Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Artist Statement... Speaking from the Heart

I love jewelry... the way it flatters, flirts and plays hard-to-get. It creates an attraction that is intensified by its magnetic appeal AND promises satisfaction by pleasing every style, mood and occasion. Jewelry is seductive and always leaves me wanting more.

Romantic designs that are subtly sexy are very enticing. I strive to create pieces that captivate and compel approving glances from adoring eyes. My jewelry designs also emphasize durability and versatility to make everyday wear possible.

I enjoy playing the matchmaker who joins the wearer and their object of desire into a long-term, enduring relationship. That's what makes me so passionate about creating the opportunity for women to display their love affair with jewelry.

Brook "Mama" Mayborne

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Stuck in the House All Day... with a Bunch of Kids

Ok... this isn't even funny. Four snow days and it's only January! What's up with that and why don't schools stay open anymore?! Actually, today can't even be called a "snow day" because I can see GRASS!! I think they're calling it a "too cold day" or some other kind of nonsense. Heck, when I was a kid, I had to walk a mile to school in freezing blizzards (wow-- just sounded like my mom there for a minute).

Don't the schools know that Wednesday is MY workday. I recall telling them when I recently registered my 3-year old for an extra day of "play school" that he goes to school and I get to work, hassle-free. Man, five hours of uninterrupted work/quiet time shot... all because schools can't seem to remember that this is WISCONSIN and we need to teach these kids some cold-toughness here. If nothing else, they've got to be able to tell their kids those "we walked to school, in the snow, uphill, 10 miles, 10 below, with no shoes..." stories. Now all they'll be able to say is "my eyes hurt from LOOKING at all that snow"!!!

So needless to say that I'm not going to get much work done today! But I have broken up 20 fights, fetched a dozen snacks, showed countless videos and it's only 1pm!

So glad that I named my business "MAMA Mayborne Designs" to remind me what my first job is, especially on days like this!

Oh and P.S.: Since I'm one of the only stay-at-home moms in my neighborhood, I've also received the privilege of babysitting another kid too!!

Fine Silver Jewelry Care

When I play matchmaker between you and your new jewelry, there are a few important conditions...
  1. Give your jewelry posh, yet private accommodations. To a piece of jewelry, this means storing it alone in an airtight container. This prevents scratching on other jewelry and exposure to oxidizing elements.

  2. Go on plenty of dates. The more you wear your piece, the more it gets coated with your natural body oils. These oils create a clear protective patina which prevents tarnishing.

  3. Give it a lot of R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Unlike a silent partner, your jewelry will let you know if you aren't treating it right. Matchmaker suggests that you keep the piece from chemical spills, sharp objects, sudden impact and toddlers!

And just remember to have fun looking beautiful in Mama Mayborne Designs!

Let me know if you have any other suggestions or questions about jewelry care.

And FYI... all Mama Mayborne Designs ordered online are shipped to you in my signature pink gift box with ribbon. It has an anti-tarnish cotton lining and makes the perfect abode for your silver pieces. I also tuck in a zip top baggie with an anti-tarnish strip for times when your jewelry is on the go!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mama's Gotta Brag!

As I reflect on the last few days of being a jewelry designer, I've come to realize that I am simply fabulous!

Don't take that the wrong way, I am a very humble person... but there comes a time when I have to lay my humility to the side and shout "I am GREAT" outloud. So what if no one hears it but me. So what if no one agrees (not even me). So what!! It's got to be said and believed and perceived.

My kids teach me that not even your greatest accomplishments (giving birth, living on a budget or enduring Barney) will be appreciated . Fellow artists have told me that no one will understand my efforts in creating. Even my cat, who I rescued from the snowy streets, gives me an "I-could-care-less" look quite often.

But I'm here to say when life gets hard, my ego gets bruised and I feel my artistic efforts are going no where, I'll just remember...
  • that it's my motherly guidance (and genes) that helped my son bring home a perfect report card this week (his lowest score was a 99 percent!!!),

  • that the home atmosphere which I've helped create leads my youngest son to remember to give thanks before a meal... even at school, AND

  • that people (and not just my mom) are taking notice of my work and spreading the word. I've even been featured in a blog of someone I don't even know. Click here to check it out!

I really AM all that (and a big bag of chips)!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Mundane Side of Art Business

Today is one of those days that I find it hard to be an artist.

Not quite sure why, but it is. I feel like I've made a lot of progress with my work and business lately. I've designed my spring collection and have the majority of the designs fabricated. I've recently given my brand a face lift. I've set up this blog, an online photo catalogue and an online store. Heck, I've even made a few sales this month which is very unusual for January.

I get very excited after putting several hours into designing, fabricating and promoting my work (especially when it turns out the way I wanted). But then there is the inevitable lull when waiting for an opportunity to show it off or when the non-creative side of business comes a-calling.

Right now that side of business is calling loudly and I feel like I must force myself to pay last quarter's sales taxes (bummer!), clean my studio (pointless!), file papers (yuck!), order supplies (boring!), etc.

