Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mollie Ann and Joe Meserve
of Rough Magic Creations

Hello! I'm Mollie Ann Meserve. My husband Joe and I make the handcrafted copper creations you'll see in our RoughMagicCreations and RoughMagicHolidays shops on Etsy.

For a long time my husband Joe, who works beside me in the workshop, had been suggesting that we try our hands at jewelry making - probably because, while I had a box full of commercial pieces, none of them really looked like "me."

 Then, several years ago, while Joe was recovering from hip replacement surgery, I lived for three weeks in a hotel room in Portland, Maine. When our daughter came to visit from Kansas, she found me bored to distraction and wallowing in self pity. Good girl that she is, she treated me to instant therapy - shopping!

In our adventures we found ourselves in a gorgeous bead shop in Freeport. We were there for hours and went back the next day too. I bought a few gemstones, a bit of beading wire, a handful of crimp tubes, a clasp or two … and never looked back.

Mahogany Obsidian, Poppy Jasper and Copper Necklace
I made my first piece of jewelry about an hour after that first trip to the bead shop. At least that's when I started a necklace. It took me the better part of a weekend to finish it because I kept making mistakes, messing it up, taking it apart and beginning again.

I learned jewelry making by trial and error, and error, and error. Yes, that means I'm pretty much self taught. I've also learned a lot from books, internet tutorials and other designers I've met online, first in a jewelry making forum and now through the knowledge, generosity and support of my fellow Jets. But mainly, as in other areas of life, I've learned from my mistakes.

Men's Rustic Bracelet
And I have the scars, and many jars of scrap copper, to prove it.

When I first started working with wire, I bought a roll of hardware store copper for practice before tackling the more costly sterling silver. Ruined the entire roll. Bought more rolls. Ruined them too. Bought more, and more, and more, until I learned to master that wily stuff.

In the process the strangest thing happened ... I fell in love - with copper. Yes, I enjoy working with sterling too, and gemstones, and other beads, but nothing feels quite so at home in my hands as that simple, humble, warm and forgiving hardware store metal.

Copper Scallop Shell Dish
Nowadays, we also buy copper by the sheet, for our decorative dishes, cuffs, pendants, bookmarks and Christmas ornaments.

Whether working on a cuff, pendant, dish or tree ornament, I'm always happy when there's a piece of sheet copper on the topsy turvy antique flat iron I call an anvil and my trusty ball peen hammer is in my hand.

My very first sale was on Etsy - to a friend I had met through the jewelry making forum.

She was "priming the pump" so to speak, and I'll be forever grateful for that act of kindness. And I like to think she really did want those earrings!

Copper Starfish Necklace
Living for 24 years on the coast of Maine has had an enormous influence on my imagination and expanded my horizons beyond my wildest dreams. I love the rustic beauty of the woods, the many colors and moods of the ocean, the sparkle of sunlight on snow, the frost feathers on our window panes.

I believe this place has worked its way deep into my subconscious mind, and I'll often jump up first thing in the morning, grab a pencil and paper and doodle out a couple of newly hatched design ideas. And sometimes they make sense.

Although my favorite tool is the above mentioned hammer, I could probably get by without it. What tool could I not part with?

Well, I was going to choose one of those multi tasking gadgets that can do anything and
Copper Cuff Bangle Bracelet
everything. But then I thought, no, the one I really must have serves a single purpose, doing what nothing else can do: my nylon nose pliers for straightening wire. I have four and would be lost without them.

I recently learned how to make my own 12 gauge head pins, which look more like matches than jewelry findings. New things I want to do are enameling copper and riveting.

These are both high on my list, but the skill I really need to learn is soldering. Not very glamorous but becoming increasingly necessary as Joe and I look forward to expanding our line.

A bit more about us ... Joe and I both enjoy cooking (he bakes all our bread) and gardening, especially growing our own vegetables. And we seem constantly to be renovating our house - room by room, ever a work in progress.

And ... We share our home with a sweet little black kitty named "Dinah the Velvet Petunia" and a 75-gallon tank of tropical fish, all named "Watson."

We have three Etsy shops ...

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DG Jewelry Designs said...

