This week I am very glad to present you a story of Audrey-Anne Frenette, a jeweler creating the minimalistic and very distinguishable pieces with alternative sustainable materials for her own brand CartoucheMTL.
When and how did you start to create jewelry?
I always have been a creative and manual person, but I don’t have any education in the making of jewelry. I did go to college in plastic arts and I have a bachelor degree in psychology. I also did one year in Visuals arts and now I’ll start a Master in art therapy in Fall 2017.
Once I had time to kill because I was “on call” for my work and I didn’t get called for several days, I found my days long and boring, so I decided to make some jewelry. I wanted to make simple and unique pieces to go with my “everyday style”. Then, one of my friends encouraged me to push the idea and start a business. I slowly developed more pieces and different styles, to the point when I decided to open an Etsy store. I’m having a great satisfaction ever since.
What inspires you?
I love exploring different materials that I find everywhere and give it an uncommon utility and aesthetic.
My inspiration starts with the material itself: I want to use it in all its beauty and simplicity. I love to study the particularities of the materials, to become sensitive to its uniqueness and to create a final product that elevates its characteristics. I always get attracted and touched by minimalism aesthetic, either in art, fashion, films or literature. I love when the product can communicate what it has to say with the least possible words.
Tell me about creating Cartouche? How did the idea come into life?
When I started thinking about branding my jewelry, my friend and I started looking for a name. He decided to look into an Egyptian dictionary. So, he kept reading the words he was seeing and when it was the turn of Cartouche, it clicked! I felt in love with the sound, and eventually I realize that even the signification (in French and Egyptian) was making sense whith my creations and its philosophy. In ancient Egypt, a cartouche was a hieroglyphic symbol that could be worn around the neck. I found this definition to fit well with the world of my brand.
I create jewelry which you can wear again and again. That’s why I want to create simple, unique, timeless and quality jewelry. So, I think that CartoucheMTL is for every woman (or man) that loves simple but distinctive pieces, pieces that can make a difference, add a little spark to an everyday look.
What does your ordinary workday looks like?
CartoucheMTL is not my full-time job for the moment, so every day is different, but when I have a complete day to work in my workshop, I usually start with a to do list that I’ll try to respect for the day. When I create, I love listening to music, it motivates me and helps me to be in a creating vibe.
I recently (re)started doing yoga regularly, and I love the strength and the determination this activity gives me.
When I do a morning yoga session, I usually have a really productive day!
Are there any eco and green principles that you use in your work?
I am an eco-responsible lover in my everyday life, so it’s sure that I do my very best to make the best choices regarding the activity of my brand. For the materials, I try to buy them as locally as possible and I also try to use more of natural materials and fiber. When I create, I really take what I’ll really need not to waste anything. And when it happens that I cut more than needed (rope and wool), I’ll just keep it to use in future creations. Furthermore, because I create durable, timeless and sustainable jewelry, I think I certainly encourage slow fashion: buy less, but buy better.
Less can be more
At what events and places can we find your works?
During the last year, I participated in Etsy Monteregie, Marché Éphémère, Marché des possibles, Village au pied du courant, Puces Pop, Marché de novembre and Marché de Mai. I also had the pleasure to participate in the first theme of Bref mtl, which was Black and white. It was always a real pleasure to meet other artisans and clients.
You can also find my jewelry online.