2020 PVD Design Catalyst: Marge Hinge of Hinge Designs
July 29, 2020 /// Featuring: Marge Hinge of Hinge Designs
MARGE HINGE of HINGE DESIGNS
1. Tell us about your company!
Hinge Designs creates evocative jewels that capture the wonders of the earth’s materials into empowering adornments. I wanted to find a way to take the beauty of a piece of stone and make it wearable without the barriers of metal. My pieces, beyond being art, serve as wearable talismans. People often find themselves drawn to certain stones and feel they benefit from wearing them.
2. What’s the story of your jewelry? What’s your philosophy?
I create one of a kind jewelry made directly from pieces of the earth. I strive to create work that evokes a feeling in the wearer. People are often drawn to certain colors, textures, and patterns in each of the stones. I believe that every piece is made for a specific person and I love seeing them find their homes. I believe in fewer better things.
3. Why did you start your business?
I have always made jewelry. Ever since I was a child, I would adorn myself with whatever I could get my hands on. Even at a young age I wanted to share my creations and started selling them early on. I love the freedom of working for myself. After graduating from RISD in Jewelry + Metalsmithing, I worked for various artists and shops and learned all I could about running a business. As I continued to build my own brand, I finally took the leap to work on it full-time.
4. Why did you apply to the Catalyst program?
My friend Heather Guidero (Catalyst ‘16 Cohort) had been through the program before and encouraged me to apply. I had left my full-time job to focus on my brand six months before I applied, and I was really building momentum with my work. I was excited for the opportunity to not only have funding but to also have a mentor, classes, and other artists and designers to go through the program with.
5. How has the Catalyst program impacted your business?
Through the Catalyst program, I was able to travel to the Tucson gem show to build relationships with miners and purchase materials directly from them. I acquired equipment to streamline both my studio production and website. This has allowed me to create more specialized collections and expand my business. I am extremely grateful for all of the connections I’ve made with my cohort, my mentors, and the teachers from both the workshops and clinics.
6. What do you still dream to achieve?
My dream is to be able to travel to a mine or two each year, find materials directly from the source, and create a limited collection around each trip. Documenting the experience and sharing my adventures as I go. I think it’s important to know where each material comes from and showing how it is formed.
7. What tips would you give to those who are looking to start their own business?
I would say to always keep working towards goals, even if they are small, as small things add up and every opportunity makes room for another one. Don’t be afraid to seek out help when you need it and remember that you and your business are constantly evolving and learning. Don’t get stuck on one thing, and be open to change. I think it was really important for me through this program to hear different ways of doing things that I thought I already knew how to do.
8. Finish this sentence! When I’m not designing I’m…
At the beach. The fresh air and the crash of the waves remind me to slow down and remember that there are bigger things out there.
9. What do you love about working in Rhode Island?
I love the community of artists that I have here in Providence. There are so many amazing people doing incredible things everywhere you turn. Between RISD and living in the city for 12 years, I love that Providence is a small city with a big heart. There are wonderful opportunities like the Design Catalyst and you never know when or where you will meet another interesting designer or maker. Plus I am in love with my studio at Ajay Land. It is the dreamiest old mill building with tall ceilings and huge windows—I can’t imagine working anywhere else.
10. What has it been like creating and designing during the current global health pandemic?
I have been incredibly fortunate to still be able to make work at this time. While my creativity and drive comes in waves, I have been in awe of the support that my friends, other artists, and customers have given me during this crazy time. I have shifted from focusing on wholesale to creating more collections and custom pieces. It has been really fun working with people on special pieces.
While it has been a tough year with the pandemic and things constantly up in the air, I am so grateful to have gone through the Catalyst program. I was working hard to grow my outreach to stores and wholesale when the pandemic hit. I was able to remain focused and had the support and people to talk to that were experiencing the same things as I was. I now have the equipment and tools to continue my business through large challenges and I am excited to see how much I can grow as we settle into the new normal.