“Finding balance is critical, because there's no point in doing this if it starts to feel like 'work.'”
Introducing our Kindred Artist of the Week series! We are big fans of all the artists we work with and we are so excited to share their stories!
This week’s featured artist is Deb Gregoire, the marvelous maker behind Marteau Designs. Her jewelry combines nature inspired shapes and fine metals into elegant, organic pieces.
Who are you?
Deb Gregoire. I'm the owner, designer and maker at Marteau Designs! This is really a side hustle as I also work full time.
What do you do?
I'm a metalsmith- marteau is French for hammer. I make jewelry. Mostly silver and gold, sometimes brass or copper. I sometimes set stones as well. My main focus is on earrings but I also make rings, bracelets, and necklaces. I'm experimenting with hairsticks and such and have some ideas about some housewares like coasters and cookie cutters. But that is all still in dream state.
Who/what inspires you?
I'm super inspired by the gorgeous mountains right outside our doors! I do a lot of mountain themed pieces that people really respond to. Other than the mountainscapes, I steer away from creating literal reproductions of nature. I prefer to translate the essence of a place or thing into a piece through texture, lines, mixing metals... I am fascinated right now with sandwiching metal with kelp fronds and other organic materials and running them through the rolling mill. It creates these amazing raw, elegant textures.
What’s your favorite moment in the process?
I really, really love using all of my tools! I use hammers, torches, files, and saws to shape and transform raw metal into something more elegant and interesting. Metalsmithing is pretty dirty work which feels really incongruous with the final product. It's such a transformation. I get nervous about clients seeing any work mid-process because it can just look like a mess. It's important to have faith that transformation is possible. I admit that I get a nice boost from the positive response of customers. It's really lovely, actually.
What’s a trick of your trade, or a piece of advice for other artists in your medium?
Find a dedicated space for your work with good natural light and adequate ventilation. Once you learn how to safely operate your equipment, be confident in using them and don't be afraid to experiment with new materials or techniques.
I'm attending a weekend retreat in April designed for creatives to provide tools for elevating their businesses. Because I work full time and want to have a full life with my family and friends playing in these beautiful mountains, I don't have more time currently to dedicate to Marteau Designs. I'm hoping this retreat with help me sort out some systems that will allow me to spend most of my limited time on the creative process and also develop a long term (read: slow) plan for expanding my reach. Finding balance is critical because there's no point in doing this if it starts to feel like "work".
Stop by the shop to see our selection of Deb's jewelry!