This past March (International Women’s Day to be exact!) I visited the studio of the incredibly talented Emily Maynard. Emily is the designer and owner of Elva Fields Jewelry and she happens to be a fellow Louisville creative entrepreneur (which obviously means we are soul sisters). Elva Fields was founded in 2003 as the result of Emily’s dual fascination with indulging the artistic and academic facets she found within her personality. After graduating from Roanoke Virginia’s, Hollins University, with degrees in both French and Art History Emily followed her passion to The Bard Graduate Center in New York City. During her time in New York completing her Master’s thesis, Emily acquired metalworking skills akin to the ancient traditions – it was at this point where she recognized that it might be possible to combine her interest in the study of jewelry and the creation of it. Emily’s studio is a space filled with unusual vintage items scoured in markets, auctions, and shops both far and wide. It is one of the coolest and most interesting studios I have visited. Emily incorporates these found treasures into her three Elva Fields lines – Elva, June, and Deb – all named for the wonderful and powerful women in her family; her great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother. Elva Fields Jewelry is made by hand and with love by Emily in our home state of Kentucky.
Connecting with like-minded creatives who are champions of the arts is without a doubt one of the best parts of my job! Many of the women who I sit down with have become more than just colleagues but wonderful friends. This all being said, I am thrilled to introduce Emily as our Guest Curator; we hope you enjoy “meeting” her too! Welcome, Emily!
Tell us about yourself.
I’m an artist, designer, mother, business owner, almost 40-year-old (!) who loves her library card, live music, Spanish moss, sunshine, sparkling water (both the kind you drink and the kind you can see in nature,) the color red-orange, and the word “embouteillage” in French. (It means “traffic jam.”)
Why did you start your blog/brand/business?
I founded Elva Fields, my jewelry business, in 2003 after finishing graduate school and realizing I wanted to combine my love of history (my Masters Thesis discussed Greek, Roman, and Italian Renaissance jewelry) with my deep love of creating things (with an artist for a mother, making things was an everyday activity.) The creative process gives me such joy, and I’m able to hunt for vintage and antique treasures all over the world and give them new life in a necklace or pair of earrings, continuing to tell their interesting stories through reinvention and repurposing.
What is currently on your nightstand? What are you reading?
A stack of books! Always. Right now: Mary Karr’s memoir The Liar’s Club, a book on meditation by Dr. Joe Dispenza called Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, a few old sections of the Sunday New York Times (it takes me FOREVER to get through it), Girls and Sex by Peggy Orenstein (I have two daughters – it came highly recommended,) A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life by Mary Randolph Carter (all about creative, messy houses,) and issues of Town & Country and Southern Living.
What is your biggest score online to date?
I found this incredible vintage necklace on Everything But The House (the most glorious rabbit hole ever!) about a year or so ago that had engraved silver birds that linked together with pendants that draped from floral plaques to create a statement-making bib-like style. It was enormous and fabulous and so unlike anything I’d ever seen anywhere…and I sold it, like a crazy person. But I trust the Universe, and I’m betting the person who bought it rocks it like a champ.
It is said to look for art that ‘makes your heart skip a beat’ What aspects of art make your heart skip?
Color and pattern every time.
If you have the entire day to spend in an art museum, which one and why?
The Met. It was like a second home in graduate school, right across the park from our campus buildings on the Upper West Side, and, as students, we had all-access (with curatorial supervision, of course) to the archives, their basement storage facilities, behind-the-scenes of installations, restorations, and exhibitions…it was incredible. I’d love a day just to go back, wander, and spend time with all that beauty. Without having to write a paper at the end!
The key to making a house a home? What does a home need more of and less of?
Collections. My favorite homes are those that feel filled with thoughtfully-gathered souvenirs – whether from far-flung trips or even a favorite shop in town. Paintings, sculptures, dishes, shells, furniture, vases, boxes, books, rugs, lamps- it’s so true that if we love something, we’ll find a way to make it work, and the homes that I find most wonderful are those that combine a bit of everything the people in them have loved. More of that, less of someone else dictating what is displayed.
The greatest color combination that ever existed?
Coral, red-orange, and jade green; pink and orange are a close second.
What’s your favorite housewarming gift?
Depends on the circumstance, but either a framed vintage postcard from a spot meaningful to the recipient, a beautifully bronzed bell windchime from Just Creations, or a watercolor sketch if I have my act together and can sit to paint for a bit.
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