Juicy Jewelry of Miss Mae Couture
By: Najaam Lee
It’s after 5pm on the east coast, a day filled with bitter weather of snow and ice and dropping temperatures, the sun just went down as I picked up my cell phone to do an interview in California. I have wanted to do this interview for a while after seeing her amazing work online. Lovely cut stone pieces with sea shells, pearls, feathers, and other natural elements designed and arranged into earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and more. These are beautiful works of ‘wearable art’. I’m speaking about jewellery designer, Mae Barkley of Miss Mae Couture. As she answered, I asked her how the weather there is and she said “…the skies are a topaz blue…” Based on her description I knew this was no ordinary artist and I was in for a treat!
MAE, you are living in Beverly Hills, California. Where are you originally from?
I’m from Minneapolis, Minnesota
What did you do before becoming a jewellery designer?
I’m a Model, and have been in the fashion industry for some time, modelling for catalogues, runway, hair and tradeshows, plus various local companies. I’m also a singer/songwriter; and an Equestrian.
How did you get started in making jewellery?
Ever since I was a little girl, I loved fashion and creating things like paper dolls to accessories; and have such a connection with nature and the outdoors. I attended an art and design university in Miami, Florida for 2 years, and took part in many projects and events the school had before I was expelled.
WHAT?!!! What happened?
The school held a competition in conjunction with Air France. The concept for this was “Sustainability” and you had to submit a drawing of your idea of what you will do a year in advance. I was advised by the head of the fashion department not to create this piece because of the controversial nature of the buckle on the belt; it was a fake brass pistol. I decided to go ahead and design it because this was my artistic translation of the concept. To me, our country was established with guns and denim, and so I created the belt.
It is composed of brass, leather, denim, vintage beading and chains. Each year, the competition was held at a different school, and when we designed our pieces, we did not know where it would be. So for that year, the showing was held at Oklahoma State University… and get this… their school’s mascot is “Pistol Pete!!!”
This sounds so similar to another famous artist who stood by his artistic vision, Andy Warhol. What did you walk away with from that experience?
I think the idea of being a designer is that you have to have a sense, almost psychic, to know what the public will want even a year in advance and continue to create it.
Tell me, what are your favourite mediums to work with? What’s your inspiration?
I like stones- rough, or polished and cut. Beading allows me design freedom, and when I get the pieces in my hands, I feel out the creation and start in a very raw manner. I like stones because of their healing properties; the fact that wearing them on your skin can unblock chakras and create a healthy energy from the magnetic vibration of different stones. The sheer beauty of organic material, I find very sensual and feminine. Mother earth is a part of all I create. I love the outdoors, being in nature, which is also why I keep a thoroughbred. It’s that connection which brings my designs together.
I agree, the energy I received from your necklaces in the photos was very strong, very vibrant. It’s like you create them for specific person or theme, and they hold a magnetic quality that’s kind of indescribable.
Right! Silk and leather are important elements in my line as well. I use a lot of shell and pearls in my collection … they represent the goddess, such as the Goddess Aphrodite, the sea and the life giving force of Yin energy, so emanating the feminine in my line to exalt and reflect the sensuality and health of women is a major component of all the organic and natural elements the Miss Mae Couture line is composed of.
Who wears Miss Mae Couture?
From pre-teens to women in their (50s) fifties; as well as several celebrity clients, Tori Spelling, Janice Dickinson, the ladies of Desperate Housewives (Eva Longoria and Teri Hatcher each own a piece), Sharon Stone. It’s for women that like to be noticed.
Where can our readers purchase your beautiful jewellery?
They can go to www.missmae.com . I can be contacted for commissioned pieces or through Etsy http://www.etsy.com/shop/QueenMissMae where I have my current collection. I am “couture” meaning one of a kind and handmade, therefore my collection holds about 20 pieces or so every season, and the collection changes constantly. I enjoy creating with a ”theme” for charity events and private collectors.
Where do you see Miss Mae Couture in the next 5 years?
I’d like to expand Miss Mae Couture to reach more people across the country and to participate in more fundraising events.
It was such a pleasure speaking with you Mae, thank you for this opportunity to interview you and on behalf of GOSH! About and the Vedic Image Group, we wish you much success in your design company.
Photo Credits: Miss Mae Couture, Mae Barkley
Article by GOSH! About and Vedic Image Group