Inspire Me: Emma Marty

Inspire Me: Emma Marty

SCDC: What is a quote you live by?

EM: Okay, it’s a little cheesy…. but I really believe it!  I live by the quote “Everything happens for a reason.”

SCDC: How many years have you been in business?

EM: I had been making jewelry for many years before creating a business was even a thought in my mind.  Shifting from a hobbyist to a business owner happened naturally.  I would create for fun and make pieces for friends.  As more people became interested I began to assign prices to my work and with the help of social media, my passion transformed itself into a business.  This June will mark my first year of being an official DC business owner.

SCDC: Did you have any formal training in jewelry design and creation? How did you come to realize your talent?

EM: I was super lucky to attend a public high school in New Hampshire that had silversmithing classes.  I also had a phenomenal jewelry teacher that passed down years of experience and knowledge to me.  Before taking this class I never thought of myself as artistic.  I took all kinds of art classes until I found this medium, the fabrication of 3-dimensional objects really clicked with my brain.

After high school, I took a break in jewelry making to study Art History at Catholic University.  I always knew I would get back to silversmithing and so I used this education to build a visual vocabulary that I could later use as inspiration for my own artwork.  After graduating I got right back to making jewelry and have continued to improve my skill and knowledge at Jewelry Class DC with Goldsmith Daniel Valencia.

SCDC: What was the first piece of jewelry you ever made? How have your designs evolved?

EM: The first pieces of jewelry I made were a variety of rings and bracelets, each designed to teach a new and specific skill.  It wasn’t until the last assignment of the semester where we had the freedom to create a design of our own that I found my love for the craft.  I made a chunky industrial bracelet and for the first time, I felt the amazing high of translating my own design to a physical piece of jewelry.  Since this first project my skills have undoubtedly improved but my chunky industrial aesthetic has stayed pretty consistent.  

SCDC: What challenges have you met along the way?

EM: I think that one of my greatest challenges is finding a cozy space between being an artist and being a successful business owner.  Jewelry is my only artistic medium and my true passion so I feel that I have to be very protective of preserving the joy it gives me.  I meet these challenges by taking time away from filling orders to make a new piece, taking little “sabbaticals” to explore new ideas and inspiration, and by constantly re-examining my business in search of new ways to improve this balance of being a creative and a human that has to pay bills.

SCDC: How do you go about creating a new piece? We’d love to know about your design process—choosing materials, design development, etc.

EM: I only use sterling silver and 14k gold in my work.  I’m constantly on the hunt for beautiful stones.  I go to many stone shows, research online, work with gemologists in NYC & New Hampshire and also source on my travels.  You might say I’m a bit of a hoarder but I love having a huge stock of stones ready for any wave of inspiration.

Rather than sketch out ideas I typically start by selecting a stone, I lay it out on my desk and move pieces of metal around it to find my design.  I feel this is more effective for planning three-dimensional work.  I don’t spend too much time in this process, I usually play around until I have a general idea of how I want to move forward.  I leave it a bit open ended so my design can organically evolve through the silversmithing process.  I’m a big proponent for not believing in mistakes and having confidence that the process will take me to where I need to be.

SCDC: What are some of your favorite pieces?

EM: The Triple Pearl Ring is one of my very favorites.  This piece floats freshwater pearls set in sterling silver between fingers in the likeness of a brass knuckle.  It’s for sure my best seller and I think it perfectly captures feminine strength and beauty, a major influence throughout all of my work.

I also love the Polygon Club Ring.  This piece was designed for a contest where contestants receive an abnormal polygon shaped stone and had to create a piece of jewelry around it.  This contest granted me to the opportunity to step away from being a business owner and fully embrace being an artist without the worry or limitations of budgeting time or money.  

SCDC: What is next for Emma Marty? Also, where can our readers find you?

EM: SPRING/SUMMER 2017 line just launched along with a new site!  I’ve been working at this for a while so I’m thrilled it’s finally up!  Right now my work can only be found online but I’m in the works of joining a couple DC shops this summer, so stay tuned!

SCDC: What is the first thing that comes to mind about Washington, D.C.? Also, do you plan to hold an event here?

EM: So many things come to mind when I think of DC: art, fashion, food, education, and community.  DC is so rich in culture, it’s a super inspiring place to make home and amazingly supportive city to live the dream of being a small business owner.

I have a couple pop up events in the works right now, readers can subscribe to my monthly newsletter to keep up to date with Emma Marty Jewelry.

Be sure to follow Emma on Instagram and like her on Facebook!

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