Monica is an extremely talented designer residing in New York City.  Her Neo Victorian style is particularly inspiring to me as a fellow designer. I spend a good hour a day looking though her Etsy shop and favoring everything she makes! Visit her shop for inspiration!
1.Monica, you studied fashion design in Sweden.  What inspired you to move there for school?
I was born in Sweden, my whole family except my mom were there so when it was time for College it was natural for me to go back there. I spent one year in Art School and after a couple of years working with children. I was encouraged to get a Kindergarten Teachers Degree (“you can’t support yourself being an Artist”…:-( ) teaching was fine but I really missed my art and after
attending the State Art Academy at night while working and after my Doctor encouraged me to do what I love I applied to the most prestigious Design School in all of Scandinavia (now known as Beckmans School of Design) and was accepted! What joy! I’d applied to the Fashion Design class, there were only 13 of us accepted and it was a great 3 years! Once I graduated I designed some collections but decided that Illustration was more for me and I started freelancing, then I worked for three years at an Illustration Agency. Meanwhile I was missing the States and my boyfriend at the time (whom I met at Beckmans, he was in the Advertising class) and I decided to move to New York. I continued with freelancing and illustrated for Advertising, Publishing and a multitude of other Firms. Around 1999 I became really seriously interested in jewelry making and since then my style has evolved to the style I have now!

2. Your style is eclectic but the Neo Victorian element is always prevalent.  What about that era in design do you find so appealing?

Before my current style I designed a lot of whimsical nature inspired jewelry with silver, semi precious beads, shells, bark, leather, shells etc. However, I’ve always loved vintage/antique jewelry and the feminine style. Just didn’t know how to make it “mine”. Well, then I found Etsy and Steampunk! Whoa did I ever swoon! It was the perfect mix of fantasy, antique, feminine, sci fi, masculine, yin/yang you name it! I was intrigued, had no idea that what I was making was Neo Victorian, I was just incorporating my Art/ Fashion/Sculpture background with the antique, predominantly Victorian into what I call wearable art!

3. What is your creative process like? How do you begin a design?

My designs start in several ways. Sometimes I’ll get an idea from a piece of art, clothing, architecture, antique jewelry a book, someone on the street and more, and I’ll start sketching and then go to my favorite suppliers, like Calliopes Attic and start building up the supplies I need, tweeking as I go. Or while I’m looking for said supply I’ll see something else that I really love and then my brain starts designing and I end up with several different pieces instead of the one I started with! (ADHD much?) So the findings and stampings and other items inspire me to. Then I must admit that when I’m making something, pulling out the supplies I need and working on the item I’ll get other ideas, and another and another. In the end I’ll have several pieces stemming from one as the inspiration urge just keeps going! I see the process as more of a painting or clothing design. I add, take away, step away, look, go do something else, tweak whatever it takes until it feels right. Sometimes it can take me weeks to finish a complicated neck piece which leads to question 4.

4. What helps you through a creative block? What steps do you take if you get stuck?

I step away, do something else, another design, clean the apartment, go food shopping and step back when I feel I’m ready to go again! I have busts and my dress mannequin that I’ll put the piece on and then I’ll just eye it while I’m working with something else! My minds constantly working, ideas come constantly, it’s harder for me to shut it off than the opposite!

5.  You take very beautiful photographs of your work.  Can you give other designers some advice in showcasing their creation through photography?

Thank you! On Etsy they tell you to preferably use white or neutral backgrounds. I don’t agree except for supplies where you need to see every detail without distraction. At Beckmans I was taught that “presentation is everything”. Now the teacher was talking about our portfolios with art work (back when we ran around leaving/showing our illustrations with/to the Art and Creative Directors!), but this applies to our shops to. Pictures of the product has to get the attention of the potential customer. To do this you need to make it pretty and stand out. It’s window dressing, it has to invite the customer in to your shop!  As an Artist I decided to make it like paintings, choosing the background carefully so it complements the item (not drown it out by being too busy or loud) placement/composition is important to and photo editing as in cropping, centering, turning, lightening if too dark and sharpening if necessary. Daylight is always the best light as it shows truer colors. (Not direct sunlight though) I’ve tried daylight bulbs etc. but they can’t compete with daylight! (Unless you’re a professional photographer and have all the equipment,

cameras, lighting etc to get around that) Don’t forget to get different angles, front, sides, back and a life pic (person or mannequin so they can imagine the object and size of it on themselves). I don’t know how many shops I’ve seen with an unlit, tiny picture, all five from the same angle, neither enticing nor detailed!

6. Do you thrive on order or chaos? Is your studio organized or “creatively” arranged?

I’m very organized! Chaos stresses me out and I can’t stand wasting time running around looking for things that aren’t where they’re supposed to be. Only the board I’m working on has a lot of items on it so I can pull out what I might need as I design. In my defense, I’m a Swede, they teach us organization and tidiness starting in first grade. The reason being that “no employer wants to employ someone disorganized or incompetent”… If you’ve ever been to IKEA or seen a Swedish home you’ll know exactly! No slacking allowed or the wrath of mom would be felt! What can I say, it’s a Germanic thing! 

7. Where do you sell your work?

I sell on Etsy,, Facebook, I make custom orders as well and sell privately. You can also see me and my boards on

8. How do Calliopes Attic supplies help your creativity?  Do you have a favorite supply?
Calliopes Attic is the best! Love X 3! I don’t know how many times I’ve gone on to buy a certain finding and ended up in an inspirational full throttle by totally different items! The gorgeous patinas are fabulous on the awesome stampings, that’s what drew me in in the beginning and got me hooked. In fact some of the patinas are so beautiful that I can’t bring myself to cover them up with any additional stampings or items like I usually do! I love the whole shop, if I HAD to choose I really love the wide/large filigree Victorian cuff, especially the black and I really loved the Neo Victorian Steampunk one in Honey, Verdigris, Black patina that I recently bought several of. The Cleopatra necklace blank is fab to as are the little swirly dragons, cherubs and leafy findings. Shoot, just put a link to the shop here> <, I would have to name most everything in the shop to be honest!

9. What would you like to see CalliopesAttic carry that I currently do not have?

Don’t really know, hmmm, earring findings and more chain maybe? But not really necessary, you have a great choice as is! The patinas are so fabulous and your specialty so keep up the great work!

10. Feel free to add anything you want.

Just want to say that I’m not a jeweler but an Artist and Designer and that’s why I call my one of a kind pieces for art wear! As for my nick name, Mocki pronounced Moh-key, came from my pronunciation of my name Monica when I started talking. It’s how I’ve been signing all of my art since I could write!



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