We are absolutely thrilled to welcome MEGAN THORNE to our Los Angeles and Oakland locations in the next two weeks for our first trunk shows with the Texas-based designer! In anticipation of her upcoming visits, I was so fortunate to be able to chat with Megan all about her background and processes and to glean even more inspiration from this incredible artist.
MEGAN THORNE TRUNK SHOWS
Alexis: Hi Megan! Can you start off by telling us a bit about how you got your start in jewelry?
Megan: Accidental and serendipitous. I actually studied apparel design and worked briefly in the fashion industry as assistant designer for a lingerie company. My love of flowers and feminine details goes deep!
I took a metalsmithing class on a whim, and wow, I was hooked. The torch, the tools, oh they just felt intuitive and right in my hands. So, I left my dream job for a new passion, and returned to metalsmithing school to learn waxes and setting and casting. The vibe is similar – graceful lines, delicate beautiful details – just rendered in gold rather than fabric.
A: What does a typical day in the studio look like for you?
M: After dropping off my son at school, I’m in the studio around 8am. Order and organization do not come naturally to me, if left to my own devices I’ll have a million projects swirling at once – bench work, bills, drawings, phone calls, stone selection! - but blessedly my husband and business partner, Jaz, is all about a system. And truthfully, and somewhat obviously despite my own predilection for disorder, the team runs more smoothly with everyone working in sync. So the first thing I do is open our flow software to see what my priority tasks are.
Years ago, I made every piece, and now that is not the case – which is a such good thing, because Florie, Cassie, and Jaz are amazing jewelers! – but I still like to get my hands on each jewel. I do the final finishing and polishing. Typically I’ll try to knock out my bench work in the morning when I’m bright-eyed.
My ideal day would begin at the bench, followed by sorting through parcels of stones, drawings for custom projects, and wrap up with new design concepts. However, let’s be honest, a typical day is bench work, bills and business-y tasks, emails (why so many emails!?), hopefully completing at least one custom concept illustration in my mountain of a stack, and then a frantic race to FedEx before final drop-off closes.
A: What are some of your inspirations and influences? Is there a thought process or method you go through when designing?
M: Both of my grandmothers were influential in my creative development. One was an art teacher and ceramicist, and the other a seamstress at a bridal salon. I grew up surrounded by laces and trims, spent summers painting and sculpting clay, and have just always known I would go into an art field.
I am so beyond lucky that I still have both of my grandmothers - into their 90s now! - and making jewelry that can be passed from one generation to the next is so important to me. I keep them in mind when designing, valuing timeless feminine details that will age beautifully.
A: What does the idea of adornment mean to you?
M: Dirty little secret – I wear very little jewelry on a daily basis. My thin super simple gold wedding band that Jaz made me, and yep, that’s it. My actual engagement ring is my great-grandmother’s; it is so special to me, I don’t wear it when working to keep it protected from grit and grime. I’ve gone through phases where I am loyal to a signature piece – I wore one of the first rings I carved in jewelry school religiously for years, and then a phase where I hung my beloved great-Aunt Millie’s husband’s pocket knife on a vintage chain necklace, and a wide diamond dewdrop smattered gold cuff from my first collection never left my wrist until I desperately needed funds one hard spell and sent a batch of things off to the refinery.
So, to me, adornment is insight. People I love, moments I’m proud of, honoring the ebb and flow of my individual life and its quirks, scars, and delights. I feel like I’m entering a new season and am curious to find the talisman that speaks to the woman I am today, open to welcoming a new glowy gold friend to accompany me on the next voyage.
A: What is on the horizon for you? Any upcoming new designs or projects you’d like to share?
M: This sounds bananas as a designer, but I’m dipping my toes into COLOR. My love affair with gold started it all, I just can’t get enough of that rich buttery warmth. A little diamond sparkle was like gilding the golden lily – happy to do it! But despite wearing color in clothing with abandon, surrounding myself with prints galore at home, I was never comfortable with a bold gemstone as the focal point of my work. I’m feeling a little more assertive though, and am giddily exploring the world of gemstones and color in new collections I’m working on.