme "Mary Mary Quite Contrary" being that my name is Mary and I grew up hearing that rhyme over and over.
Your favorite thing to make?
I'm particularly fond of making the fork bracelets. The concept is one that has developed and carried it's way throughout the growth of my jewelry making pursuit. The process itself is the most time and physically labor intensive, but at the same time methodical and stress relieving.
What is your all time favorite design from past or current collections?
While we're talking about fork bracelets, my mother once came across a collector's limited accumulation of silver forks from various hotels and thought of me immediately. Each one was unique and my favorite to this day was the simplest version from Hotel West. The untold stories and mystery that surround the fork, as with many of the components I work with, make it that much more appealing to me.
What advice do you wish someone had given you when you first started your business?
I wish I had understood the importance of professional looking product photography and had the photo know how I've picked up and applied to my shop over the years right from the start. While my horrendous product photography from those early years can be kind of nostalgically endearing, I think a higher quality image from the get go paints a more professional setting for an online business.
coffee or tea?
Coffee kind of gal all the way...even when it comes to ice cream.
Favorite magazine/blog/daily read?
Lookbook.nu for endless inspiration and "reading the outfits".
If you could follow one person around for a day, who would it be?
As weird as it may sound, I'd love to go back and follow my 5 year old self around for a day. I feel like memories can be so blurry and it would be fascinating to relive a day from the perspective of knowing what and who I am now. A little whisper in the ear would be fun too.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, money and time being no object, where would you go and why?
I would have to once again travel back in time to sit in the audience at the opera house in Budapest, Hungary in order to watch my great grandfather play violin.
If you had to spend a year on a deserted island, what 5 things would you take with you?
1. A journal with pencils
2. An iPad
3. My camera
4. One of my pocket knife necklaces
5. A "Learn to speak Hungarian" book with audio (as mentioned above, I have Hungarian roots and have always wanted to learn the language).
Thank you Mary for participating in this week's Behind the Design.
Photos courtesy of Mary, Contrary.
Mary can be found at: