The Mark Poulin Interview!

Hello Readers:

The very talented and prolific jewelry designer, Mark Poulin, kindly agreed to answer some (slightly odd) questions for Bread and Cake.  I think you’ll enjoy this window into his jewelry-designing mind.  His work can be found in his Etsy store and on his website.


B + C: How would you define “jewelry” to someone from another planet?

Jewelry is an object we wear on our bodies as an adornment, it can range from the simple and understated to the flashy and attention grabbing. The wearer uses this as an extension of his or her fashion sense and an as expression of their personality.

Jewelry satisfies so many of an earthlings needs. First off, so many of us have a need to collect, and with so many styles of jewelry it is easily collectible. Also we earthlings are a sentimental bunch and jewelry can mark so many of our occasions from our births to our weddings to our deaths. Jewelry also gives us a sense of style and allows us to express our personal taste and sometimes flaunt our status. There are some of us that wear the same jewelry every day of our lives and others who change it multiple times a day.

B + C: Please describe the place where you make your creations. What do you like to keep around you for inspiration?

I love my West Oakland workshop. It has the space to spread out. Separate places for soldering, polishing, enameling, photographing, designing, and for my piles of unfinished projects. All I really need for inspiration is a good sound track and a sketchbook.

 B + C: Do you have a favorite type of jewelry (e.g. ring, bracelet, necklace, etc.) to make? What is it and why?

 I love rings. I really love rings. Even though I’m known more for making necklaces, there is something about rings that fascinates me. They seem to carry an intimacy with them.

B + C: What is your favorite piece of jewelry that you ever made? Where is it today, if you know?

The first ring I ever made. I still have it. It was a simple cut out of hammers and nails on a wide band.

B + C: What is your favorite technique to use in your jewelry making and why?

I just love enameling. Fusing glass to metal will always amaze me, as will the possibilities that that can produce. I think this passion comes from all the years I worked as a ceramicist, clay and glaze, enamel and metal.

B + C: What theme or vision do you feel that your line reflects?

I feel like I’m trend based, but not in a shopping mall kind of way, rather in an underground crafty kind of way. I appeal to the people who like quirky. Everything I make is a little off kilter, made to steal hearts like an old dog at the pound you just have to take home and love. I am that little bridge between the cartoon world and the jewelry world.

B + C: Do you have a favorite jewelry designer?  Who is it and what do you like about his or her work?

I’m more inspired by illustrators and painters than jewelers. Right now I’m obsessed with Deth P Sun and with Luke Chueh. In my opinion both painters have elevated a cartoon style to a higher art. Both are prolific and draw all the time. Both are very down to earth.

B + C: Predictions? Plans? Are there future projects, shows, or sales that you would like to share with us?

I’m excited about 2012. I’ll be releasing ten new sterling silver mother and daughter charm sets, a new cartoon glass jewelry line. I’m really expanding my pure-modern jewelry shapes and adding some exciting color combinations. I’m also drawing some images for a puzzle company geared towards kids. That should keep me busy.

The Effect of Bracelets

There is something more personal about jewelry that is worn on the hands.  Perhaps that is because the wearer can see it do what jewelry is designed to do — to be in and interact with the world.  You can see how your bracelets move and how your rings break the light.  I am sure that seeing your jewelry behave as mobile art changes how you feel about those pieces.

While rings are by far my favorite type of jewelry, bracelets have a special place in my heart as the first type of jewelry I tried to make as a child — friendship bracelets and bracelets made out of coiled wire, to be specific.

Bracelets are very expressive and different bracelet styles contribute different things.  Cuff bracelets add a visual break and can foreshorten the arm — much liked cropped pants do for the leg.  Bangles can be musical and dramatic as they orbit around a wrist adding movement.  Then, there are chains with focal points and charms. They swing and sway and add length to arms and hands.  In addition, each type can change a great deal depending on materials.  A leather cuff, for example, is very different in overall effect from a beaded cuff.

Blue Keum-Boo Cuff -- by Judy Parady

Twisted Sterling Silver Bangle Bracelet with a Gypsy Set Blue Sapphire - by Two Trick Pony

Woodland Love Charm Bracelet - by Mark Poulin

These fine examples of fun bracelets can be found here: Blue Keum-Boo Cuff — by Judy Parady; Twisted Sterling Silver Bangle Bracelet with a Gypsy Set Blue Sapphire – by Two Trick Pony; and Woodland Love Charm Bracelet – by Mark Poulin.