CHECK OUT WHAT’S POPPIN WITH BROOKLYN BASED JEWELRY DESIGNER MAUREEN SATURNE!
Interview by Stephanye Watts
MS: I started making jewelry in 2010. I was only toying with the idea of making jewelry for others then and would simply create pieces for myself. Since I hardly knew anything about metal and soldering, I ventured down the route of using chains and gorilla glue for adhesive (tsk tsk haha). I immediately became obsessed with making cuffs and would do so regularly. In 2010, a stylist friend of mine suggested I gift one my cuffs to Rihanna on the Good Morning America show. So at 6 am half asleep, I rushed to times square and was able to gift it to her in person! I’m not sure if she ever wore it but that moment is one of my greatest accomplishments. (Picture of shale cuff attached). In 2012, I began the metalsmithing course at FIT and after a few classes, it all started making sense. There’s truly a rush of confidence you get when the pieces you’ve soldered remain intact. At the end of 2013, I successfully launched my online website www.indiviju.co
MS: INDIVIJU is a slight spin off the french word “Individu” which means individual. With my most recent collection, I see each piece as an individual yet it’s still designed with a strong awareness of the collection as a whole; in doing so, I am targeting the unisex market. INDIVIJU caters to individuals who wear art not only to make a statement but to manifest the power of self. The pieces are created to fit to one’s day-to – day lifestyle.
SW: What really stood out to me was the weight of your pieces. Indiviju is by no means elevated costume jewelry. What materials do you work with?
It is all made of high quality Sterling Silver and Brass with options to plated in 14k Yellow Gold, in both matte and shiny finishes. I do love elaborate costume jewelry, but for the busy day-to-day, some of it is just not realistic. I design pieces that are transitional and easy to wear everyday. Some of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from customers is jewelry being “too heavy”. As the old adage goes, there’s a time and a place for everything, and in this busy city, less is always more.
MS: I am heavily inspired by shape and embrace natural imperfections of the hand at work, each piece of jewelry is made with care and given special attention to detail. Growing up Haitian, no hashtag haha, my style of dress was very elaborate, to say the least. This included, frilly dresses with never ending itchy tulle underneath, squeaky patent leather Mary Jane shoes and the numerous amounts of boule gogo (barrettes) and hair ties in my hair. As far as jewelry, I wore a gold name plate bracelet all throughout my childhood and didn’t have my ears pierced until I was 14. I do, however, remember my very fashionable Auntie “G” in Brooklyn instilling in me the importance of wearing the proper “bijoux” with every ensemble. She had the best collection of jewelry and would often gift me with gems upon my visit. I tend to think this is where my fashion sense came from.
MS: My wish for INDIVIJU is to evolve into a lifestyle brand with the motto “manifesting the power of self”. With this, I hope to find opportunities to branch out and find ways to give back to my homeland Haiti.
SW: Last but not least give us an inside clip into your youth via your favorite book and song are you obsessing over right now?
MS: I grew up in a predominately white town, and for a long time we were the only black family on our block. My earliest memory of my blackness was when I visited a local hair salon to get my hair styled for a 6th grade dance and the stylist apologized and told me she didn’t know how to do my “kind of hair”. See, I always knew I was black, but it was more so being Haitian that made me feel different from my peers Several years later, I was introduced to Toni Morrison’s “Bluest Eye” and it immediately brought me back to how I felt that day leaving the hair salon. It is a very haunting story of the destruction of a little black girl’s spirit, yet it allows you to inspired by the strength of main character, Pecole Breedlove. That coupled with Morrison’s eloquent descriptions makes it a damn good story!
I am tied with song obsessions. Tink’s “Million”, love the original Aaliyah song mash up. ‘One in Million’ is one of my all time favorite songs. I am still obsessing over The Internet’s new album ‘Ego Death’. Special Affair is my jam!