Company: Concrete Polish
Proprietor: Angela Monaco
Jewelry Studio & Showroom: Concrete Polish
716 N. 3rd Street, Philadelphia
find her at booth # 3 at our upcoming art star craft bazaar!
Art Star: Tell us a bit about your background. Are you professionally trained in jewelry/metalsmithing?
Angela Monaco: I grew up in Chicago and Cincinnati Ohio. I started school in Ohio studying Psychology. This quickly made me realize that I would much rather be creating fun jewels with my hands. I took an evening jewelry class for one of my extra credits that I needed & I instantly fell in love with metalsmithing and expecially casting! I applied for an artist grant to build my own studio and started my quest as a jewelry designer and maker. I later transferred to the Maryland Institute College of Art to pursue my interest in Jewelry and Printmaking. While attending M.I.C.A I took a casting class where I first started to create my line of jewelry. I have always collected gems and minerals and had the idea to start making molds to reproduce them in bronze and silver. That idea never faded away and has become my main focus in design.
AS: What made you decide to move to Philly & open up a studio/showroom
AM: After I lived in Baltimore a few years I decided to take a leap to a new and bigger city. I always felt a great creative energy when I visited and it was time for a change. I love this city and I think it was a perfect choice for me to start my business and open my first boutique.
AS: What types of materials do you use?
AM:Silver, bronze, and many types of gemstones. I have a large collection of faceted and natural crystals. I also love chain. I mainly buy antique chain at flea markets or silver and bronze stock chain.
AS:What is involved in the making of each piece? Do you carve your pieces out of wax & then cast them?
AM: I mainly design jewelry using wax. I am either carving or manipulating an organic object that I have made a mold of. After I come up with a prototype I am happy with, I then make a mold of that and cast it in either silver or bronze. I can plate the bronze or silver in yellow gold, rose gold, or black rhodium. If requested I can also cast in solid gold, platinum, or rhodium but I do not keep stock in the store of those metals. I also have a wide variety of gemstones i use. My favorite are natural amethyst points and smoky quartz.
AS: What is your creative process like? Do you sketch your ideas out first?
AM: I mainly work in 3D. A lot of my designs come from playing with the different rubber molds I have made over the years. I cut them apart and make my own formations that suit a piece of jewelry. Over the years I have carved a few different ring bases that I re-use with different crystals on top. For example, I make a mold for a double finger ring with my logo on it that i can use for multiple designs.
AS: What inspired your current collection?
AM: My current collection is inspired by the formations of raw crystal growth, like an amethyst or natural quartz crystal. Since i was a small child my Mother and I have been collecting gemstones, crystals, & all sorts of fossils. My childhood phases never seemed to thin out and now crystals have become the main focus of my design. I keep finding more and more creative ways to tell the story of why these forms are so attractive to me.
AS: How did you come up with the name Concrete Polish? What is the story behind that?
AM: The name Concrete Polish sprung to me one day when I was thinking about what my jewelry represents visually and emotionally. The pieces I create have a rough and refined exterior, but with a feminine polished touch. It is a balance of sculpture that creates an edgy yet sophisticated piece of jewelry. Concrete Polish represents that idea of balance.
AS: Your collection seems to mostly include rings & some necklaces. Do you have any plans to expand into earrings or other types of jewelry/accessories?
AM: Yes, you are completely correct. We have soo many rings here at CP. I seem to have a small obsession with rings lately. This is of course my mothers fault :). I am working on releasing a new catalog for the spring. There will be 10 ring designs, 3 bangles, 3 stud earrings, 3 drop earrings with chain, and about 4-5 necklaces. I am also designing a bolo right now for a friend, which I feel will become a successful unisex piece for a future collection. Linda Smyth of Topstich Boutique and I are also working towards collaborating on a jewelry line of Rabid Fox and Concrete Polish Jewelry. Can’t wait!
AS:Tell us about your storefront. What do you carry aside from your own work?
AM:Walking into Concrete Polish you will find a great ambiance of well crafted hand made jewelry mixed in with a warm atmosphere of antiques and taxidermy. The alchemy-nautical inspired showroom carries all handmade jewelry – 80% of which is made right in the back of the shop and the rest at nearby studios in Philly! There is a wall of mirrors that hangs to help separate the spaces. Come and check out what we have made and are currently working on.
AS:Where else do you sell your jewelry?
AM: So far my jewelry is showcased in the following stores: Arcadia Boutique, WERK, Topstich Boutique and our home boutique in Northern Liberties!
AS: What can customers expect to find at your ASCB booth?
AM: I have actually completed 3 new ring designs and a few earrings in the last 2 weeks – just in time for ASCB!!! We have been working hard here to get ready for the holiday shopping season. Much more thought has gone into the idea of gift giving. I will have a large assortment of new necklaces, one of a kind charm bracelets, earrings with pyrtie and quartz crystals. See you soon!