April 12, 2011

An interview with Moorea of Moorea Seal

Today we have a lovely interview with Moorea of Moorea Seal. Moorea is a talented jewelry maker with a love for unique, raw stones and leather, who runs her own Etsy shop filled with gorgeous pieces she has made with her own two hands. She is also a graphic designer with Freckled Nest Design, and resides in the Northwest (girl after my own heart).

Meet Moorea:



1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

-Hi everyone! My name is Moorea Seal. I am a jewelry designer, a blogger, a blog designer with Freckled Nest Design, a freelance Illustrator and a musician based out of the city of Seattle, WA. I am pretty good at juggling lots of work as long as I am doing things that I love, which I am :) I have a love for modern design, a balance of graceful beauty with a edgy touch, and innovation in all that I do and love. My blog is all about celebrating creativity, sharing what I make and what I love, and creating a space for women to build each other up and encourage each other. I love being able to remind women of why they are awesome in all that they are and all that they do. Currently I have a project going on my blog called "Paint Your Love" where I encourage women to give themselves a visual reminder to invest in themselves and love themselves. You can read more about it here: (http://www.moorea-seal.com/search/label/paint%20your%20love) Painting my nails is my visual reminder.

2. What got you interested in blogging, and how long have you been blogging for?

-I think I started my first blog in high school using the blog host Xanga and then I got into Live Journal because I found a few friends who used it too. Back then, I was a very angsty music obsessed girl and most of my blog posts were filled with rants over how lonely/emo/angsty/straight-edge I was and raves over rad music I found. Ha!

I think I bowed out of blogging when I left for college in 2004. But I started a blog on Blogger when I was a sophomore to post pictures of the art I was making in my classes and to chat about philosophical ideas and questions I was ruminating over. At that time, my blog was called "The Rumination Reading Room." I started to really invest in my blog and take it to a new level once I started making jewelry for fun when I was a super senior in college in 2009. One of my best friends in my major was running a fun blog that paired with her Etsy shop and I thought, snap, I should make these 2 things more cohesive. I met my friend Kyla from www.KylaRoma.com a few years ago through the blogging world and she really inspired me to step up my blog. And then taking Indie Biz 2.0 last year led by Leigh Ann (www.frecklednest.com) Jill (www.LuneVintage.com) and Elsie (www.ABeautifulMess.com) really inspired me to create a brand out of all that I do and to make my blog the hub of all that I do and love.

3. Can you tell us about your style?

-My style is modern, forward thinking, a tiny bit edgy, and a mixture of elegant femininity combined with just a hint of roughness. And with all of that, I still have a love for the past, mixing in a 70s bohemian chic vibe. I love metals and earth tones. Right now my favorite colors are army green, a burnt orange, pale creams, grey, black, and pops of gold, brass, and silver. I am a nature loving girl so elements of a natural whimsical world often appear in what I create. I think I apply all of this to my jewelry designs, blog designs, favorite clothing, interior design faves, illustration, just about everything I love most :)

4. You run an Etsy shop full of unique, handmade jewelry. Can you tell us how you got interested in designing jewelry?

-When I started my Etsy shop at the end of my super senior year of college, I was dating a boy at the time who did wood working. He and I had a similar aesthetic and a love for natural elements combined with modern, chic, simple designs. We thought it could be fun to try starting an Etsy shop together. So I designed all the pieces, he did all the wood working bits, and then I put everything together. We broke up soon after starting the shop and stopped working together as creative partners, but I realized I loved making jewelry as an avenue to create miniature sculptures and a way to share what I love with others so I kept the Etsy shop going. And here we are today! Since starting my shop, I have learned some wood working skills thanks to a good buddy, I've taken a metal smithing class, and I have really learned how to apply all that I learned as a Studio Art Major in college to what I make and how I work with jewelry.

5. What are your favorite trends for spring?

-For spring I am obsessed with maxi skirts in neutral colors. I just got an army green chiffon maxi skirt from American Apparel yesterday actually :) Right now I LOVE chevrons, triangles, arrows, and hints of tribal and Native American patterns. This spring, you will probably see me wearing lots of outfits mixing basic tees and tanks with flowy maxi skirts or super short skirts and shorts paired with thigh high socks. I'm trying to wear more and more of my own jewelry because, well, I love it! And paired with really simple, solid neutral colored clothing, my jewelry just pops. I love the pairing of gold and brass jewelry on cream or army green clothing.

6. When you're not busy blogging, what can you be found doing?

-I live in Seattle and as the days get sunnier and warmer, I plan on being outside as much as possible. My boyfriend and I go rock climbing a few times a week. And I love hiking, snow-shoeing, and anything active and outdoors. I'm also way into music having been a singer my whole life, writing music and playing guitar since I was 15, sang classical music semi-professionally in high school, have released a solo folk album of my own music, and sang with my old band The Mopes. You can check out my solo music here: www.myspace.com/mooreaseal and my old band's music here: www.myspace.com/themopesofficial. I have lots of friends in the Seattle music scene so I go to lots of shows too.

7. With regards to fashion, and your own jewelry creations, what do you draw inspiration from?

-I love scanning the blogging world for inspiration. I am always excited by new fashion trends that align with my personal aesthetic, so it is fun to hunt down different street styles from around the world for inspiration. I love graphic design and illustration, obviously, since they are part of my jobs as a blog designer and freelance illustrator. So design from any realm effects the designs of my jewelry. I love super clean, organized, modern and edgy design like everything Nubby Twiglet makes (www.nubbytwiglet.com). And I love nature loving, graceful, flower child girls like my friend Kelly Ann from www.TheFlowerchildDwelling.com. I think maybe my aesthetic is somehow a combo of these two ladies style. I want my jewelry to be appealing to both both edgy bold ladies like Nubby and appealing to soft dreamy ladies like Kelly Ann.

