September's Meet the Midwest artist is my beautiful friend Melissa Jenkins of Melissa Jenkins Designs based in Madison, Wisconsin. Melissa is one of the most creative, eclectic people I know. Her affinity for design and style is so evident in everything Melissa does, touches, and wears. It's easy to get lost in both her Instagram and Pinterest boards, both of which reflect her personal style and absolutely lovely personality. She's a collector and curator, which heavily influences her jewelry and weavings. Her pieces are covetable and her creative spirit is enviable. Get to know Melissa and her work with our Q&A below! Be prepared to swoon.
1. When did you start your journey as a weaver?
My love of textiles began when I started working at an interior design studio back in my hometown. I've been mildly obsessed ever since. The patterns, texture, & history fascinate me. In June 2014, after admiring (gushing over) the work of Maryanne Moody and discovering a whole little weaving community on Instagram, I decided to try my hand at lap loom weaving. At the time, I was feeling restless with my jewelry business and was looking for new inspiration; a fresh creative start. Learning the art of weaving was just what I needed to breathe new life into my art practice.
Photo set courtesy of Melissa Jenkins
2. How has the Midwest influenced your weavings?
I've been influenced by the Midwest's blended beauty, both in the land & those who live here. We're 'Midwest Nice', but also take no shit. We embrace the frigid and celebrate the warmth. The way our contrasts weave together inspire and excite me. This influence can be seen in my work through the materials I use, blending different styles, found pieces, and mixed media. Most recently I've combined weaving with my love of jewelry to create wearable woven pieces. The challenge to create something beautiful and mindfully balanced out of perceived opposites often drives my creative process.
3. What are three things essential to your work space? Your makeup bag?
Workspace essentials: natural light, good tunes (or good bad TV), and comfy clothes
Makeup bag essentials: RMS Beauty "Un" Cover-Up #11, RMS Living Luminizer, Gabriel Black Mascara
4. Where do you go & what do you do to feel inspired for a new piece?
For inspiration, I look to nature, fashion, and interior design. And Pinterest. Oh, Pinterest. Design inspiration of any kind recharges me when I need a break. It's during these breaks that I take notes and sketch out ideas; a big part of my creative process and self love time.
5. How would you describe your style/aesthetic?
layered, classic, modern, earthy, boho
6. What materials do you prefer to work with?
I love working with found objects, stones, and natural fibers (specifically silk, cotton, and wool yarn blends). Brass and turquoise are also high on the list. Finding mystery yarn at thrift stores, recycling old wool sweaters, and digging through discarded jewelry are other personal favs.
Photo set courtesy of Melissa Jenkins // Melissa shows off her wearable weaving jewelry.
7. What have you read recently that excited you?
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Getting our stuff (especially all my art supplies & clothing!) in a better place has helped create a calmer vibe in our home and lives. It's still a work in progress, but being more mindful with our 'stuff' has been amazing and is something we'll definitely continue!
Melissa made a BFF Weaving, which gives the winner one half of the weaving for themselves and the other half for their best friend. How cool is that?
2. Repost a photo of the BFF weaving & tag a friend in the post who you'd like to receive the second half -- don't forget to use the hashtag #mjdmagpiegiveaway!
3. Leave a comment down below with a favorite story you & your best friend share.
The giveaway runs until Tuesday, September 29, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. CST for folks in the U.S. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 on the Midwest Magpie Facebook and contacted on Instagram.
Photo set courtesy of Melissa Jenkins
I am continually in awe of the creativity and level of style individuals in the Midwest possess. As Melissa put it, the balance and "blended beauty" of the Midwest yields some of the most well-rounded and eclectic people I've ever met. All of these artists make me so proud to be from the Midwest.
Thank you so much Melissa for sharing your art and passion with Midwest Magpie. You're the perfect addition to my Meet the Midwest series.
Make sure to stop by Melissa's Etsy shop for more of her pieces & good luck to those who enter the #mjdmagpiegiveaway!
Check back with last month's Meet the Midwest artist, Rachel Alwin of Rachel Alwin Ceramics.