So amazing to be featured in Jessica Faulkner's "WOMAN WE LOVE". Nothing better than playing dress up, vino, and good conversation with friend and BFF fashion designer Jessica Faulkner. Loved every second of it.
"WOMEN WE LOVE"
MARYANNA DONNELLY OF MARYLAMBB JEWELRY
This week we are featuring the very talented designer, Maryanna Donnelly, of MaryLambb Jewelry, as one of the women we love. With an eye for detail and a heart of gold we sat down with our sister friend and discussed her journey over a bottle of wine.
What is the inspiration behind your jewelry designs?
I have always been fascinated by construction, design, and color and I have always love fashion. When I was in high school I wanted to be a costume designer. I was one of those kids that took “playing dress” uber seriously, way into my teens. Fast forward to college when I finally found something to be passionate about: ART, specifically, the practice and history. I began to truly understand that it is an expression of who we are: culturally, sexually, religiously…everything.
After I graduated college I backpacked throughout Southeast Asia and India for over 6 months. I was enamored with the people and their jewelry. I recall seeing the monks performing alms at sunrise. Cloaked in orange and one strand of mala beads. I was also entranced by the women in India who literally wore their wealth on their bodies. One memory in particular still resonates.
I was riding on the 3rd class train from Mumbai to Matherin (India). The women clung to the rails, their shimmering bangles singing a melodious harmony…clinking and clanking, as the train rushed over the tracks. Their faces revealed that life had been hard, but their jewelry told a different story: gold, sparkling stones, and so many bangles. I learned later that women’s jewelry is often passed down through multiple generations, and is the only thing of monetary value that many women possess. Their jewelry literally held stories from ancient days past. I think this was when I really began to want to create my own jewelry that told a story, that represented the human subconscious. We are all connected, we are all imperfect, we all have a story.
After my travels I ended up in LA teaching art in the inner city. Once again, I was blown away by the vast economic disparities in our world, and how they played a role in our self-expression. I wanted so badly to make a difference to people on a deeply human level. After several years teaching, I learned that a lump in my breast might be cancerous. It was a long summer waiting to hear the results of my biopsy. In this moment… I basically had one of those life epiphanies: it is now or never. I decided to begin my journey creating my own art, my own contribution…. designing and creating jewelry that was meaningful and hopefully spiritual. I realize that this is a trendy concept, but for me it is a real way of celebrating the human condition, and expressing ones unique story.
How do you select the materials that you work with?
I select materials intuitively based on how the stones feel and look on a visceral level. I also research what specific stories and meanings the rocks have to a variety of peoples. Many of my designs are asymmetrical, and use hand knotting which is the time-honored tradition used through the world. My partner Justin has played a huge role in designing the larger pieces and providing insight on men’s fashion in Los Angeles. Personally, I strive to celebrate humanity’s unique imperfections that make us so different and so beautiful.
What motivates you and drives your work ethic?
I strive to create wearable art that speaks to people on a subconscious level, and hopefully provides people with a way to express themselves. I have carefully worked to create jewelry with fluidity as people move. Comfort and durability are also key. Sometimes my motivation is merely to create something beautiful that will make a person feel great!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would like to thank you for being an inspiration. Watching you build your own business with such laser like focus, commitment and powerful work-ethic has shown me that almost anything is possible if one stays the course. (Yes, I said that.)
“ I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but, people will never forget how you made them feel.’ Maya Angelou."
The Mandar collection is up on the website for your perusal!
Mandar is another name of the Lord Ganesha who is a supremely powerful God in the Hindu religion. Ganesha is known for his elephant head, and is one of most worshipped deities in Hinduism. He is thought to be "he who found the divinity within himself". He is believed to be the balance between force and kindness, and between power and beauty. In keeping with this vibe the Mandar necklaces are for men and woman, and are intended to help balance and empower the owner. They are also intended especially for men, but look dope on women. "I often wear Justin's necklaces layered and looped together, when I feel intimidated...to get my strength on, feel safe, and make a statement." Made with love by me.
Hello, and Happy Holidays...
Tis' the season of gift giving, of which I LOVE! There is nothing better then getting a person you love something they love. The gift of giving is truly enlightening. More than the actual gift is the sincerity, and beauty behind the object. Hopefully this practice leads us to focus in on all that is good, and let the rest float away. For me this is what the Holidays are about: choosing to breathe in fresh, blessed air, exhaling all the b#llsh*T, and really taking the time to show the people I love, that I LOVE them.
