I am excited to introduce you to a budding jewelry designer.  

Her unique and creative designs are sure to capture your curiosity as they have mine. 

Mary Frances Flowers

Asheville, NC 

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What is your training? 

I’ve always been creative and loved putting things together with my hands but didn’t have any formal “training” until college. A wonderfully talented jewelry designer took a chance on me in college and hired me as her production intern without any knowledge at all. She taught me some basics of jewelry making and design then recommended I actually get formal training at a school in New York City after college. The summer after I graduated from Wofford College, I took online classes with GIA to learn more about stones and metals, then I attended a jewelry production school in midtown manhattan the fall after graduation. It truly was a crash course in everything I could want to know about fine jewelry production. Everything else I’ve learned from trial and error. Sometimes my favorite pieces are the ones that started out as something else and then somewhere along the way of failing and “messing up”, something beautiful comes of it.

What inspires you and your designs?

Nature and organic shapes are my biggest influencers. Since I’ve moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains, one of my favorite ways to find inspiration is simply to go on a walk or hike in my neighborhood. The way the leaves look as shadows on the ground or the organic texture of the changing bark throughout the seasons provides constant inspiration.

 What is your favorite piece? pictures if possible…

Right now, it’s the Turtle Necklace. (But it changes daily!) The necklace was actually cast from a real turtle (ethically sourced ;)), and the subtle grooves and patterns of the shell are simply amazing. 

SS15-NECK16-GP,  Turtle Necklace

How has the your area influenced your work?

It’s funny because when I think about all of the places I’ve lived in the past 3-4 years (I think it’s 7?), I start to actually see how my surroundings have crept their way into my designs. When I was in New York, I was really inspired by architecture and the lines in the subway tunnels, but now, in Asheville, I find myself more inspired by nature and the relaxed lifestyle here. My work has gotten more and more organic and “perfectly imperfect.” I no longer worry about if the shape is an exact representation but rather the way it moves with the other shapes and elements of the piece.

What is your favorite restaurant in Asheville?

Oh my gosh, there are so many. When I moved here, I was worried I would miss the city and the abundance of great eating, but everywhere I’ve eaten in Asheville has been amazing. My at-least-once-a-week spot is the WALK (West Asheville Lounge and Kitchen) in West Asheville, but my favorite meal I’ve had here was definitely at Rhubarb downtown.

Rhubarb-Asheville-North-Carolina-700

What is your favorite cocktail?

Being that I live in “Beer City“, I don’t find myself drinking too many cocktails. But when I do, I am a tequila girl all the way. So, I’d say, either a damn good margarita or a tequila sunrise.

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How do you balance personal life and work?

Instead of compartmentalizing these parts of my life, I try to find ways to mesh them together. I’ll plan shows in cities where I know I can see friends or family. Or, I’ll drive through places to see friends on my way to a show, etc. Of course, I attempt to keep a daily work schedule where I’ll work until a certain time and then give myself time to relax with my boyfriend/friends at night. That doesn’t always happen, but I do my best to try! I’m so grateful that I’m surrounded by incredibly supportive people. My parents, my sisters, my boyfriend, and friends all know that I’m young, this business is young, and right now, this is my number one,  and that’s okay. They’re understanding, and they all do so much to support me and my dreams,  and that is something for which I will never be able to repay.

Dream trip?

I’ve been dying to go to Greece since I can remember. The pictures I’ve seen are so beautiful, and I have a serious case of wanderlust.

Santorini-Greece-low

Dream commission?

I’d love to see my designs on the red carpet one day but even more special and meaningful than that would be to design something spectacular for Princess Kate. She’s the epitome of a modern day royal, and her style is flawless. To know that a royal would wear my jewelry means it would be kept for generations, and that sentimentality just cannot be beat.

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Your favorite host / hostess gift to give?

Southern Straws Cheese Straws​. They are simply the best cheese straws I’ve ever eaten and such a wonderfully southern gift of thanks.

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Who is your style icon?

