When I was in New York City mid-March I met a magical lady while touring Brooklyn Metal Works. I'd been following Monica Marcella on Instagram for some time, but hadn't met her or seen her jewels in person or even realized she handcrafted everything in Brooklyn. Monica is a magical ball of positive and creative energy. We hit it off immediately due to a mutual love for Gabriella Kiss and continued to have things in common. She's amazing. As is her jewelry. Learn more about Monica below!
How it began: "As soon as I could put a bead on a string, I was making jewelry. My grandmother and I would sit together at the kitchen table and make jewelry compositions using a mountain of cut up thrift store beaded strand necklaces. Eventually, I would work on my own to make something I liked and then she would talk to me about color combinations, pattern, and most importantly, how it felt on her. These served as my first and most precious critiques. Her insight and encouragement became my inner voice."
The process: "Very much like those early experiences, I work best with parts. I am not a sketcher, in undergrad my metals professor would walk around and replace pencils or a far off lost stare with a piece of metal and encourage us to make something- anything. Just my hands moving informs the direction I go. I fabricate several elements that seem interesting to me, then lay them out with stones and see where or if they match. These elements are constantly being edited to ensure a consistent aesthetic."
The inspiration: "Gothic era architecture, cultural anthropology, and hip hop. I pull from many different sources, I love learning. Being in a classroom, or reading a new book, or listening to music I have never heard before all stimulate new and unexpected elements."
My favorite: "I like to say things are my favorite, for now. I seem to always find a new favorite. But my favorite currently is a cognac tourmaline ring I made. The prongs are mini gothic arches, it's a petite cathedral."
Other than jewelry: "I do a lot of cooking and yoga. I have a great time in the kitchen, my husband and I like to make elaborate meals together. Since I'm on my bench full time, my hands need the namaste to stretch and strengthen in a different way."
Favorite artists: "Gabriella Kiss is incredible, little works of art worn on the body."
Currently listening to: "Lately I've been listening to a lot of Nigerian musicians. Fela and Seun Kuti are among my top picks right now."