Does anyone else feel this way about the mundane side of creativity?? I know I'm not alone here... but here's what I'm going to do about it:
  • turn my music up loud and throw my own little "get-this-junk-done" party.
  • eat chocolate until it hurts!
  • bribe myself to get motivated with a promise of retail therapy.
  • think about not having to do it again for a while (or at least a day).
  • thank God that I've had sales that gave me taxes to pay, a studio of my own to clean, important papers to file, and enough money to order supplies that I need!

Wow, feeling better already!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

It's All Greek (and Jewelry) to Me...

This past summer, I was blessed with an amazing opportunity to spend two weeks in Greece following in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul. I traveled with a group of 40 lovely people and one awesome tour guide. Together we explored the ancient ruins all over that beautiful country. Everyday of the trip brought one breathtaking experience after the other.
Click here to see a few of my favorite photos from the trip.

It was truly a wonderful trip... very inspiring both as a Christian and as a jewelry designer. Standing in the same places that saw major biblical and historical events, made me feel awestruck.

It only took a few moments for me to realize that taking pictures of Greece wasn't going to be enough. I wanted to take Greece home... and that's what I did! I decided to collect leaves from plants that adorned the popular attractions and from ordinary places. Now in my studio I have dried leaves labeled, "poplar leaves from Olympia", "plant outside Paul's prison in Philipi", "laurel leaf growing next to the Parthenon in Athens" and "ivy leaf from the stream where Paul baptized Lydia".

I know that my travel mates thought that I was nuts at times, but I kept telling them that I had a plan for those leaves. And now everyone can see a little bit of my imagination come to life in the photo above. Here I have cast an olive leaf (left) from the grounds of Philip's tomb and a laurel leaf (right) from Apollo's temple in Delphi. I'm not going to bore you with the process, but I painted each leaf with several layers of a paste form of pure silver. After completely drying, I fired them in a kiln, applied a patina, polished and voila... perfect leaf impressions made of pure silver (click on the photo above to view larger). The process took about a week working at mom speed and I look forward to making more with the leaves that did not get ruined by the Greek heat or my cat.

The photo on the right is the olive tree that "gave" me a leaf.
The photo on the left is the laurel tree that did the same.
Thank you trees!!! (and security guards for looking the other way!!!) and by the way the, the stones behind the leaves above are actual pieces of ruins in Corinth and Ephesus... but don't tell anyone!!!.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I'm Zoomin' Now...

I feel like I just entered a new age of technology and it feels GREAT!

I just got a high speed DSL internet connection yesterday and the world just became a little smaller... and faster! Shedding the confines of the dial-up world has me feeling like it's a brand new day. I still feel like breaking out into a song and dance like Dorothy in "The Wiz" after killing Evilene (actually, I am dancing now and will probably watch that movie tonight while I work!).

But I never want to be accused of not remembering where I come from, so here's a few thoughts to memorialize my 10-year relationship with dial-up:
  • Gone are the days of choosing between working on the computer and being able to get phone calls. (that one is for you Mom!)
  • Gone are the days of working late when connections are a millisecond faster.
  • Gone are the days of waiting an hour to upload a single picture.
  • Gone are the days of being 2-3 versions behind on all software because I can't wait for the updates to process.
  • Gone are the days of getting through several magazine articles while waiting for a page to refresh.
  • Gone are the days of having my email box telling me, "You want me to send that? With an attachment? Are you nuts?!?"

But even though I can move around a lot faster, I have found that (at least today) my time on the net has quadrupled. But that's because I'm having a ball zipping all OVER cyberspace!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wonderful Wednesday

Forgive me if there are any typos in today's entry. My hands are raw from applying a patina then hand polishing 33 pieces of silver this morning. It was hard work (pity please) but it felt really good getting it done and working on components for my upcoming spring collection. Now I can finish off a link necklace, ring, charm bracelet, pendant and a pair of earrings.

That's right -- I did all of that by 1pm plus I edited several jewelry photos that I took yesterday, entered a new item in my Etsy shop (check it out at, repaired a ring for a friend and also completed four other pendants. Here's a picture of one of them called "Twinkle" and it's one of my favorite (and most popular) pendants.

Isn't it cute?! "Twinkle should be hitting my Etsy store later this week. Make sure you check it out!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Company Story: Part 2

At the start of 2005, I made an important decision and nothings been the same since...

I decided to GET SERIOUS! I set goals, looked for ways to expand an spent a lot of time learning new techniques. I remember telling my very supportive husband (hi honey!!) that if I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this right! And to me that meant registering as a business (even if that meant paying sales tax); learning lots of new skills in order to create my own website, business cards, etc; promoting myself a lot (and that's still not fun!); and selling my butt off!

That year became a blur of sales. I sold at any and everywhere. Fairs, (so-called) art shows, cafes, bizarre church bazaars, offices, schools, home parties, trunk shows, boutiques... I even made several sales off of my dining room table and I think there was even one made out of the back of my Jeep! No, I did not approach strangers with jewelry hanging in the lining of my coat -- but I did think about it more than once.

