Where They Are NOW? series 2016 : Mary Walsh


I discovered the ever so talented, Mary Walsh-Reynolds in 2010 when she opened a vintage shop by the name of Myrtle Dove Vintage with her sister, Michelle.  As the years went by Mary and I have kept in contact via social media outlets.  Being an active member of the MICA community, she has participated in developing the annual MICA Art Market. In December 2015, she made a big splash with her new jewelry line, MARU by Mary Walsh-Reynolds. 

Mary Walsh-Reynolds in 2010 modeling a dress from Mrytle Dove Vintage.
Mary Walsh-Reynolds in 2010 modeling a dress from Mrytle Dove Vintage.

Recently, I had the pleasure of catching up with the jewelry designer, animal advocate and vintage enthusiast.

1. How did you fall in love with jewelry design? What was the first piece of jewelry you made?

I have loved jewelry for as long as I can ever remember. As a small child I used to raid my Mom’s jewelry box and layer necklace upon necklace around my neck. When I was 18, my Aunt surprised me with a chunky, vintage turquoise Native American ring that belonged to her since the 60’s. She recounted that as a baby sitting on her lap I was mesmerized by the ring and constantly wanted to touch and play with it. It is still one of my most treasured pieces of jewelry, and my passion for Native American and indigenous jewelry continues to this day.
My Mom, an artist herself, used to come up with fun craft projects for my siblings and I to make, so my first piece of jewelry was probably some macaroni necklace, or maybe even a shrinky dink pendant. I also remember stringing clover flowers together to make clover chain necklaces and headbands with my older sis when we were very little. Back in the 80’s my older brother Danny taught me how to make really intricate patterned friendship bracelets from embroidery thread and they were so popular amongst our friends that we sold them to make extra spending cash.
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My first piece of metal jewelry that I made was a stamped copper bangle with a prong set purple cowry shell – very tribal and weathered in look and feel. A double banded silver chunky ring followed, with a relief design of animal silhouettes inspired by the ancient Paleolithic cave paintings found in the Lascaux caves in France. My siblings and I were raised on National Geographic magazines from childhood and its images of the cave paintings and other indigenous art and jewelry no doubt permeated my sense of style and would later be translated into my handmade jewelry.

 

2. How has your designs evolved since your first piece? How would you describe the process of coming up with a new design?

My designs have become more sophisticated since college, but they still possess an antiquated, tribal feel. My work continues to evolve as I become more proficient in techniques and have access to better quality tool and materials. I am currently obsessed with unusual semi- precious stones and beads that were out of my reach when I was in college.

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As far as my design process goes, I am working on balancing my innate desire to create on a whim– following the creative sparks firing in my head– with a more structured approach of sketching out different variations on the initial concept. Ultimately my stones and beads usually drive the design. I like to study each gemstone in my hands and allow it to inspire the design. Sometimes I will come up with design ideas as I am drifting off to sleep.

3. What do you remember most about having Myrtle Dove vintage shop?

I remember the sheer joy of buying vintage items for the shop with my business partner/younger sis Michelle and then putting them out into the universe to give them a new lease on life, so to speak. We always felt ecstatic when our customers found an item that really resonated with them, like a dress from the 60’s that hadn’t been worn in 50 plus years, but fit the customer as if it had been made just for them and had been waiting for them all along. Owning that shop was a great experience that I will never forget.

4. How would you describe the Baltimore fashion scene? What are your fave boutiques in Baltimore and why?

The Baltimore fashion scene is pretty eclectic and runs the gamut from edgy to urban to kitschy to preppy (more so in Baltimore County). Punk and rockabilly influences seem to run deep in this town, and black tees, worn jeans, bangs, and red lips never seem to go out of fashion in Baltimore. The 80’s and 90’s trends have made a comeback and I see Doc Martens are really back in style.

The Baltimore fashion scene is pretty eclectic and runs the gamut from edgy to urban to kitschy to preppy (more so in Baltimore County). Punk and rockabilly influences seem to run deep in this town, and black tees, worn jeans, bangs, and red lips never seem to go out of fashion in Baltimore. The 80’s and 90’s trends have made a comeback and I see Doc Martens are really back in style.
I like that people in Baltimore seem to feel free to express themselves via fashion, so I wouldn’t like to see that sense of creative self-expression change at all.
My favorite boutiques in Baltimore for clothing and accessories are South Moon Under, Cloud 9 Clothing, and In the Details. I have shopped at the MD based South Moon Under stores for as long as I can remember and think they do a phenomenal job of buying and visual merchandising. Cloud 9 Clothing has been a favorite of mine since college when I worked at the Wavedancer Board Shop at the Towson Town Center and would pop over to Cloud 9 to check out the hip, free-spirited attire.
I also make special trips to Hampden to visit In the Details, a fun, hip boutique in Hampden that offers a great selection of clothing and accessories for men and women, including vintage clothing, and Kiss N’ Make-Up where I like to stock up on lip-gloss and kitschy gag gifts for family and friends. I pop into Sturgis Antiques/Milk & Ice when I’m on the Avenue to check out unusual antique finds and look through Milk and Ice’s collection of killer vintage clothing at very reasonable prices. I always round out my trips to the Avenue with a visit to Ma Petite Shoe for stylish kicks or a chocolate fix, and Trohv to buy gifts and look at the beautiful lines of jewelry they carry.
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5. What are your plans for your brand in 2016? What is your top three fave new items for 2016 and why?

Following a successful sale at last December’s MICA Art Market, I decided to roll out a new jewelry line called MARU (by Mary Walsh-Reynolds), after my cat Chai’s nickname for me. I plan to make several collections of jewelry within the MARU line, each centered around a specific inspiration.
I plan to continue my journey back into metalsmithing with an emphasis on surface texture and forging metal in order to create jewelry that feels like cultural artifacts and are deeply personal and sentimental to the wearer. Gemstones and minerals will continue to play a central role in this line.
I am really excited about my new collection of talisman necklaces that focus on a central stone accented with tassels, but I am probably most stoked about my new line of hand-cut sterling silver and brass earrings that are stamped and textured with an indigenous, tribal vibe. I am enjoying wearing the prototypes around town to gauge how others react to them. Lastly, I am looking forward to creating a line of textured sterling silver, brass, and copper cuffs and bangles that add impact to any wardrobe.
I am planning to open my brand new Etsy webshop, “MARU by Mary Walsh-Reynolds” during the early part of 2016 to make my collections available globally. Stay tuned at marubymary.etsy.com
In addition, I have been approached to sell my work in an established eco-boutique in Maryland and a new boutique in Rehoboth, Delaware. I am looking forward to selling my jewelry within several boutiques in Maryland and beyond.

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Mary Walsh-Reynolds 
This is a very exciting time to be creating in Baltimore. There is a certain synergy of the likes this town has probably not witnessed since the 1960’s. I am personally feeling a rejuvenation within my own self and am looking forward to translating this creative force into my jewelry. -Mary Walsh




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