In the first part of the interview, we were talking to Maggie Bokor of Maggie Bokor Jewelry about the inspirations behind her creations. In the second part of this interview, we discuss her interactions with her customers, her materials, and the natural world.
Q: What is your creation process like?
MB: Everything starts in my sketch book. I find inspiration everywhere: in conversation, on a hike, looking at a photograph. Something catches my eye and my intrigue with the object, form or feeling often end up on the pages of my sketchbook.
As a jeweler, I have a tendency to draw up a full collection – I never stop with a singular piece. This pushes me to go past the ordinary answers and end up with more exciting designs. It is also important to think about how the work will translate on the body of the wearer. Even though I consider each piece to be a work of art to look at, making it pleasurable to wear is of the utmost importance.
If I like what I sketch, I’ll make little sculptures out of plasticine clay, which is a non-drying clay. Once I like the clay model, I will make a rubber mold of it or go to directly to making a precious metal clay model. It isn’t always so straightforward; there is often trials and tribulations. I have little plasticine models that hang out on my table for months while I stew over where to take them. I give myself time to consider the size and shape and weight of each piece. Once I am completely satisfied with the final fired fine silver design, then I will cast it in sterling silver. I have blast working with each component to create a unified collection while adding the final touches including finish and stone or pearl embellishments.
Q: You use silver as the primary base of your jewelry. What about silver speaks to you?
MB: Part of it is my own taste; silver is mainly what I wear myself. It goes well with every color. It is durable, easy to work with, and affordable. I am starting to branch out to mixed metals and will start adding gold to my line next year, so I look forward to expanding my vision and love of gold.
Q: You like to make jewelry custom for clients so that they fit perfectly. Why?
MB: The concept of a store like Quinstance centers on finding something special and authentic to you. That is important to me as well; I always want people to find the perfect piece for themselves and I will do what I can to cater to my client’s vision. As a wholesale jeweler, there are can be many steps between myself and my client. I stay very close to all of my buyers, share my stories and give them tools to help educate their staff about my work. This way, the client feels like they are talking directly to me when they shop in a store like Quinstance.
Q: Is there one piece in particular that you feel especially proud of?
MB: I’m quite proud of the Seagrass Necklace from my newest collection. All the individual seagrass tendrils are made independently so the necklace has its own intrinsic movement that reminds the wearer of walking by the edge of the ocean. I feel like this collection emphasizes my strong connection to the natural world as well as my sculpture background. It’s just the tip of the iceberg of what I can offer as a sculpting jeweler and I am already brainstorming two new collections to launch this summer that will continue define my brand and abilities.
Q: Speaking of your connection to nature, your work is best described as “organic.” You use natural concepts and bodies as inspiration. What about nature in particular inspires you?
MB: We live in such a vastly beautifully organic world. There is a never ending abundance of new shapes and images to inspire me in the natural world and I spend a lot of time doing just that.
We are bombarded by technology: surrounded by the inorganic and the unresponsive. The time I spend out in the world revitalizes me and allows me to tap into true inspiration. I love making work that reminds others to do the same.
I’m a very tactile person so when I am out in nature, I am constantly touching things. My jewelry incorporates unique textures to encourage the wearer to connect with it. For instance my Echo collection has a very zen quality by creating a series of stacked smooth circles that you can follow with your finger round and round in mediation. My Birch collection has that bumpy bark-like texture that reminds you of a walk in the woods.
Q: Maggie Bokor, what is your quinstance?
MB: It’s my Echo circle necklace. I wear it more than anything else.
Echo is the beginning of my story. It was my first yes – my first feeling of “This is right.” It has since become my totem. It’s an endless circle. It reminds me that, no matter where I am on my path or how dark it becomes, everything is cyclical. It is one of the few pieces I wear all the time. They feel like a part of me.