At the end of that year, I found that my efforts did pay off. My first "real" year in business brought in a 5-figure revenue. Most of that I reinvested into my basement studio and several classes on jewelry making, metalsmithing and running an art business. The money came in handy, expecially since I fund all business operations from my linty back pocket. But more importantly, the best "pay off" I got from that frantic year in business was learning a little bit more of what does and doesn't work for me and my creations.

There has been a lot of refinement along the way due to my increased focus and fluctuating time constraints (don't forget that I'm a full-time mother of two young boys and a cat). I say it's all paying off and I'm having a lot of fun now. I love being creative and able to keep things flexible and being in charge of this one little aspect of my life!

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Company Story: Part 1

In case you've ever wondered...

I began making jewlry in late 2003 after deciding to give a handmade gift to the MOPS volunteers who cared for my son. I've always been pretty crafty and knew that I could pull it off, but I had a hard time deciding what to make. After considering several options, I decided to create something wearable that would hopefully be donned as a fond reminder of my deep appreciation for the loving cate they selflessly provided. Four women received a simple beaded bracelet... my very first designs!

Not too long after that, making jewelry became my favorite hobby. I was even teaching classes featuring my very own designs at a local craft store. And for Christmas that year, every woman on my list got a piece of my work.

My mother (who received a beaded bracelet with a prayer box charm) wore her gift every day like a prized possession. It soon caught the eyes of her friends and coworkers. When they commented on it, mom (without my knowledge, of course) began setting prices and taking orders!

Well about a year and many different orders later, I realized that this craft was becoming more than a hobby. It was growing into the perfect opportunity for me (a stay-at-home mother of two young boys) to combine newly discovered artistic talents with previously aquired business skills. I created MAMA MAYBORNE DESIGNS as a way to offer myself unrestricted channels of personal growth and an outlet for other women wanting to express their desire to feel beautiful, unique and adorned.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

More Productive Than Planned

In yesterday's blog entry, I mentioned that a late night for me ends at about 10pm. However, last night (for some strange reason) I got a second wind and worked until 12:30am. I popped a DVD in the computer (it was "Beauty Shop" with Queen Latifah, which I recommend as a cute flick) and worked on creating some silver components for my Spring 2008 Collection. This is the first time that I'm looking at the design process as creating a group of similar, interrelated items. So for this spring I've been working on a new body of work called "Graphic" that features mesh textured silver components like in this piece My goal is to debut these items at the upcoming Wearable Art Show in Cedarburg, WI in April 2008. So far I have 3 necklaces, 2 bracelets, 2 pendants and several earrings. My goal is to have 10 production pieces (that could be made several times) and 5 one-of-kinds. We'll see how it goes...

Not only did I stay up late working, but when I finally got to bed it took me another hour to actually fall asleep. My mind was racing with design ideas and to-do items... why does that always happen?! Then I had to get up early because my cat, Foster, thought it was time for a little mishchief -- and to torture me!

I rolled out of the bed, kissed the boys and got back to work. I got some more components ready for the next step. By the way, for those of you who don't know... there are sooo many steps to creating even the most simplest-looking, handcrafted jewelry items. So show your jewelry designer (me) a little love!

I also spent quite a bit of time researching international shipping and am now happy to say that MAMA MAYBORNE DESIGNS is now a global operation, shipping world-wide. Actually, I'm still waiting for an order to come from outside the US... but when it happens... I'm ready! Check out the low shipping rates in my shop at

Thanks for your time!

Friday, January 11, 2008

I'm a Blogger... Day 2

Well, I'm back at it and ready to share the thoughts of the day.

Today is Friday and it is usually a jewelry business workday for me. Actually, I try to do something everyday but the bulk usually falls on Friday and Saturday when my husband is home to watch the kids. On these workdays, it is typical to find me in my pajamas until 2pm, when I break from work and get ready for the day. I'm usually napping by 3pm and back to business again after dinner and into the late night (for me that is about 10pm).

I have adjusted my work schedule recently to accomodate for the added daily duties in having an online store (yeah!) . I'm on the computer daily checking the activities in my Etsy shop (, uploading items to my regular website ( and now blogging! All of this has got me spending additional time doing research and promotions for my product line and boosting my presence on the web. If I'm going to be a famous jewelry designer someday, I've got to get the word out... right?!

However, I'm still seeking to balance the business side of things with actual time spent designing and creating. I think I've got a few ideas on that and you'll have to come again to see what my plans are.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I'm a Blogger Now!!!

Hello and welcome to the Official Blog of Mama Mayborne Designs and the ramblings of Brook "Mama" Mayborne!

Here I will be posting the ongoing drama of being a an up-and-coming jewelry designer, wife and stay-at-home mother of two.

I will try to post regularly (my goal is daily), but you know how that goes! I will mostly talk about myself, family and what I go through as a jewelry designer. I can tell you upfront that there will be nothing about politics or current events on my site because I do not watch the news and am about a month behind in finding out about any events.

I am especially excited to launch this site because I have experienced a large amount of loved ones who have moved away recently and I am not very good at picking up the phone. So all of you out there who have had to nerve to move away from me, this is your place to find out all that is going on in my little world.

I encourage your postings and comments. I usually pass my day time with a three and six-year-old so I find myself craving adult conversations as much as possible.