This one is hard. To be honest, I feel like I never really have an answer to this question. I love anything Mara Hoffman comes out with–she’s bold and daring; she’s completely unique from every other designer in that way, and I love Jennifer Lawrence‘s approach to style–she wears whatever looks good and feels great; she dresses for herself not for others.

Jennifer-Lawrence-Style1-1

But, when it comes to who I can most relate to, I’d probably have to go with Jennifer Aniston. She admits to having a pretty basic “uniform” of boyfriend jeans and a comfortable white top, and she looks beautiful in this simple outfit because she’s comfortable in it. When she walks the red carpet, she wears whatever fits her body, not what’s “trendy.” 

DEGAINE-JEANS-photo-Jennifer-Aniston

While I like to go a little bolder and wilder sometimes, you can more often than not, find me in a simple “uniform” of jeans and a super soft top (I’m a nut for crazy soft material). I try to dress for what looks good on me, not what looks good on a 5’10 model,  because I certainly will never be 5’10 😉

Your favorite up and coming artist?

She’s pretty much already up and come, but I’ll never stop fawning over Teil Duncan‘s work. We’re from the same hometown, and everything she comes out with is beautiful and brilliant. 

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 What is your most treasured possession?

A picture of my grandmother, Moss,  and my dad taken about 60 years ago. My dad was a baby, and my grandmother was a stunning young woman looking down at him lovingly. It’s the most perfect depiction of a mother’s love, and it makes me smile each time I look at it. I remember seeing it in her home when I was young; it was hidden behind a bookshelf, only a small portion was peeking out. When she passed away, I asked my grandfather if I could have it. He graciously gave it to me, frame and all. I think it’s so special to me because I was the only one who ever saw it. When my grandfather gave it to me, all of my cousins asked where it came from because they had never seen it before. I think my grandmother left it in that exact spot because she knew it would one day belong to me.

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What are you reading?

Amy Poehler’s “Yes, Please“. I’ve gotten on an autobiography kick lately. I love reading about people’s stories and how they got to where they are today. Hearing the beginning struggles and seeing their success now is what keeps me going when things get hard. I think the vulnerable “failure” stories are so much more meaningful than the success stories because how will you ever really know you’ve had success until you’ve failed multiple times? It’s the “oh-my-gosh-what-am-i-doing-with-my-life-I-should-give-up” stories that inspire me,  because I feel like that pretty much every day. If those people genuinely thought they were going to fail but then had incredible success, then what’s stopping me from doing the same thing?

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What are you listening to?

Mumford and Sons new album, Wilder Mind. 

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What are your favorite blogs / publications?

I love Annie Reeves‘ blog. She just so honest and actually very helpful with her tips. I love reading I Suwannee, Jamie Mears of Furbish Studio’s blog. Her style is all over the place,  something with which I can completely relate. After every awards show, I always love seeing your dress to room pairings on The English Room-what a creatively unique way to view fashion! Vogue is, of course, a staple read each month. But lately, I’ve loved reading Matchbook Mag and Darling, both are gorgeous publications and present great messages to women, and I appreciate that.

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Enjoy a few of my favorite pieces. 

 SS15-RING04-G, +Long+Bar+Ring SS15-NECK12-G, +Lemon+Necklace_edited-1 Oyster SS15-STUD07-G, +Long+Bar+Stud Heart+Studs SS15-HOOP01-G, +Dots+Hoop iFioriLB-7+edited

I adore all of these animal cuffs.  They are so chic and original!

iFioriLB-25_editediFioriLB-30+edited SS15-CUFF09-G, +Rhino+Cuff+Side SS15-CUFF08-G, +Owl+Cuff SS15-CUFF05-G, +Fox+Cuff iFioriLB-19+edited SS15-CODE02-G, +SMILE+Code+Cuff SS15-CODE03-G, +WANDER+Code+Cuff

I want to put in a formal request for a horse cuff.

Grab yourself a bauble on her website and follow along on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

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