8. If you had to pick one outfit to wear the rest of your life, what would it look like?

-Oh man, this is hard. Either: super tight dark jeans with the bottom cuffs rolled up a little, high heeled workman boots, my favorite plaid shirt that was my grandmas, topped off with some of my jewelry :) OR a pale cream chiffon flowing maxi skirt, a grey tank, a dusty pale brown American Apparel zip up, a dark brown leather jacket, and some brown leather oxford flats plus some of my jewelry. I think the key things I always pay most attention to in outfits are my shoes and my jewelry. accessories make the outfit!

9. You're a designer and exclusive illustrator for the amazing Freckled Nest Design. What got you interested in design work, and what has been your favorite design based project you've worked on so far?

-Well I was a Studio Art Major with an emphasis in Illustration in undergrad. My two best friends in the art department were in the Visual Communications major (kind of an all encompassing design major.) While in school, I focused mostly in fine art and illustration. But I loved watching my friends do their design work, mostly based in the computer. I've always been a technology nerd, obviously since I started my first blog probably about 10 years ago. And I have always been obsessed with art and knew I wanted to be an artist since I was a little girl. So when I started to pursue Illustration after college as a Freelancer, I also started to view my blog as a great avenue to promote my work. I started teaching myself html tid bits and found that I really loved designing blogs, incorporating illustrations into my work. And now, here I am working as a blog designer and illustrator for the wonderful Freckled Nest Design and doing illustration work as a Freelancer.

I would say that right now, the 3 blogs I am currently working on are my favorite favorite favorite ones I have ever made. But I can't show you yet! So besides those, I really love the illustration work I did for my friends' band Hot Bodies In Motion. (image attached) It is always fun working with fellow music makers. And I love the design of my own blog. It just feels like me!

10. Do you have any advice for aspiring jewelry makers? What about someone interested in design, but isn't really sure how to get their feet wet?

-For those of you interested in jewelry making who haven't tried making any jewelry yet, head to your local bead supply store and they can connect you with classes and books that can guide you in the basic skills you need to learn. Check out flea markets, thrift stores, and jewelry supply stores to see if there is anything around that really sparks your imagination. Try disassembling vintage jewelry and creating something new out of it.

I highly recommend for anyone at any level of jewelry making to take a metal smithing class. I took mine after college at Pratt Fine Arts Center, in Seattle, which is an awesome arts school open to the public funded by the city of Seattle. It was just incredible the amount of tools that they provided for us students for such an inexpensive class. Once you take a metal smithing class, you can start to figure out for yourself, "Ok, what tools do I absolutely need to create what I want, and how can I design pieces that will be able to be created with the little tools I have. What elements of my jewelry can I simply buy from a supplier, and what elements do I need to forge myself." You don't need a huge budget to create something beautiful and unique :) Just be wise about what tools and pieces you invest your money in to make sure you can make a profit if you are considering making your jewelry making hobby into a business.

For those of you who are interested in selling your jewelry to stores or on Etsy, I really recommend that you take the Indie Biz class that is hosted by Leigh Ann from FreckledNest.com and Jill from LuneVintage.com. They just finished up their Indie Biz 3.0 class with Lisa Leonard as their guest teacher. I took the class last year and then taught a guest lesson this year. My jewelry business really got a huge boost by taking that class and I just learned SO MUCH about running a small business thanks to the class.

As for design, I can tell you that having an art school background really helped me. And having friends who are professional designers helped me see from example how to create things well and beautifully. But for those of you who just want to learn some basics of design, I really recommend following Katrina's blogs Pugly Pixel and Powered By Pastries (http://www.poweredbypastries.com/, http://www.puglypixel.com/). Katrina is a fabulous designer and gives so many great tips on how to get started with learning some design basics even if you have NO idea where to start. She has tons of tutorials and tips and tricks on her blogs, especially Powered By Pastries, the hub of where hosts all of her design tips.

For those of you interested totally redesigning your blog, it is possible to do some small editing yourself. But the awesome thing about Freckled Nest, the design group I work for, is that we have lots of designers who suit just about every style you could imagine who can design your blog for you and have it installed in your blog without you having to do any of the crazy brunt work of trying to learn tons of coding and design programs.

Thank you Chelsea for inviting me over to your blog today! And thank you all of you lovely readers for taking the time to learn a little about me. I hope you visit my blog soon so I can get to know you too!

xo Moorea

Thank you so much for doing this interview Moorea! Don't forget to check out Moorea's blog, shop, and twitter page for updates on her jewelry, design work, and life.

-Chelsea

6 comments:

  1. I was always curious how Moorea got started in her business. Such a great story with the ex! Thanks for this, Chelsea! xx

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  2. Awesome story about an awesome girl! :D Love everything Moorea does!

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  3. This is such a great interview! I just discovered Moorea's blog and I'm in love! :D

    star-crossed smile

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  4. i've looked at her shop before; i LOVE the book necklaces.

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  5. I seriously LOVE these interviews that you do! :) Moorea is one of the most inspiring, sweetest ladies of all time. Thanks for the mention, dear friend!

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