New Year, New FAQ

It is high-time I update my frequently asked questions page for the new year. Here are some of my most common inquiries listed, with the answers in-depth below:

Where do you find your bones?
How can I have a custom piece made? 
Do you offer repairs? 
How do I find my ring size, wrist size, necklace length, etc? 
Where did you study? How did you learn to draw/paint/make jewelry?  
What is your creative process like? 
How do both your painting practice and jewelry-making practice influence or inform each other? 
Where do you draw your inspiration from? 
I want to learn how to work with metal, where do I start? 
Can I work with/for/ apprentice under you? Do you ever offer workshops or tutorials?
Are you open to trades?
Do you offer wholesale or consignment to retailers that want to carry your work?
Which retailers sell your work?

Do you have a question that isn’t covered here? 
Send me a message: hello@morgainefaye.com

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Where do you find your bones?

 I am a scavenger by nature and am always looking for remains even if I am walking in the city. Unfortunately, road casualties are common wherever there are roads. 

When I am hiking, camping, or traveling I am always scouting for remains and other treasures I can collect and use for my art. There are plenty of finds that I leave behind, but if I think a material can be given a new life, I’ll usually bring it home with me for processing.


About 90% of the bones I offer are scavenged locally by me from either natural remains or road casualties. The other 10% come from several sources, most commonly friends, fans, clients will often give me bones they find hiking, or trade me bones that I know to be from natural deaths. Now that I have been working with bones for a few years, I am lucky enough to have local fans and folks who scout for me. I’ll often get texts that say “hey, there’s a road-squirrel on 38th” or “I just drove by X on the I26.” I’ve even had folks deliver and gift remains to me, these are always fun. Especially when its during a dinner party. My birthday presents are…unconventional….I’ll say that.

I will also use waste materials from other sources including thrifted and second-hand clothing, taxidermy. I have utilized scrap fur from vintage clothing, scrap leather and repurposed bone knife handles. Here in Portland, people have a habit of leaving free piles in front of their houses rather than trashing or donating unwanted items. I have found furs, bones, jewelry, furniture, clothing, leather and other art materials in the street. It is an odd but fruitful occurrence here in the Northwest. I see no problem with utilizing these found materials for my work. To me they feel ethically acceptable to use, as I hate to see this beautiful material go to waste in the rain.

I have never killed or harmed an animal to work with its bones or remains. To do so would go against my personal ethics. The animals I used are long dead before we ever meet. Because I do not buy bulk bones, the pieces I make are often one-of-a-kind or only available in limited quantities as resources allow. All the bones I find are processed myself using non-toxic processes that are safe for wear. I make every effort to utilize or re-purpose all my animal materials so that nothing is wasted.

 

How can I have a custom piece made?

I only offer custom work a few times a year, and my list tends to fill up quickly. The best way to be notified about when I am open for custom work is to join my mailing list, or email me at hello@morgainefaye.com and let me know you’d like to be added to the list. Once I am taking on new custom projects you will be notified.

I’ll ask you for a brief description of what you are looking for, sizing details, stones you want, and I will give you an estimate based on the amount of labor and materials needed. Once terms are agreed upon, I will send you an invoice and get to work. Often I will send you a few sketches of what I plan to make so we are both on the same page. In most cases, full payment is due up front, but for more elaborate projects, payment plans can be arranged. 

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Do you offer repair services?

It depends! If its a piece I made, and it has a structural flaw that has been noticed within a couple weeks of purchase, I am happy to fix it right up free of charge, but you are responsible for shipping it to me, and I will cover return shipping. 

If you have had one of my pieces for a while, and needs damage repaired, bezel tightening, re-polishing, resize, or any other kind of adjustment made, I am happy to do so for a reasonable fee.

 If you need a repair on a piece of jewelry that I did not make, I will only accept these projects as my time and skills allow. If i think I can do it, and I have time, I’m happy to help. Email me a description and images of what needs repair and I will give you my rates, or refer you to another jeweler who can help.

 

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How do I find my ring size, wrist size, necklace length, etc?

