Artists ~ Monique G. Burgess ~ Portsmouth

Artist’s name: Monique G Burgess
Shop name: MGBstudio
Travel Blog:

1. Tell us about your work
All my jewelry items are one of a kind and handmade in my Portsmouth home studio overlooking the Sakonnet. My main materials include small sparkling faceted gemstone beads or briolettes, leather cord, Japanese silk knotting thread, and ultra tiny faceted Charlotte seed beads. I'm a sailor, global ocean cruiser, with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts. Nautical knotted gemstone jewelry has been my specialty since 2008, when my husband, 2 kids and I sailed from Newport, Rhode Island to Auckland, New Zealand.

2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
Living on a 48-foot catamaran for a few years will alter your world...for the better. It was during our family global cruise that I realized my need to create jewelry was more than a hobby, it was a craving, a necessity. Etsy, and a few local shops, have made it possible for my signature items to be available to to a global clientele.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration?
Beyond RI's beautiful waterfronts, my designs are inspired by red coral reefs submerged in turquoise waters and dotted with tropical fish, lush mountains that shoot straight out of the ocean, family hikes to waterfalls, and of course, coiled rope, taught lines, vertical halyards, grainy teak wood, critical shiny cleats and colorful spinnakers. Some of these items painted my daily scenes, others were my foundation, my insurance, my safety.

4. What’s your favorite item to create?
Anything that will be worn daily. I dig statement pieces, but mostly enjoy creating adornments that can be thrown on before running out to the gym, grocery store, or the office.

5. What’s your best seller?
Two designs rise to the top: my minimalist gemstone silk thread magnetic clasp necklaces and multi-wrap gemstone leather bracelets with unique nautical knotting that can also be worn as an anklet.

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
I was born and raised here. After studying abroad, sailing some of the planet's greatest oceans, in 2010 I returned home to Aquidneck Island.

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
It's probably the best sailing in the world. Driving over the many bridges, Rhode Island makes me feel like I'm living in a resort town. But most of all, I adore the fact that if you chat with a Rhode Islander long enough, you'll find you are somehow related!!! It's such a small community of fantastic people.

8. Please include anything else you’d like to add:
My favorite design stories, in the short life of my company (March 2014), is all about repurposing dusty, old, or even broken elements. One client sent me 100-year-old family heirloom glass buttons to be incorporated into my casual everyday designs. Another client handed me her gorgeous vintage Chanel button to be utilized as a clasp in a gemstone wrap bracelet. A dusty handcarved bone tiki of a mama whale and her baby was entrusted to me and my knotting wrap techniques. Adding these precious personal items, immediately transform my jewelry into very sentimental pieces for MGBstudio customers.


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