Michelle Verbeeck found the best way to carry your favorite quote (from a book, a poem, a person and even from yourself) always with you: engraving it on a gorgeous leather and silver cuff. Michelle thus repurposed the function of accessories and jewels, making them become a mean through which those words that to you mean something, can always be near. Like a little tattoo of memories and thoughts, but far less painful to get, and –and that’s the best- switchable, depending on your mood and on your evolving feelings.
:: Why and when did you start Michelle Verbeeck? I started Michelle Verbeeck leather jewelry about 2 years ago. I was feeling like I needed a change in my artistic career. I have always been interested in creating. Taking the raw elements and seeing what I can do with them has always inspired me in my art. I had broke my wrist in two places a little over 2 years ago and had to take a long break from creating. Before that I was making and showing art quilts in galleries, I had won several prizes, but it was just not the right thing for me. I had taken a few silver jewelry making classes at the local art guild and fell in love with making jewelry. I love the classes but silver was not what was calling me, leather is more of who I am, and so I combined my knowledge of both and designed my current line of custom made leather cuffs and other jewelry items.
:: Where do you get your inspiration from? I am inspired by many things! It can be just a sudden thought of oh wonder if I can do that or a phrase or quote that I like and want to share with my customers.
Sometimes its the desire to fill a need like my medic alert jewelry, which was an opportunity for me to create something people would want to wear that was stylish and fun yet still provide the necessary live saving info.
I am also inspired by my customers! I do a lot of custom work and I always find it interesting to find ways to give my customers what they want. Sometimes it’s how much text can I squeeze into the cuff design they want. One time it was designing a cuff plate in silver to represent a family crest. I enjoy making things people find so personal and important to them.
:: Who is your ideal buyer? My buyers come from a broad range of people, from young people who have a message they want to say, to couples who want a special thought on his and hers bracelets, even older people who wear my jewelry because the custom nature of the messages they can pick make that piece special to them. Having this very wide range of buyers and I work hard to create something special for each of them.
:: What is your favorite NYC Place? My favorite place in NY has to be the Metropolitan Museum of art, I can spend days in there, there’s so much to see, understand, discover. It’s a place always full with surprises.
:: Do you think New York can still be considered the place to be for young creatives? Yes absolutely! I think New York is a bustling place with lots of opportunities for creative people. NY has a vast creative center that brings together opportunities in many creative fields. So, no matter what your dream is, you can always find a way to make it happen in NY. It’s just where everything merges and gets connected, and it’s full of energy and life.
:: Where do you shop in NY? I shop in the city with my sister when I go to NY. She lives in Brooklyn and knows all the best places in the city!
:: If I say Italy you say…? Tuscany, Rome, Ancient, beautiful, romantic, and oh how it calls to me. Hubby and I plan to travel the quaint towns, beautiful cities and amazing countryside of Italy when we retire!