A few Sundays back, I went on a random excursion to the Space 15 Twenty Flea market. Amongst browsing vintage and snapping pics, I had the immense pleasure of meeting Rochelle, designer and creator of Mapache Jewelry. I instantly fell in love with the bright color scheme of her pieces and paid her a visit at “the den” to discuss the line and its history. We talked jewelry, psychedelic Bambi, Spanish artists, Rialto and being unique. Pretty much an awesome experience.
How long have you had your jewelry line?
I started doing Mapache jewelry when I got married, which was a year ago. When I was getting married I was looking for jewelry for my bridesmaids and I couldn’t find anything that I really liked. My great cousin, who was a beloved woman in my family, she loved gaudy everything, and when she passed I was left all of her brooches and trinkets. When I was trying to figure out what to do for my wedding, I looked in her bag and found a bunch of cool stuff and decided to do something with it. I made all of my bridesmaids personalized necklaces from her old jewelry and that’s where my line was born.
My husband is also a big inspiration to me. He basically convinced society that he could make a living at drawing naked girls. He really encouraged me to do more jewelry and I made my first collection of single earrings out of stuff I had around the house. I went and ventured off from there.
Where do you draw your inspiration for each collection?
I really am inspired by the friends that I keep here in Los Angeles and also in my hometown in Rialto. Rialto has this kind of funky random, natural flavor to it. Also, the bookshelf that my husband has in our house has a bunch of random books from everywhere. That’s where I got the collection Tropical Future from, a Japanese Bambi book we had on the shelves. The book is crazy, it looks like Bambi is on mushrooms. (book pictured above)
Where do you find your materials?
I find materials in really random places. Wherever I go, I’m always looking. Friends are constantly giving me bags of beads, old jewelry, broken jewelry, so I have a huge collection of pieces that are inspiring me as I think forward to Fall. I always start from somewhere small and expand.
What is the Mapache aesthetic?
Mapache requires you to be different. You notice that there are no pairs of earrings here. I don’t make pairs, and you can only come to one place to get jewelry like mine. My aesthetic is reflective of my sensibility. When you wear a single earring, you have to make the fashion that you have adapt to the piece. That’s at the heart of everything I do.
Are you thinking of branching out and doing other types of accessories?
I think I will stick to jewelry. As you notice, I don’t have any bracelets or body jewelry. I like to keep myself focused. I think I will stick to single earrings forever maybe.
What artists and musicians inspire you?
I like to create a vibe or an energy when I put a collection together. Different artists, musicians, looks, places and fashion inform what a collection is. For Tropical Future, I was inspired by a Spanish artist, El Guincho. I watched his video and all of the shapes and colors are what I was blogging about. The heart of my inspiration would have to also be my family and friends from Rialto, the musicians and the underdogs of the art and music world. They keep me inspired and are always coming up with some crazy idea.
If you could do a collaboration line with any artist who would it be?
I don’t know, somebody dead probably.
If you could see anyone in your jewelry, who would it be?
I think everyone that already wears it is who I would like to wear it. I don’t really aspire to be on any particular person’s ear. Everyone that feels me and everyone that I encounter and understands the essence of what Mapache jewelry is about is who I want to be wearing it.
Where can people find your line?
Where do you see the line going in the future?
I really haven’t thought about what I want it to be and where I want to go in the future. I really just like staying flexible. As big as God wants it to be…wherever and however it’s meant to be really. I feel blessed to have this little project, this little gift and I treat it with respect and am open to whatever it’s meant to be in my life.
What are some of your closet staples?
I really get emotionally attached to everything that I have. Anything my husband has drawn on is really important to me. I have this pair of brown suede vintage boots that I got at a thrift store in Whittier and my husband drew big chrysanthemums on them. That’s my heart. I like to wear things that mean a lot to me and keep them. What I usually wear is band T-shirts, leggings, my husband’s shirts and Doc’s. That’s my look these days, but talk to me in a year and it’ll be something different.
Check out Mapache Jewelry here online. www.mapachejewelry.com.
*Thanks to the amazingly talented Rochelle for the interview and allowing me to photograph “the den.” I’ll be back!