Monday, October 1, 2012

Interview with J. Musi, Artist and Designer at MusiBatty

Hey! Thank you for joining me today!  I am overjoyed to present this interview with Jennifer Musi, the artist and designer for MusiBatty.  If you saw my blogoversary post, hopefully you are already excited about her jewelry and the upcoming giveaway of the Mexican Bird pendant.  There will be more on that later, but I wanted to give you a little background on the artist herself.  Therefore, without further ado, I present Jennifer Musi of MusiBatty.

Model wearing four MusiBatty pieces. Used with permission.

Jennifer Musi
designer for MUSIBATTY
Full Metal Beauty

1. Please explain a little bit about your creative process.
I make hand crafted sterling silver jewelry.

I begin by drawing simple line sketches that explore ideas. I have notebooks filled with them. When I am ready to work I ask myself, what am I exited to make today? Sometimes I browse through my drawings to get ideas, other times, I have a clear picture in my mind. Usually I see what materials I have, and then work around that. I began my business with a small investment, so I am used to making do with whatever silver I have and adapting my ideas to that.

I always make things I would like to wear. I have a sense of urgency when I begin a piece because I can hardly wait to see it on. This curiosity is the motor that fuels my work.

I use sterling silver sheet or wire and construct each piece by cutting, forging and soldering.

My studio is simple: a tall worktable with a chef and a plumber's torch, a Foredom tool, steel punches to mark silver, hammers and saws. A large, metal air vent hangs directly above my workspace, to extract the dangerous fumes that come from soldering, making the room look like the scientist's lab from an old Mexican sci-fi movie.

Some of my pieces are one-of-a-kind, others I repeat using the lost wax casting process, which I outsource to a local studio.

Effortless. Image used with permission.
2. Why did you choose silver as a medium?
I work with sterling silver because it ages beautifully and will last forever. Very few jewelers use it because it is so expensive, but I love making and wearing pieces that last and I love how silver polishes the more you wear it.

I never limit a design for fear of making it too expensive. I love jewelry that has substance, and my priority is to make a design that is both comfortable and works visually.

I use recycled silver for all of my one-of-a-kind pieces and will soon be making the switch for my cast pieces as well.

3. What is your impetus for creating?
I was born in a creative family. My mom is a textile artist who works with Nuno felting (, my dad a sculptural architect, and my sister a creative pastry chef, so artistry is in my bones.

I create because it is my voice and my meditation. It is how I connect and find meaning in the world.

I've tried other mediums, painting, ceramic sculpture, and printmaking, but making silver jewelry has been a perfect fit for me. I have an abundance of ideas, which would normally make me scattered, but since I am mostly self taught and have limited knowledge of metal-smith techniques, and because I am not a conceptual artist and therefore have limits for the size and weight of a piece, I have to narrow my choices and make stronger and more focused work.

Quiet confidence. Image used with permission
4. I love your slogan, "Full Metal Beauty."  What does that mean to you?
In terms of material, my slogan references the fact that my pieces are the same metal inside and out (sterling silver). In terms of shape, it speaks of my preference for solid, minimal forms that have a strong presence and personality. As a concept, it also reflects how I choose to live life, fully present, enjoying the beauty and perfection of each moment. Most important though, to me, the image of strength and beauty represents my customers who trust themselves each time they choose to buy my work. Since I have always sold directly to the public, and have a close relationship with most of my customers, I know these are empowered women and men who have a unique vision.

This is MORE than just a pretty bird!  Image used with permission.
5.  Can you give us a little background about the Mexican Bird Necklace?
My mom used to teach an arts and crafts class at our school when my sister and I were growing up in Mexico City in the 70's. In one project, we glued string to the side of a tin can outlining our favorite animal and then painted over it. I made a feathered bird on my can and painted it hot Mexican pink. I used to love the textured surface. The Mexican Bird pendant is the memory of my childhood bird, a whimsical and playful piece that celebrates a life filled with joy lived in a colorful country.

6.  What are some other favorite pieces you have in your shop?
My favorite piece is the feather ring. I love that is abstract and can also look like a fossil. I ran into a friend once who asked me if I had made the feather ring in the catalogue of a department store. I told her I had not, but when I returned to my studio, I thought, how would I make a feather ring? This is what resulted. A lot of my work springs from jewelry or accessories I see in books, online, or on the street. I never copy because I would not contribute to life in any way, but I wonder how I would make it. So if I see an owl necklace, I draw owls until I find MY owl, and if it's worth exploring further, I make it into a piece.

Anillo Pluma - Feather Ring, 2012, MusiBatty
7.  Do you have any final words for the Art, Like Bread readers?
My advice to a reader is: make work that surprises you, and have a deep connection with what you make. Your work will communicate that love to others. This connection is what makes work memorable and unique, and in my opinion, it's the only work worth making.

When I began making jewelry four years ago, I knew I wanted to make it my livelihood. I had worked jobs to support my art and that never worked for me. I remember asking every jeweler I met if they were able to live off their work, but they all said it was an expensive hobby. I decided that would not be the case for me, so I made up my mind to make the best work possible and keep this mantra in mind: my work uplifts all beings and I sell everything I make. So far, it has worked! I am forever grateful.

Please join me in thanking Jennifer Musi, artist and designer for MusiBatty, for being so open and generous with her process.  I am incredibly thankful that she's here on Art, Like Bread!  I can tell you from personal experience that her pieces are top notch.  I LOVE her work, and I wear at least one of her pieces every single day.  They work with everything from t-shirts to business suits to black tie.  And, as an aside, I recommend you check out her Etsy store right away, because she does sell out of stuff and with good reason! She's a one-woman operation and for what you get (the quality, the material, the usefulness, original art pieces from the artist herself) her prices are very, very low right now. 

I can be yours! Come back on Oct. 15 to win me!
Please visit MusiBatty on her website  There you can link to her etsy store.  Check back here on to win the beautiful Mexican Bird pendant!  The contest will open on October 15, 2012!

Disclosure Statement:  This is NOT a compensated post. I just LOVE this artist!!