Editorial

Maria Blondet: Sculptural Art Jewelry

Maria Blondet finds inspiration through nature, the wear and tear of street coins, and her family’s background in the arts. She brings together different art forms, creating unique hand-made pieces that leave the wearer feeling empowered. Sculptural and stunning, read our exclusive interview to explore what drives Maria Blondet’s innovation in the trade, and learn about how her designs come to fruition.

Did your family’s artistic background influence how you approached your own creative journey? How, if so?

Being raised in a family that cherishes and practices art in different forms — painting, sculpture, music… poetry — I think that I was always filled with the energy and sensibility that is so unique in art. Since I was 5 years old, I was taken yearly to the Festival Casals to listen to live orchestras and to view whatever newest art exhibition they featured that year. But, even being exposed to all the grandeur of the Festival Casals, the place where I was always happiest was in my mother’s art studio, peeking around all the materials, drafts, and finished pieces. Since I can remember, I am an artist, so going to art school was the most natural thing I could do in my journey to developing as a woman. Art was the thing I knew the best. With a family of artists, art was the main topic of conversation at most family dinners. Painters, sculptors, composers, and poets became invisible guests at our dinner table. And ever since I was five years old, I knew I wanted to continue my family’s artistic legacy in some way or another.

What I did not yet know was that I was going to make sculptural jewelry. ART to be worn.

Are there aspects of your family’s art that you try to use in your own pieces?

My mother is a renowned metal sculptor, Carmen Blondet. Our affinity is evident in the use of metal, but our work contrasts dramatically in scale- she makes monumental metal sculptures and I work on delicate pieces of jewelry. She uses corten steel and stainless steel and I use Argentium silver and 22k gold. It is so funny when we visit each other’s studio because, just like our work, even the tools we use are the same… just on a different scale!

Nature seems to play a big role in your designs and creative process. Can you talk about what first inspired you to incorporate nature into your designs?

Yes, nature is very important to me. Before entering my studio and entering “jeweler mode”, I like to take strolls on the beach and feel connected to the air, the water, and the sand under my feet. I like to feel the sun on my face and become invigorated by its powerful heat. Nature influences, inspires, and plays a huge role in my creative process. Each grain of the sand, each gust of wind, and the awe-inspiring sound of the waves are in every single of my pieces. That rhythm, movement, and texture that you feel in my work, and what characterizes it, are all part of the song I’ve made for nature and its energy. Said energy transcends and becomes a piece of art, to be worn and felt.

Who is your mentor in the industry? What about them inspires you?

More than an industry mentor, the encouragement my family gave me to be able to continue my life as an artist is what I has made the biggest difference and impact in my life and my work. The trust they had in me since the very beginning inspired me to always give my best and to follow my path and my passion. That full trust and joy is key to success.

Where did you get the idea to distress the metals you work with? How does that play a part in your aesthetic?

Since I was a child, I found a peculiar interest in how a penny gets its own personality just by being left in the streets and run over by cars… cast aside and ignored by most people. Except for me. In my eyes, the individuality of each penny was so amazing that I started to collect them. Not knowing that, many years later, they were the ones that ended up inspiring me to give that quality to my jewelry.  So, I started to hammer and hammer to make marks and scratches and give that perfectly imperfect texture to the shiny sheets of gold or silver.

Just like those pennies, each of my pieces has a UNIQUE texture made by the force of my hands, allowing each piece to, just like the pennies, have its own personality. It is of utmost importance for me to cherish the importance and existence of everyone in this world, as no one should be cast aside and ignored like those pennies on the streets. The texture in my pieces is a tribute to each person’s greatness, UNIQUENESS, and the beautiful mystery of existence.

What is the hardest part of creating handmade jewelry? What is the best part?

The hardest part is to work as fast as my ideas come to my mind. My head is always spinning with ideas…. I would love to be able to record and reproduce every single of my thoughts, my ideas and implement them as they come. But unfortunately, my hand are not as fast. Yet that is part of the beautiful and creative process that I love. My studio is my happy place, and my “job” is my therapy.

What is the story behind the first piece of jewelry you made?

When I was in college studying graphic design, I took a metal class the first year and the story began. The first piece of jewelry I ever made was a pair of silver earrings. I was not a jewelry person, because I did not want to wear what everyone was wearing… so I made my own earrings! And they quickly became conversational pieces everywhere I went. And that conversation has never ended.

How do you want people to view your designs, as they wear them, and what would you like them to take away from it?

I want the wearer to feel unique and empowered. Through jewelry, people can express their true self, their preferences, their individuality, their personality, and express how they want to be seen. Each of my pieces is one of a kind and gives the person exclusivity and uniqueness that will make them feel sure of themselves and empowered.

Who do your clients mostly consist of? What about your designs do you feel attracts them?

Design and art-conscious people. The originality and sculptural aspect of my work has captured the attention of studio jewelry, art collectors, and, interestingly enough, a lot of architects. My pieces are design-oriented statements. They look bold yet delicate. I’ve found that people with artistic inclinations are the most likely to inquire about one of my pieces.

Your Letters from the Heart collection is stunning, with various metals and textures combined with hand-stamped text. How did this collection come to be?

Letters from the Heart combines Argentium silver 935 and 22K gold. It evokes many emotions. My grandfather was the inspiration for this collection. Or, more specifically, his poetry. Long after he passed away, I created this collection using lines from the poems he wrote. If he had only known… He was a civil engineer with a lifelong passion for music and arts, and he published 12 poetry books exploring the mystery of life. I hand stamp the poems, letter by letter, and then oxidized them with a tiny brush for more contrast.  I want my jewelry to have a deep and impactful meaning for the people that buy it, give it as gifts, or wear it.

Where do you want to take your brand in the next 10 years? Who would you like to see wearing your pieces?

I want to reach more people, to help them experience the importance of their existence. To make them feel more secure and empowered…and, with those attributes in mind, I am currently in the process of developing a new line for a wider audience that will celebrate life, being bold, and each person’s beautiful individuality.

What is your personal and professional mantra?

Find your voice and use it to celebrate your unique existence. There’s nobody in the world quite like yourself. Any imperfection is part of your perfection.

Maria Blondet’s designs not only empower the wearer, but honors the long history of the arts in her family and unite the different practices of the arts.

To keep up with Maria Blondet’s design journey and future collections, visit https://www.mariablondet.com/ and follow @mariablondetjewelry on Instagram.

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