In celebration of the season, I have marked down the entire Wolf collection, which is EVERYTHING that is currently on the Marylambb website by a hefty 30%. Know that each piece is carefully designed, and crafted with love to create protection, and beauty for the owner. (Necklaces are to be worn by men and women.) Stay posted for my HOLIDAY COLLECTION coming out soon.
Recently I have been doing a lot of custom jewelry for weddings. I have been honored to be able to design jewelry for several fantastic, beautiful celebrations. This was not my initial goal as a designer, but I I have found a poignant, sweetness in this interaction, that is incomparable. Getting married is often one of the most special moments in one's life. It is a time to celebrate giving, and receiving love between to people. It is such an honor, talking to a bride and groom, getting to know them, and then creating unique peices that accentuate the mood of the day.
Side note: Grooms get ready! I am still waiting to design a mala inspired necklace for the groom, and his dudes. Contact me if you want something spiritual, yet out of the ordinary.
I just spent the weekend in my hometown of Sonoma, California celebrating my Mom's seventieth birthday. It often takes a major event: a marriage, a death, a birth to remind us to have gratitude for those we love. In this case, a flagstone birthday gave me the chance to reflect upon the gifts my Mother has given me.
To start....my Mom gave me the gift of life. Tada! This is a big deal, and I am deeply grateful....however she has done many other things that were far less dramatic, but equally as vital. When I was six years old she went back to school for her second Masters, then back to work. All the while, being an involved rad, parent. She even made it look easy. She told me "get an education, never count on a man to support you, be in charge of your own money." I believed her.
At the same time, she made sure I understood that family is EVERYTHING, and has been selfless in her love for my dad, my sister, my brother and myself. She pushed me to go to college, to find my passion..ART...and to practice it. She taught me to work hard, and to expect the best of myself and others. She taught me to be kind...no matter what.
It is so interesting, the things we do with the gifts our parents bestow upon us. My parents are Catholic. Not surprisingly she invited "the priest" to her birthday party. It made me proud to see the pride in her eyes as she introduced me to this kind, quiet man. I do not go to church anymore... the best I can say is that I am "culturally Catholic". Still I am grateful for the gift of spirituality she embedded in my upbringing. This is integral in the designing and making of the jewelry I create for people.
Last thought..."it is in giving that we receive." This phrase kept running through my mind during her party. Perhaps I still retain some of my "Cathlicness" after all;). In any case, I retain the point. The act of giving is the same as receiving love. Thank you Mom for giving me so much...You are pretty much a celebrity in our family!
Here I am chillen' in my gear:). I am wearing the Karma necklace, and a custom turquoise bracelet. Read more about the meaning of the stones in my descriptions, or just google "the meaning of stones." There is a plethora of good info online.
When creating Marylambb, one of the most important things to me was that the jewelry help the owner become the best version of themselves. "I care about people, its kind of my thing." Yes, this is a tall order but I always aim high. (I am, in actuality, pretty tall.)
Marylambb jewelry is unique, it is lovely. It looks good at the beach, at an art gallery, and the office. It wears well to any formal event... it looks good on men and woman. All of these things things are crucial in a great line of jewelry. However, I would still say the most notable part of my line is that it works to empower the owner!
I choose stones that heal, protect, and enlighten you. I have carefully made each piece to offer a powerful recipe of protection. Read about each piece and know that it has been created to make you feel better and be your personal best..it also looks cool and super luxe.
My next collection is inspired by Mermaids. I first fell in love with Mermaids when I saw Splash with Tom Hanks and Daryl Hanna. I fell in love with the idea of spending my days swimming underwater with no clothes. I was enthralled with Daryl Hanna's sparkly tale, and Barbie blond tresses. My obsession was fueled by Disney's reinterpretation of Hans Christian Anderson's fairytale The Little Mermaid. I vividly remember dreaming up actual ways I could become a real mermaid.
In my thirties now, I no longer believe in Mermaids....not really...most of the time. However, I treasure the childlike wonder that allowed me to believe that I could become a mermaid if I just came up with a plan. This collection is dedicated to the child dreamer in all of us who believe that anything is possible.