Of birds and beasts: nature-inspired jewellery from Moon Raven Designs
Toronto born Michael R Doyle, designer behind the Etsy shop Moon Raven designs, is a self-taught artist and has found inspiration in nature. He has been creating jewellery of this design since 1974 when the brand was initially created. Having launched his work online in 2009, it’s gained a lot of interest and has even been worn by The Vampire Diaries star, Candice Accola. We’ve never seen anything like his work before, and can’t wait to see it explode onto the high street!
Which of your current designs is your favourite?
My Sugar Skull, the anatomically correct heart and my antler ring.
Are the designs all your own or are there multiple designers? Do any designs come from outside of the brand?
All of the designs are my own. I am now collaborating with my daughter on some newer designs.
What is your favourite era for design and why?
The 40s, which may surprise you. I love the realism.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Seeing my work on TV. It’s neat to see my pieces on American Idol, Vampire Diaries and Criminal Minds.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I already am [collaborating with them]. To be collaborating with my daughter is an amazing experience. She watched me design and create as a child and to be working with her now as adults is great.
What is your favourite sort of thing to design? And why?
The nature inspired pieces. I’m fascinated by the beautiful design of nature, and it was one of my childhood passions, playing and being in nature. This has expanded to my designs now as an adult.
What are a few of your likes and dislikes in terms of design and style aesthetic?
I like design to be simple and uncomplicated, understated like nature is. I dislike design that is pretentious. That ruins the sense of simplicity.
What is your favourite thing about your job? Any negatives?
Being able to work for myself; I am able to do something that I love each and every day.
Have you any plans for the future? When can we expect your next collection and where do you hope to be in five years?
I will continue with my work. I am finding that I am more inspired than ever and the collection is continuing to expand each season. I am focusing on more rings and cuff links now too so that there will be something for everyone.
Please tell me about the creative process that went into your current collection. What techniques were used?
It starts with the idea and then it is carved into wax, a mould is made and then it is cast using the ‘lost waxing casting method’ in bronze, white bronze or sterling silver.
How would you describe your personality, and is this reflected in your work?
Driven yet imaginative – it allows me to constantly be creative.
Do you have a team working with you to help manage the brand?
It has been my wife Dianne and I for many years. Recently our daughter has started working with us, collaborating with me and working on expanding Moon Raven Designs. Our son helps with the Marketing and online presence of Moon Raven.
How do you feel Etsy has helped your business?
It has been the cornerstone of our business, it has given us the opportunity to do what we love, to meet customers from all over the world who enjoy and love what we do and that is an amazing thing.
How do you feel fashion and jewellery can affect an individual’s image and/or self-esteem?
I think it’s a form of self-expression and what an individual chooses to wear can provide them with a sense of happiness or provide them the image that they wish portray to the world.
What is your one fashion vice?
Where did you discover your interest for producing jewellery versions of human and animal anatomy?
It has been with me as a child, I would go out to the forest to look for skeleton remains of animals. Again, mother-nature is the best designer, function over form.
The skull rings that bite over and encase the whole finger are eerily enchanting. What gave you the idea for this interesting design?
It’s like a pet that is on your hand. I was actually playing around with one of the skulls and it came to be.
To check out more of Doyle’s work, click here to visit the Etsy shop, Moon Raven Designs.