Click the image above to watch the full interview! Animations by Alice McGillicuddy.
Maya McGee is the founder of Lux+Orleans, a New-Orleans based company that creates hand-crafted jewelry. Founded in August 2010, Maya makes each piece herself with great time and dedication. From pearls to gemstones, resin to metalwork, Lux+Orleans creates jewelry for all styles.
GBX: How did you get your start as a maker?
Maya: When I was 14 my parents let me take a jewelry making class at Joann Fabrics and ever since then I’ve been making jewelry, so it’s been 15 years now.
GBX: What is the best thing about your specific medium?
Maya: It’s hard to pick a favorite medium, I flip-flop a lot between acetate, beads and now I use concrete and resin. I think my favorite think about jewelry is to make something tiny and wearable but to be able to be so expressive in all these different ways.
GBX: What is the most meaningful product you’ve made?
Maya: My most meaningful pieces would be my earring line. All my earrings are named after an influential woman in my life, so my aunts, my mom… I just launched two earrings, one named after my mom and one named after my mom’s childhood best friend. So each time I design a piece when it speaks to me and I feel like it’s telling me, this is who I’m referencing - that means a lot to me.
GBX: Advice for other makers and entrepreneurs?
Maya: Make it. Start it. Do it. Do the thing that you’ve been thinking about. Go for it. Remember to start small but always think big. You can shoot for the stars but you have to start somewhere.
GBX: What was your bravest decision? Biggest mistake?
Maya: The biggest mistake would be spending too much time making jewelry that I thought would sell versus making jewelry I knew I loved. That was a brave decision I made when I finally was like, “We’re not doing this anymore! I want to make what I want to make. I want to make something that means something to me.” That really opened up my creativity.
GBX: What does living & creating in New Orleans do for your creative practice?
Maya: It just gives me so much space and avenues to express myself, to sell my jewelry, and to network and create with other creatives. It’s such a great city with a unique background and this melting pot of different people. I love to see all different types and walks of life get excited for my pieces.
GBX: Are you working on any other special projects?
Maya: The jewelry line is my main thing, but I also just directed a short with Comfy Stone Film Group which just premiered at our Monday Movie Mingle, which is the first Monday of every month. I’m really excited about that!
You can watch “Petty Spaghetty,” the highly amusing short directed by Maya, HERE.