Marilyn Brogan’s jewellery exudes peace and beauty – her gentle lines put me in mind of clouds drifting by in a bright blue sky. Perhaps it’s a result of the workspace that she has surrounded herself with – a sun-filled rooftop studio with displays of cacti and succulents and other small collections of rocks, shells and tree debris gathered from her daily walks. Maybe too it’s the simple beauty of the handmade, and its presentation on a softly textured backgrounds. Whatever it is, it’s all a beautiful package.
She started her art career amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. First studying at Virginia Commonwealth University in their highly acclaimed sculpture program, she then gained a fellowship as a Core Student at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, and fell in love with metalworking.
As she says, she “followed a boy across the country to sunny San Diego”, and opened up a shop on Etsy, selling prints of drawings made at their kitchen table. With the vision of a home jewellery studio firmly in her head, over the next year or so she managed to accumulate the equipment and fundamental tools she needed. Pieces of jewellery increasingly made their way onto Etsy and in 2010, she moved her workspace from home to the rooftop studio that was once the piano bar of a historic hotel.
Being responsible to the environment is very important to her, and every piece of jewellery is constructed individually from recycled gold and silver, and from ethically sourced and traceable stones.
It’s obvious she loves what she does; the connection between her as the maker, the things she makes and the people who wear them is one she treasures – “I create each piece from raw materials to ensure that every one is unique, and so customers can share my passion, knowing that they have something made only for them.” And that love permeates through the making process too – “Metal is the best material – it’s so flexible and forgiving… Fine jewelry should be a work of art, not a mass-produced object cast and created by the thousands. That’s why all of my work is shaped, soldered and polished by hand.”