Maker: Libby of Monark
It seems that every time I’m at Patchwork Show, I pick up a new piece of laser cut jewelry. If I had seen Libby’s work there, I would have definitely stopped and checked them out. I love how the laser makes the design in a negative space. Libby’s jewelry seems to me a perfect mix of natural and technology, which suits her perfectly. Meet Libby and check out her jewelry!
Please introduce yourself.
I’m Libby the designer, website maker, photo taker, marketing material and designer woman behind Monark. Originally from Indiana, I currently live in Missouri and recently moved from Michigan. I’ve also lived in California. My B.F.A in Textile Design is from Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
What do you make or do?
Before I started Monark I made paper jewelry. It wasn’t taking off, so I switched directions. I’ve also made handmade boxes in the past. I have boxes of handmade boxes. I’ve also designed websites and marketing materials for other businesses.
Where can we find your creations?
Right now, Monark jewelry is available at www.monarkstyle.com, Handmade Toledo in Toledo, OH, The Ann Arbor Art Center in Ann Arbor, MI, The Lansing Art Gallery in Lansing, MI, Homespun: Modern Handmade in Indianapolis, IN, and The Waxwing in Milwaukee, WI.
Is there an interesting story behind the name of your business? How did the name come about?
Monark is the Danish spelling of monarch. I used the Danish spelling because it was more interesting. I chose this name because monarch butterflies have unique and beautiful patterns just like my jewelry.
How long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?
Monark jewelry was born in January 2016. Before moving to Missouri, I worked on Monark and also worked for Apple. I’m good with, and love technology. We recently moved to Missouri because of my fiancés job, so right now I am working on Monark full time.
When you’re not making things, what do you do?
Cooking and baking are fun and enjoyable. Keeping up on current events is very important to me so I read a lot of articles from a variety of publications.
Is creativity a luxury or a necessity for you?
Creating is a must. I’ve always been creative.
I love quotes and this sums it up perfectly, “Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world.” -Brene Brown
What obstacles have you had to overcome to lead a creative life?
There have been no obstacles per se. I’ve always had great support from my family. I’ve struggled with myself the most. I ask myself “Was this the right decision?”, “Are people going to like what I am doing?”, “Am I wasting my time?”, “Did I price things correctly?”. There are more, but you get the picture. Self-doubt can be my obstacle. But I keep overcoming it and that’s the best you can do. Keep going!
Where do you find inspiration?
In college when we did textile collections, we picked a source of inspiration to focus our collections around. I still do that. For the first collection of Monark I chose plants as my inspiration. I have a list of different things that I think would be great inspiration for collections down the road. I usually google images of what I want and collect them in to an album.
If money wasn’t an issue how would your life change with regards to your art?
I would buy my own laser cutter. Right now, a very small company, Detroit Laser Company, in Royal Oak, MI cuts out my designs.
What inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?
If you want something, ASK for it. The worse you can get is a no. I used to be shy about reaching out to places to ask them to carry my jewelry. Many places have a process for that on their website. When I was making paper jewelry I wanted to get in to a museum shop. I found a museum I thought would be a good fit, went to their website, and found the email for the gift shop. They responded and pointed me in the right direction of who to talk to. I ended up getting a big wholesale order from them. All 5 of the shops I’m currently at were just by reaching out to places. The more you do it, the easier it gets. If they say no, be gracious and thank them for their time and consideration and move on to the next. One museum I contacted said no, but directed me towards another museum. I did not get in there either, but it showed me that they cared.
Who are the makers that inspire you?
I’m a big, mesmerized fan of Jen Stark (https://www.jenstark.com). She is known for her paper sculptures, but also does mixed media. If you like vibrant, hypnotic, colorful work you will LOVE her.