Hi Mollie & Joe, nice to know a bit more about you two. Beautiful creations in Mollie's shops.

Tracy said...

I adore your copper work and LOVE your story! Its amazing that you get to enjoy doing what you love with the man you love.

I also LOVE how all of your fish are named Watson. Hilarious!

Michele said...

Lovely post & shops!!! Was very enjoyable to read about the two of you, very inspiring. Watson LOL.

Urban Pearl Studio said...

I'm laughing as well about all the fish named Watson. Hysterical. So as I age, that will be a wonderful way to avoid forgetting everyone's name - just name them Watson!

Mollie is such a delight and I am proud to be on the Jet jewelry team with her. Always making me laugh! WTG, Mollie (and Joe!)

LittleBrownBird said...

Always such beautiful things from Mollie and Joe's shop!

Laura Stamper said...

I have always loved,loved,loved Mollie's copper work. The colors she gets in her finishes are amazing!
It was fun to read about the evolution of her process.

capitalcitycrafts said...

Great interview, so wonderful to learn more about this very talented couple!

Leslie Kill said...

Thanks for sharing the story of the beginning of your gorgeous art.

SendingLoveGallery said...

Loved reading about your jewelry journey and what inspires you. Sounds like great fun, Mollie & Joe!

nancy's crystal fantasies jewelry said...

Loved reading your story! Your work with copper is amazing and the colors you are able to produce on your dishes are so gorgeous! Thanks for sharing with us.

Donna Arena said...

Hey Mollie and Joe,
I too, consider it an honor and a privilege to know you, to share with you and grow with you!! I've always been such a HUGE FAN of your's and Joe's ART...
You are such a character too, so warm and embracing and so much FUN!!!
You have been such an inspiration to me and I'd have to say...
"A Day without MOLLIE, is like a Day without SUNSHINE"!!!

LoveStoneArts said...

Love to Mollie and Joe!! You wrangle that copper into the most delightful creations. You two caught my attention on Twitter and from that moment on I wanted to be a JET. One million and one thanks!!

JillreOzmay said...

Oh Mollie, you are a delight and a treasure...both as a designer and a woman. Wonderful post!

Shayla said...

They are wonderful people and great artists. What a nice artice

Beadsme said...

Hahahaha Mollie and Joe. Awesome, love it. mwwahhhh xoxoxox.

TheSilverBear said...

What a wonderful story, from and about two of my very favorite people. I ADORE your copper, the leaves in particular. Love you both xox

SatinDollCo said...

I adore your cooper pieces. I always thought it was you alone and now I know it's you and your husband working together. Amazing work.

Lori Taggart said...

I love what you do with copper! Fantastic profile!

Brooke said...

Mollie and Joe,

What a great feature. The copper items you both produce are so pretty and charming! Enjoyed getting to know more about you both.

l'actrice said...

Love both of them :-)

Your Daily Jewels - Norah Downey said...

Mollie! It is so nice to see Joe! I was beginning to think you were making him up:)
Your hard work and countless boo-boos have paid off. Your copper work is more beautiful and intricate every time I see it. I love reading your story and enjoy every minute of Jetting around with you.
Love, love, love, Norah

Siany said...

What an amazing profile! Fun to read! I love your jewelries Molly!

MadeByTammy said...

Fantastic blog post and artisan's profile! Mollie, I love how you got started. How inspiring for others that might be in the same circumstances. Your copper jewelry and pieces are Gorgeous.

Rough Magic Mollie said...

Hi Everybody! Thank you so very much for your kind, generous and often funny comments. Belonging to this amazing team of Jets and Jetlings means more to me than words can say, but since not having words never stopped me from yakking ... I so dearly LOVE each and every one of you with all my heart!

BrassyDeb said...

Good to see you both again! Love all your copper jewelry, so creative!

jemsbyjb said...

You two are a great team Mollie and Joe! Love your use of metal and bright and pretty designs.

nikhajewelry said...

I have always admired your jewelry Mollie, and it was fun reading about you and Joe! Your copper work is my favorite, I just love it!

nikhajewelry said...

Loved reading this Mollie! You are so talented and such a fun person! Love your copper creations, especially your ocean themed items - so beautiful!