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Meet Julie Matos of Eclectic Redesigns in Western Suburbs: Western Springs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Matos.

Julie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
From an early age, I was always attracted to color, shape, and arrangement. The drive to work with my hands and create beautiful things has always been a constant. My mind and senses are calmed and focused whenever I am working and surrounded by art. Art is my meditation. Bringing a new idea to life is a passion that I have always pursued and fully immersed myself in. The art of jewelry, metalsmithing, and craft was not something I studied, but more just something I do naturally. Adornments, baubles, colors, textures and small-scale objects are my intrigues; the imagination they produce within me continues to drive my ambitions to discover the next level. I’m always working on improving and perfecting my art jewelry which I have been designing and hand fabricating for over 20 years.

While I do have an online store to feature and sell my jewelry, I love being able to travel and showcase my jewelry throughout the warmer months across the Midwest on the Juried Fine Art Festival circuit. I enjoy traveling to new places and meeting new people along the way. This has allowed me to expand my market as well as find new inspiration for my jewelry. My jewelry is also featured in a museum as well as in galleries and gift shops.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
When I first started, I struggled with how to brand myself: how to create a line of jewelry that is unique and casual yet true to my character. My early pieces were designed and created with precious metals, beads, and gemstones. Then around 2008, the idea was sparked: As an advocate for a greener lifestyle and a passion to recycle, my jewelry began to be resourced from ordinary objects that could have potentially been discarded or met their destiny in an already crowded landfill. I wanted people not to be able to recognize the materials in its past life but rather be surprised at what it is in its new life. Hence, Eclectic Redesigns was born. A true brand.
Over the years, I have met more and more people that have shed their fashion safeties of wearing the traditional standard gold and silver jewelry and have embraced mixed metals and found objects as part of their style. My customers enjoy that there is a backstory to every necklace, bracelet or pair of earrings. It’s great to take a vintage tin plate found at a thrift store or a scratched and dented remnant of copper from the scrap yard and turn it into a one of a kind wearable art piece. My goal has been that each piece can strike a conversation about conservation.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Eclectic Redesigns – what should we know?
Eclectic Redesigns creates one of a kind sustainable art jewelry. All the jewelry is hand fabricated in our studio using a primitive metalsmithing process, which is all crafted by hand and uses no machinery. This process is something I have developed over the years as I have worked with different metals. Each piece can take anywhere from one hour to three days to create, depending on the intricacy and size.

We specialize in creating casual, everyday, affordable jewelry pieces from salvaged metals and found objects, such as vintage tea tins, salvaged copper from a sheet, pipes, and pneumatic lines, and antique beads.

As a company, Eclectic Redesigns prides itself on bringing awareness to the importance of handmade art as well as conservation and recycling in fashion. We are constantly evolving in technique and style that is inspired by nature such as our new line of copper feather pendants that have the true markings of real birds.

Eclectic Redesigns has a style that stands out from other designers with many nature-themed and whimsical pieces as well as timeless statements. Our jewelry is light and easy to wear and can be mixed with any style: from elegant and classic to trendy and fashion-forward to earthy and relaxed.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?

Throughout my childhood, I would watch my father experiment and perfect his art of woodturning. He himself is also a fine artist. Both of my parents have always encouraged me to keep making art. I first started out on the art circuit collaborating with my father. He would turn wood pendants and I would embellish them with the beadwork and metals. During this time he taught me how to navigate the jury process and how to participate in outdoor fine art festivals; Everything from having the appropriate tent and supplies, the right look and display, and of course, an interesting product. With his guidance, he made it easier to step out and present myself to the art world with confidence.

In 2015, I met my boyfriend, Ryan DePaola, who also has inspired and supported me to become more widespread in not only my line of jewelry but in the marketplace. His creative energy and also a passion for nature and travel has become the perfect blend of Eclectic Redesigns. He now sits beside me as we dream up designs and make them come to life. This new balance has even sparked new additions to the business such as an entire line of men’s reclaimed wooden and metal accessories such as belt buckles, cufflinks, and tie clips.

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