Artist Spotlight + The Essence of Mignon Faget

“From the beginning, I have worked closely with natural forms, never simply duplicating but always extracting the substance, the essence of a particular shape…refining it to perfection. My work is like a journal. Whatever it is that I am particularly interested in at that phase of my life comes out in my work.” – Mignon Faget

Mignon Faget is not only a noted artist, but also an art advocate and active preservationist in the Crescent City. Known for her exquisite jewelry reflecting the culture and traditions of her birthplace, New Orleans, we wanted to take a closer look at her humble beginnings and how she’s become an inspiration for many small business owners and artists alike.

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Mignon’s design career began in 1969 with the launch of a ready-to-wear clothing collection. The collection’s success prompted Mignon to start thinking about accessories that would enhance her clothing line. With the help of her early studies in sculpture at Sophie Newcomb College, her first jewelry collection began to take shape. Since then, jewelry has become her passion.

Later, in 1971, Mignon set up shop in a studio in Uptown New Orleans in half of a double-cottage on Dublin Street. Quickly becoming too cramped for her growing business, in 1973 Mignon relocated down the street and set up her atelier-styled venture with a shop downstairs and a workshop upstairs.
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Today, beyond creating iconic wearable art, Mignon has donated proceeds of her designs to the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana to aid in the Gulf oil spill clean up, NOLA for Life to combat gun violence, and Dash30Dash NOLA in support of the former Times-Picayune newspaper employees.
We had the chance to interview Mignon to ask her a little bit more about her jewelry and what inspires her.

Describe your art in three words.

Transformative. Refined. Sculptural. Playful.

Describe yourself in one word.

Curious. Inquisitive.

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Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?

I like to lay materials and designs out before me and see how they interact with each other. It is a very playful time. The refinement and critiquing comes later. A ritual? I do touch everything. The way that things feel is important to the work, but it is also very pleasurable and immersive.

Where do you draw inspiration?

My collections are most often inspired by a very specific plant, building, or material. I love to learn, so if I find something that excites me I will read, research, take classes, or just take it apart, if I can. When that research ignites my imagination and doesn’t let go, I will begin a more formal investigation with an eye towards design.

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Who are your artistic influences or gurus?

Seeing the work of George Jensen and Christian Dior in 1950s Paris made me aware that a good collection tells a story. They refined their vision with clarity while retaining a sense of intrigue. I responded to that process and strive to achieve that in my own work.

Where can we find you when you are not creating art?

Listening to the LPO, visiting HNOC, trying out new restaurants with friends, or walking in nature.

What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?

Though I love a good Sunday morning in March, the cool and quiet hours of the night are when my mind is the most active. It is a life-long habit to keep a notebook by my bed to capture the midnight muse.

Discover more work from Mignon’s HARDWEAR collection on Whereyart.net.