Meet Margaux Mays, a Chicago maker and craft lover who shares her passion with others through handcrafted jewelry pieces made from upcycled leather. She cultivates creativity in others by hosting craft workshops and events around her city.
Introduce us to you.
I’m Margaux Mays. I’ve lived in the Chicago area since 2007. I’m an avid crafter and DIYer who loves to organize creative events that bring people together, foster community, and encourage confidence. While I have always been creative, it wasn’t until after college, where I studied marketing and business, that I returned to crafting. I started by making jewelry, handbags and other trinkets that I gave away as gifts. Soon after, I was inspired to open my Etsy shop and began hosting craft parties with friends and family.
How did you get your start as a maker and what do you make?
I have been creating and making since I was a kid. I made my hair bows, designed t-shirts with puffy paint, and made friendship bracelets with embroidery thread. Today, I hand make jewelry using upcycled leather pieces diverted from waste. I sell my goods in my Etsy shop, Margaux Bijoux, and at local maker fairs. I also teach craft workshops around the city, everything from jewelry making, paper crafts, and DIY room decor.
Have you always had a creative side or did someone help you find it?
My mother was my first inspiration. A talented cross-stitcher and seamstress, she always encouraged my creativity. She often took me with her to craft stores, where I loved helping her pick out supplies for her next project or to restock her craft closet.
Have you turned your passion for creating into your day job?
While I would love to spend all my time making and helping others discover their crafting talents, my current full-time job is in the digital marketing space, creating and managing online content, which challenges my creativity in a different, but still fulfilling way.
Do trends help guide what you’re creating? And if so, how do you identify them?
Because I mostly work with upcycled materials in my jewelry making, I try to follow color trends when seeking out leather remnants. I like to stay in the know about popular colors for the year and each season from Pantone, home decor retailers, and even paint manufacturers.
What trends are you seeing pop-up right now?
Less minimalist styles and more bold colors and textures that create interest. I was fortunate to have some leopard print leather scrap pieces gifted to me that I’m currently mixing with metallic and bright colored leather to meet this trend in some of my jewelry pieces.
Who (or what) gets you excited about the work you do?
So many people think that they are not creative, but I believe that we are all creative in different ways. I enjoy sharing crafting with others and watching them grow confidence in their creativity. To me, the craft is really second to the experience of coming together around a shared activity to express yourself. With jewelry making, I get excited to interact with people at local fairs. I appreciate hearing what styles they like and be inspired on what to create next.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other makers?
To just start making things. Once you start you may find that you don’t like a particular craft, but you may also discover something you truly love. The only way to find out is to try.
What goal(s) are you working toward?
I would love to teach more craft classes, create more in-person crafting experiences, and partner with other small business owners to bring the joy of crafting to more people. I want to grow my skills in block printing and embroidery, both I’ve dabbled in and enjoy.
What’s your creative mantra and why?
My creative mantra is, I can make that! Because there is so much satisfaction in working with my hands to bring an idea to life. It’s partly a challenge mixed with a little bit of wonder because sometimes projects have turned out differently than I imagined!
What’s on your studio playlist?
I absolutely love house music. DJ Black Coffee’s live performances are currently in rotation. I also listen to a variety of podcasts for artists and creatives. Some of my favorites are Creative Pep Talk, Don’t Keep Your Day Job, and Dear Handmade Life. I love hearing the stories of other creatives, it is pretty fascinating and inspiring.
When you’re not creating what are you up to?
Taking nature walks, reading books and spending time with my rescued chihuahua mix pup.
Makers make the crafting world go ‘round. Are you a maker who wants to be featured on Darice? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org – we’re looking forward to meeting you!
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