M. Graves Jewelry is made from dirty, broken porcelain dolls.
To some, Megan Marrin' East Village studio in New
York City is a house of horrors. Hundreds of heads, hands, arms and
legs from the fashionable bodies of turn-of-the-century German dolls
lie scattered on her table. Some are broken. Some are dirty. None are
perfect. But these unique parts make up the centerpieces of her
romantic, yet perverse line, M. Graves Jewelry, named after her mother's family name.
The pieces are inspired by and made from a collection of nineteenth century Bisque porcelain doll heads that were excavated from the ruins of bombed-out doll factories in Thuringia, Germany. In addition, Marrin incorporates vintage chains and semiprecious stones such as orange turquoise and jasper that she gathers from around the world.
For her latest collection, Marrin experiments with large brass belt-loop rings, rope and neon spray paint to add an even more surreal touch to her necklaces, which cost from $200 to $450.
Dazed Digital: Where you fascinated by dolls as a child?
Megan Marrin: I wasn't into dolls when I was little, actually.
DD: How did you hear about the doll factory?
MM: By chance. I initially bought a box of old heads from a guy for an art project and decided I didn't want to work with them. I had the doll heads at my house and thought they would look cool as necklaces. After I started the line, I dealt with him directly and found out how several doll factories had been bombed out during WWII. People still go to the sites and dig up the porcelain in the ground.
DD: Is there a particular body part you like to use?
MM: I use heads, arms, legs. They come broken or dirty and then I figure what I'm doing with them. I'm partial to the really big heads. When I wear them I feel like a rapper that likes porcelain.
DD: What other materials to do you use?
MM: I go to Providence, Rhode Island to hunt for vintage, dead-stock components in the warehouses there. I search in New York, online, at fleas markets, wherever. I never really know what I'm looking for, but I know when I find it.
DD: Why did you decide to go all vintage with your line?
MM: I use vintage because I don't want to create anything new, anything extra. There is so much excess in goods that we buy, especially luxury goods. The only things that I buy new are some of the semi-precious beads, which I get from this cool place in Arkansas. All my packaging is recycled, reclaimed, or reused as well. That is very important to me.