We love the earthy designs of French literature teacher by day, jewelry designer by night Marie-Elaine Mineau. We recently caught up with her to find out how she got started creating these beautiful pieces and what inspires her work.
Tell us a little about yourself and your work. I've always liked to be creative and to work with my hands although I didn't make a career out of it. For many years I studied hard, putting aside my creative projects, and now I have a job that requires my intellect a lot more than my hands (I teach French Literature to college students!). Don't be mistaken: I love my job. But when a few years ago I realized I finally had spare time, I knew exactly what to do with it!
I love every aspect of creating and selling jewelry. I love hunting for beads and findings. I love deciding which color goes with which. I love designing the pieces themselves. I love making them. Taking pictures is fun too (especially when there's not a whole box to go through!). It's finally great to get in contact with people around the world who are interested in buying my jewelry ... It's a very heartwarming feeling.
How did you get started as a designer? I discovered beading when, unhappy with what I found in stores, I decided to make a few necklaces for myself. I got many compliments so I began making necklaces for other people. Next I was doing craft shows, and now I'm selling on Etsy!
What inspires your work? Anything I see in everyday life might inspire the way I mix colors and shapes. I'm not even talking about looking at what other jewelers or designers do, I'm talking about anything that catches my eye, anywhere. For example, I was once amazed by one screen shot in a Stanley Kubrick movie where you had a warm topaz object filmed against a deep blue background ... Well, the first thing I told myself was: let's mix topaz and blue!
Who are your favorite designers? "Designer" includes so many things, it's hard to answer! To answer spontaneously I'd say Jean-Paul Gaultier, Le Corbusier, Betsey Johnson, and the Bauhaus movement. I like over-the-top designs as much as the very minimalistic ones.
What are your top fashion & beauty must-haves? I have no self-control when it comes to purses and shoes, but I don't like the big expensive brands. I prefer handmade accessories or very odd vintage ones.
Where can people find your work? Right now I'm on Etsy (http://www.minaude.etsy.com), but I'm listing a few things right now on Art Fire and on Dawanda. All my web shops are called Minaude, so I'm easy to find. I also have a blog where I discuss my work (http://www.minaude.blogspot.com). For the Montrealers, I also have a few items at La Coccinelle Jaune.
Anything else? If I move from my little apartment one day, I'd like to have a real workshop and learn to work with metals or make glass beads myself. That's my dream for the moment.
We love all of the amazing independent designers out there and we wanted to find out more about what makes these creative types tick. If you do too, check out more of our Indie Designer Interviews.