We are thrilled to welcome jewelry designer Madeline Rigatti to the Happening Hands blog! Maddie owns MJ Designs based in Pittsburgh, PA, and she’ll tell us a bit about her process and business story. You can find Maddy’s jewelry in her Happening Hands shop, and you can follow her on Instagram.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What’s the story behind you and your business?
I started making jewelry in 2006 when a jewelry class was offered in my high school. I fell in love with casting and enameling. My instructor was extremely supportive and always inspired me and taught me new techniques.
When I graduated high school, I wanted to find a way to keep working with jewelry even though I no longer had access to the equipment that we used in the studio. I attended Virginia Tech and started working with wire and beads, oftentimes collaborating with other local artisans for events. I loved setting up my jewelry at concerts, festivals, and craft shows; and I cannot wait to get back to that!
Where do you draw inspiration and motivation from? How do you stay creative?
I draw inspiration from many places, but mostly nature. I lived in southwest Virginia for 6 years and the mountains, rivers and streams gave me energy to stay creative.
I also find inspiration from my customers! I love collaborating with customers on special projects where we work together to identify stones and colors that reflect their personality.
What does your creative process look like from start to finish?
I usually have random spurts of inspiration where I will have an idea and want to get started making it a reality right away. My process includes cleaning my space and keeping everything organized so I can see all my materials — a cluttered space can really stunt my process.
Name one thing not many people know about you.
I work in a research office as a research coordinator. I manage geriatric research projects which I love, but I am happy to have jewelry making as a means to stay creative and connected.
What are your top three values in life?
Open-mindedness, reliability, and service to others.