This month, we began expanding our jewelry options with unique porcelain cameo rings and pendants designed and created by Marcie McGoldrick. The New York-based artist spent 16 years working at Martha Stewart Omnimedia—starting as a product developer for the “Martha by Mail” catalog, before transitioning to craft editor for Martha Stewart publications, and eventually to consultant and independent artisan.
While studying Industrial Design at Pratt Institute, Marcie began experimenting with ceramics and the process of slip casting—making a mold from a model in order to cast in larger quantities—actually inspired her to veer toward variation rather than uniformity. “I was really drawn to the process because, even with a mold, there is still the opportunity for each piece to feel a bit different. I tend to exploit that idea in the ceramics that I make.”
Marcie’s innate curiosity was encouraged by her mother, a teacher, who reinforced her instincts to make and to take things apart and put them back together again. “I was always taking apart broken things, like watches, VCRs, and music boxes. I wanted to see how they worked and if I could fix them.” This approach ties directly into her design philosophy of remaining curious and creating things that have the potential for emotional connection. When she embarks upon a new project, Marcie is often spurred by the desire to learn an entire new skill set or technique. “When I started the cameo jewelry I had never worked with metal before, so I was able to learn about castings and bezel setting. There was a steep learning curve, but it was worth it.”
Those cameos have delicate details and a unique tactile quality that results from their source inspiration and Marcie’s materials and methods. “A friend of mine began collecting Grand Tour Cameos, which were souvenirs from Pompeii and Herculaneum during Victorian times. I was really drawn to them and decided to cast them in the porcelain colors that I was developing for my other ceramics. Because many of them were fairly small and ceramics shrink after firing, they were a great size for jewelry.”
Her process for creating each piece includes casting the cameo in colored porcelain—which means the cameos are not glazed a color, but rather the clay itself determines the color. Once the piece is cast, it is hand finished and fired before being set in silver or gold. Because each piece is hand finished and set, all are completely unique.
In addition to her work as a ceramist and jewelry maker, Marcie works as a freelance creative consultant in both Brooklyn, New York, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Look for her cameo rings and necklaces at The Factory and in our online store.