I am big fan of anyone who really adds something new to style in jewelry. Also, total respect for someone who actually dares to do something different. And that’s why I’m so happy to have on the Inspiration Series- Sera of Maple + Mauve.
I was so drawn by the bare simplicity of her work and the sheer minimalism that makes it so chic. The minimal trend has caught on, and I’m totally on board with it.
However, Sera’s work is not just the normal minimal- it stands out like pieces of art in a stream of manufactured ‘minimals’. She’s also got a sharp eye for aesthetics, and I love how that reflects in her work. My perspective on her beautiful jewelry would be : modern, unaffected, focused and rare. Read on to her what she has to say!
Please tell me a little bit about yourself.
My name is Sera Rogers and I am the owner of Maple + Mauve, a Seattle based jewelry studio specializing in concrete, wood, and ceramic wares. I started Maple + Mauve in 2012 when I decided to make minimal and architecturally inspired jewelry for myself. Then I started sharing it with the world. This little video highlights a closer and more intimate look at my making process.
I love your minimal and cool style! Do you have a particular theme for each batch of jewelry you create? Is it planned or more spontaneous?
Thank you! Each piece is quite planned. I usually conceptualize my designs at night before I go to bed. I think my mind starts to quiet then and I can visualize my creative direction more clearly. Typically, I start with a sketch and then I will either 3D print, or cut the mold from wood, then start the casting process. Often I’ll make my designs out of paper first to get a sense of shape and scale.
What was the hardest (and easiest) part while starting your business?
The hardest part of starting a business, in my opinion, is convincing yourself you can. I have gone through so many personal ups and downs throughout the process. Being part of such a talented, yet very saturated market, it can take some convincing that you belong. Whenever I feel stressed or start to second guess myself I look for personal support from friends and family. My dear friend Becky famously assures me, ‘you are lovable and capable.’ I try to repeat this to myself as much as possible. It helps me remember to be kind to myself. No one gets anywhere alone, and my friends and family are as much to credit for my success as I am.
I am probably happiest at the very beginning of the creative process, or for me, the idea-generating part. Ideas usually flow when I am most relaxed and most often when I am traveling and exploring. When you can achieve a mindset that is completely open to new ideas, regardless of what barriers you think stand in the way, creative opportunities become completely endless. This mental place is where my best work comes from.
Could you give us a glimpse in a typical day at work?
No two days are exactly the same. I usually wake up and immediately make a cup of coffee. Then, weather permitting, I walk around Greenlake (a lake very close to my neighborhood) with a few of my whip-smart and inspiring girlfriends. It’s important for me to get out of the studio and into the fresh Seattle air, both for my creative mind and my social needs. If I don’t make a conscious effort to do that, I can very easily go the whole day with my head down working inside and then, come nightfall, I am very grumpy. After that, a typical day involves concrete casting and clay molding, often in the morning and then again in the early evening. My afternoons are usually consumed with emailing, shipping, photography and bookkeeping. I try to stick to a fairly structured schedule, especially because my husband keeps fairly 9-5 business hours and I want to be able to spend evenings with him. If I don’t consciously make that effort, I can easily work all night.
Confidence, hard work and humility are needed to keep up with being a small business owner. Being able to admit that you don’t know everything, asking for help, and allowing yourself to be open to constructive criticism are certainly key to growing and improving. As far as enjoying running a business, being your own boss certainly has it’s advantages. A flexible work schedule is probably the best part. That, and creating work that I can call my own, and that I am proud of is incredibly gratifying. I work more than I did when I held more conventional jobs, but for me, it’s much more rewarding.
(Love the peaceful vibes of Sera’s studio- all the greens, blues and whites!)
Where do you see yourself in a few years?
I would love to have a larger studio space, and an assistant!
What motivates and inspires you the most?
I love traveling throughout the Pacific Northwest and pull inspiration from the people I meet and the places I am fortunate enough to explore. I feel so grateful to live in a vibrant city that supports local artists. There is so much talent here! Alternatively, I find myself feeling inspired by old oddities. I love to go to vintage markets, consignment shops and estate sales. It’s a small thrill for me to imagine the relationship people had with certain objects before I interact with them.
How long has jewellery making been your hobby? How did you think you could convert your hobby into a business?
I’ve been making this kind of jewelry since 2012, but I’ve been a maker my whole life. I thought I could make it a business when people started asking where they could purchase my designs, but I was creating and selling my work for almost 2 years before taking the leap and transitioning Maple + Mauve into to a full time career.
What present would you like to receive? (For any occasion)
Probably a membership to audible.com, so I could listen to all the books on my ‘to read’ list while I work! I love to read but can’t always find the time; and there are so many mornings when I am very much in a book listening mood while I am creating. I don’t know why I haven’t just broken down and done this for myself already, I most likely will just go ahead and do so after this interview.
Any insight on your name Maple + Mauve?
I once read a story in a children’s book about William Perkin’s accidental invention of the color mauve while mixing chemicals. I liked that a beautiful color was created by chance and then went on to inspire, and in a way revolutionize fashion. I found that optimism inspiring and wanted to have the same approach with my products. I thought “mauve” seemed lonely by itself. Since I knew one of my mediums would be wood, ‘maple’ followed quite organically.
Thanks, Sera, for a glimpse into Maple + Mauve! Wishing you all the best ahead! -Aaria