Interview with de Maquis

As a fan of de Maquis Designs, I was delighted when Jennica Vincent agreed to let me interview her for my blog and show some of the designs I love most from her shop. I bet you will fall for her jewellery too when you see her Instagram account. Jennica focuses on Mediterranean-inspired handmade jewelry through her artist-owned/run cooperative in Corvallis, Oregon.

de Maquis

Her de Maquis Designs shop is filled with beautiful creations rich with texture and shape. I love how she designs a mix of organic and nature-inspired creations, while also having some linear and graphic-aligned looks. There really is something for everyone.

Trattatu - Armatu | Demaquis

How long have you been doing what you’re doing?
I’ve been making and selling jewelry since I was nine, but opened up ‘shoppe’ in Fall 2019.
de Maquis
What inspired you to make this a business?
My friends were so so complimentary of my handmade jewelry, but what pushed me into business was when acquaintances, and even strangers began asking to buy the jewelry off my body – this started happening quickly and A LOT. I started getting requests and making custom pieces/gifts, and I began giving away so much jewelry that I decided to start selling it to *hopefully* cover the costs of my gifting habit. As an artist, I never intended to have a business – so I made a worker-owned-and-run cooperative instead. But so far, it’s still a one-woman show.

School Gate Shawlette 0419

Where did your company name come from?
De Maquis has multiple inspirations and interpretations. Maquis are the lowland shrubs that cover the Corsican landscape – uniquely picturesque and abundantly aromatic – it’s like medicine for my soul. It’s also the name of the rural guerrilla bands of French and Spanish Resistance fighters during WWII. De Maquis translates directly to “of the Maquis” or “from the Maquis”, representing my favorite place in the world, and the inspiration for my art.
What do you like about what you do?
Absolutely every single step up until the selling part.
What fuels you in your work?
Depression? haha. But seriously, I started making jewelry regularly about two years ago, as a “winter craft” to keep me inspired during the dark, dreary winters in the Willamette Valley. Now, my customers and followers (positive feedback) fuel me to produce more. I like to think my jewelry fuels my life goals – living in Corsica and having a brick & mortar art cooperative.
de Maquis
How does your environment inspire your work?
I do most of my creative work when the weather outside is cold, drizzly, and ubiquitously cloudy. I pass that time dreaming about the environment I aspire to live in – Corsica – and create pieces that evoke my memories and longings for the island. I’m always looking at pictures of Corsica so the inspiration comes easy!
What is your approach to your work?
Designs come to me at their will – if I’m lucky, I can jot down a sketch on nearby paper/phone/my own hand. With a full-time job, I have more designs than I have jewelry-making time. When I can find time, I like to sit down and go through my materials to see what combinations inspire me or can best execute a new idea or previous sketch.
de Maquis
How do you approach your work on a piece or product?
Typically, I make one piece at a time – then I wear it, gift it, and/or add a photo of it to my Instagram. If it gets enough positive feedback, I turn that piece into my sample and create another or a small batch for sale. Recently, I’ve realized I have far too many samples (for no real workspace) and need to start selling those off!
Tool you cannot live without?
Needle-nose pliers
Finish this sentence: “When I am not working I am… “
…making jewelry 🙂
Nautilus | de Maquis
What do you like about being part of the small business community where you are?
‘Shop Local’ has a strong presence here, and a good portion of the community goes out of their way to support local artisans and art. There are city-sanctioned murals around every corner of our downtown, and summertime has been known to deliver a handful of outdoor, public pianos as well. We have arts fairs and festivals and benefit tremendously by the presence of university with its own music department – home to my favorite-sounding building on campus. It’s definitely a community that appreciates the arts.
Anything else you want to share or reflect upon?
Thanks for making this interview process introvert-friendly 😉
de Maquis

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