Marion Cage McCollam talks to Fetch about where she gets her inspiration and her favorite places to eat in New Orleans.
Tell us about your background.
I was born and raised in New Orleans.Ã‚ I got my undergraduate degree in design from Ecole Superieure des Arts Graphiques in Paris, where I lived there for 8 years, and my graduate degree in Architecture from Columbia in New York. I’m a licensed architect and in addition to jewelry, I design furniture and decorative hardware.
How did you get into jewelry design?
I started by doing custom hardware (cast bronze and brass) for architectural clients. I loved working in a more sculptural medium so I began casting smaller pieces in silver and gold. I was designing a couple of retail interiors at the time and the owners both asked if they could buy some of my work for their stores.
When did you open your own store?
Fall of 2009
Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere: nature, art, machines, the human body, fabricating techniques. I have always been interested in abstraction. The organic shapes in my designs often allude to forms in nature, but they can be interpreted on many different levels and scales. I use wood in my designs the way most jewelers use precious stones. I like combining materials in unexpected and unique ways.
How did your collaboration with artist Jill Moser on the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Lettres PendantsÃ¢â‚¬ come about?
I was interested in collaborating with an artist, and then I came across Jill’s work at a gallery. In fact, it was the piece that is now hanging in my shop called “Acrobat.” Her work struck me because it seemed like a kind of beautiful graffiti and I knew immediately that I wanted to work with her. We started with the alphabet (not knowing exactly what we were going to do). Then when I saw her first ink paintings, I immediately envisioned them as pendants. We are now working on a second project, a collection of linens, cocktail napkins, guest towels and pillows.
Tell us about the piece (above) you’re standing in front of.
That piece is by David Buckingham, a New Orleans native. It’s made of salvaged metal from the desert east of Los Angeles where he lives. He did a series of movie tag lines a few years back, and the one I have, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” is from The Shining.
Favorite place to eat in New Orleans?
Toss up between Lilette and Clancy’s.
Mardi Gras plans?
I grew up on the parade route so I’ve had enough Mardi Gras to last two lifetimes! I’ll probably close my shop and head up to NYC, where I keep an apartment, for a long weekend.
Favorite place to vacation?
Anywhere where I can scuba dive and get a great massage.
What pieces of your own do you end up wearing most?
I wear the Arabesque collection when I dress up because it’s dark and dramatic and looks great with black. For everyday I love my talon stud earrings (they look a bit like rose thorns) and my swallow pendant. And in summer I wear my wood pieces…they look great with white linen.
Pictured above, clockwise from left:
Marion Cage McCollam in front of a painting by David Buckingham.
These 18 karat Gold Disc Studs have a matte finish and are adorned with slightly off kilter diamonds.
The laser cut 18 karat gold “Arabesque Cigar Band” ring is also available in black rhodium plated sterling silver
These sexy Arabesque Teardrop Earrings come in 18 karat yellow gold (pictured here), 18 karat rose gold, and sterling silver.