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! MockiDesigns.etsy.com
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?
7. Where do you sell your work?
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!