Ring size: 

I will send you a free adjustable, reusable ring sizer in the post. Just email me your postal address and let me know you’d like a sizer mailed. Once it arrives, it slips on much like a tiny belt and you can measure any finger, and even get midi sizes. You may also purchase multiple ring sizers in the shop for $1 each. Search for “ring sizer.”

Necklace length: 

The best way to find what length of chain you need, is to get a long twine or non-stretching string. Pass the twine around the back of your neck, and pull the end of the twine to where you want your pendant to hang. Using your thumb to keep track of the length, remove and measure. Another way is to string a little pendant on your twine, and to loosen the twine until it hangs at your desired length. Remove the twine and measure. Use this length order custom chains. If you want to know how a particular length of necklace or chain will fall on your body, cut your twine to this length and see where it falls. For a general idea, 18 inch chains hit just below the collarbone, 30 inch chains will hang below the sternum on most folks. The twine method is the best way to visualize the length of a necklace on your own body.

Bracelet size: 

Cuffs - Cut a strip of paper or card stock, or use a measuring tape, get the diameter of your wrist. Using the tape, or a strip pf paper at least 1 inch wide,measure just above the wrist “knuckle” bone that protrudes slightly. This is where you will be sliding your cuff on and off, and where it should rest if sized properly. Give me the full diameter, and I will use this to find your size and and what size opening you will need for your cuff.

Bangles - create  point or beak shape with all your fingers, like you would if you were slipping your hand into a tight bangle. While your hand is in the position, measure the diameter of your hand at the widest point: the knuckles. Give me with diameter and I will use it to find your size bangle.

Need help finding a different measurement? Send me an email: hello@morgainefaye.com

 

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Where did you study? How did you learn to draw/paint/make jewelry?

I have a BFA in Illustration from Pacific Northwest College of Art and have been exhibiting my work in galleries locally and internationally since 2008. As an illustrator I’ve created everything from album art, to editorial illustrations, to branding. I have had 2 years of formal metalsmith training from Cabrillo College in my hometown of Santa Cruz, California. For 3 years I fabricated miniatures for a stop-motion animation studio in Portland, Oregon. I have created armatures, puppets, props, costumes, sets and set designs. I have been selling jewelry online since 2012, but I’ve been making jewels for myself for much longer than that. I aim to always improve the quality and craftsmanship of my work and always be experimenting and learning new techniques and processes. Developing new methods is the core of my practice, and experimentation heavily informs whatever I am working on at the time.

It is often challenging to balance all of my interests, and when I get the time I aspire to learn so many other crafts. I dream of constructing my own clothing, welding furniture, starting other ventures. I think it comes down to my love for collecting, problem solving, recycling, and being thrifty. 

 

What is your creative process like?

It depends on what I am working on, and the amount of time I am given, but I like to begin all projects with research, either for themes of techniques for what I aim to make.  For larger projects and series, I will gather all my references, materials, and tools together so that once I start working I don;t need to stop to look something up. Then the drawing or designing staged happen. For drawing and painting, this is act apart that takes the longest. I will start with a rough sketch and refine and redraw and retrace and tighten up until I feel I have something that is “finished” or ready to be painted.I also take a ton of my own reference material, because I find that having it is always useful, even if I’m mainly working out of my head, or making something heavily stylized. I like having all the info and details at my disposal so I can simplify and pull out the most important ones in relation to what I’m trying to convey.

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For jewelry my process is different, and actually varies a lot depending on what I’m making and how tight the deadline is. If its tight I want t maximize the time I have to fabricate. When planning a larger collection, leave lots of time for planning and conceptualizing. I do all the above, but I also have to plan how to reproduce it many times, and also make it wearable, and somewhat coherent together. This involves prototyping, patterning, making custom tools and jigs to simplify my process. All these aspects of my process are hidden in the final product. But its usually my favorite part of the work.

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How do both your painting practice and jewelry-making practice influence or inform each other?

It is no coincidence that the figures in my artwork often feature some form of bodily adornment. I’ve always been interested in the ways different cultures and time periods influence how humans have adorned their bodies. Bodily decoration, identity, personal relics, and archetypal symbology, these are all strong reoccurring  themes in my 2d work, so when I started saving up and buying smithing tools in 2012 to start my jewelry line, I kept in mind these more elaborate fantastical designs that I dreamed I might bring to life some day. Even if my skills at the time were not there quite yet.

