Patrick Nelson and Mary Kay Mohs
Patrick Mohs Jewelry is the artistic collaboration of husband and wife, Patrick Nelson and Mary Kay Mohs. Together they share a great passion for the art of jewelry. By joining their design and manufacturing skills, both of them are able to bring their love of fine jewelry to life.
Living and creating their jewelry in Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes, they have 10,000 design inspirations. Natural, flowing lines inspired by the beauty of the lakeshore surroundings are found throughout their collections. Each piece of jewelry is designed three-dimensionally – no corner or surface left untouched. Patrick Mohs Jewelry is an exploration in what is possible with design, metal, and gemstones. Every piece is an adventure!
See Patrick and Mary Kay's work at the upcoming American Craft Show at the St. Paul RiverCentre April 20-22! Put on by American Craft Council, this event consists of more than 230 top contemporary jewelry, clothing, furniture, and home décor artists from across the country. More details about the show here!
It seems that you both have a deep connection and history with jewelry. How did your beginnings inspire a future in this craft?
Patrick: I grew up immersed in jewelry. My mother was a jeweler and gemologist and owned a jewelry store. As a young boy I initially learned some jewelry making and design skills from my mother and would sit at her jewelers bench and play with silver and gems.
Mary Kay: I, on the other hand, always admired my mother’s beautiful jewelry. I was fascinated by rocks and gemstones and wanted to use my eye for design in a way to create beautiful things. Jewelry seemed to be the perfect fit.
What do you find interesting/meaningful about working with metals and gemstones?
Mary Kay: Not only are gemstones beautiful, but gemstones have a rich history. People from different cultures all over the world have admired gemstones and metals. Gemstones carry energy. And gemstones and metal come directly from the earth – beautiful minerals and elements with rich colors and vibrant properties. Metal and gemstones are found all around the world, so they are things that everyone can relate to and admire. What makes working with gemstones and metal into jewelry the most meaningful for us is that jewelry is worn and given to celebrate the beauty of life.
Have you always been creative? What forms or channels have you explored in your creative journey?
Mary Kay: Yes, I have always enjoyed being creative and trying new ways to express by creativity. From writing, to painting, to styling, to cooking, to photography. But I have found that the ideas surrounding and the creation of jewelry is my favorite way to express my creativity.
Patrick: I too have enjoyed art from photography and cooking to drawing, painting and sculpture. Jewelry and working with metal and gems has been my passion as I can express myself with mini-sculptures that can be worn and enjoyed and ultimately passed on as well.
How does your collaboration work? What good comes from having both your perspectives behind the work?
Mary Kay: We are artists working together on every single piece we create. One rule we have – if we don’t both love it, it doesn’t happen. We are both gemologists (we both studied at the Gemological Institute of America), so we are both are very discerning when it comes to choosing gemstones for our jewelry pieces. But we both have to fall in love with a gem in order to use it in our jewelry. And we brainstorm and use design elements from one another to create in the end what we believe to be the most beautiful design. We both come up with ideas and draw the designs, I do the CAD work, and Patrick casts the gold, does the jewelry bench work, and sets the gems. We work well together by having our own areas of technical expertise, and ultimately the best of both of us comes out in our work.
What is your connection to Minnesota? Are you inspired by this place?
Patrick: We are both from Minnesota. I grew up in Glencoe, and Mary Kay grew up in Alexandria. And we chose to stay and make MN home. We are especially inspired by nature. Waves are a consistent theme in our work from subtle to the focal point. We are from MN and surrounded by 10,000 lakes so naturally inspired by water.
Do you feel like making and creating through your business allows you to contribute to something larger than yourself?
Patrick: Yes, we help others celebrate life events and our work brings joy. The giving of jewelry to commemorate a special time in someone’s life such engagement, the birth of a child or special birthday – our jewelry marks and is a remembrance of these times.