As I have developed my “voice” with silver and with my jewelry line, I feel it finally is starting to look more like my hand, and be on-par with my 2-d work. Though if I’m being honest, I feel ultra rusty in the 2d department these days, and I’m working to remedy that. Balancing multiple passions on top of running my business has been a real challenge, and leaving time for myself to experiment and make mistakes isn’t always possible. Painting can fall by the wayside if I don’t have painting deadlines. Deadlines rule my creative world. Another thing I’m trying to remedy.

I feel that being a jeweler has made me a better planner, and designing in 3 dimensions allows me to used parts of my brain that I don’t always need to use when I’m drawing or painting. Jewelry is technically small-scale functional sculpture, and it has taken me a bit to get used to thinking of it that way. 

One other aspect where these two mediums overlap, is being able to fabricate the very detailed props for images or paintings I want to make. That way I can get the lighting and details just right. Often its hard to imagine how the light might reflect off say, a metallic surface. Making a miniature version, or cardboard version  of a prop can really help with creating compositions and nailing down the correct angles.

More and more I’m looking for ways to incorporate drawing into my jewelry, and more recently have developed some techniques for doing this. By incorporating stampings, repose, scrimshaw, and engraving I can start to mix in my figures, animals, and the precise linework my 2d art is known for.

 

Where do you draw Inspiration from?

These days much of my inspirations comes from ancient and medieval art. I am fascinated with these eras when all belongings were handmade. I feel there is something really special about a well-crafted object, especially if its a tool or functional object. Right now I’m obsessed with european armor and weaponry. Even the most crudely fashioned and brutal tools of death have a kind of beauty. I like to think about the person who fabricated it. And I observed the ornamental and design details they chose to incorporate. It’s morbid, but these are the things I’m taken with then I see them. I feel they look quite charming in small scale, with the added prestige of precious gems and relics.

I’m also a huge scavenger, and love to explore and hike. Though my business keeps me in the city most days, I get into the woods as often as I can. Being with nature really charges me up, and the forms and patterns inform my work and style immensly. Mostly, i try to draw my inspirations from outside of art. Music, melancholy, strife: these are huge inspirations as well.

I keep a tumblr of inspirations as well: cultcult.tumblr.com

I want to learn how to work with metal, what should I do?

If you wan too learn how to fabricate with metal using a torch, or any method that involved heat and fire, I recommend taking a class so that you can learn the ins and outs of your equipment and the safest practices for your studio. Check your local community college, or art center to see what is being offered in your area.

If you just want to learn some basic metal piercing, shaping, and cold connection techniques, youtube is a great place to find tutorials on almost anything.

Books are the next best resource. Some books in my studio:

 

Can I work with/for/ apprentice under you? Do you ever offer workshops or tutorials?

I’m currently a one-woman operation with extra no time, space, or bandwidth to to teach or train someone else. I don’t have plans to offer any workshops soon, as I very much feel like I am still developing my own skills. 

I would like to start offering tutorials, walkthroughs, and process videos and have considered doings so via a platform like Patreon. Any developments on this front will be announced on my social media channels, but I recommend you check out the reading list I shared above if you are interested in making silver jewelry.

 

Are you open to trades?

Sometimes! I do a handful of trades each year. If you have an item or service that you think I would be interested in, please send me a thoughtful message at hello@morgianefaye.com

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Do you offer wholesale or consignment to shops that want to carry your items?

If you are a retailer interested in carrying my line in your brick-and-mortar shop, send me an email at hello@morgainefaye.com and I will send you a pdf of my line sheet. I no longer am adding any consignment shops to my roster.

If you are a gallery interested in carrying one of a kind jewels and original art, send me an email to see what works are available  hello@morgainefaye.com

 Which galleries and retailers sell your work?
You can find my work in the following physical locations:

Antler Gallery - Portland, Oregon
antlerpdx.com


Paxton Gate - Portland, Oregon
paxtongatepdx.com


Paxton Gate - San Francisco
paxtongate.com


Altar PDX - Portland Oregon
altarpdx.com

And always online at:
morgainefaye.com/shop