I found out about California-based jewellery makers Mctega around the time they started in 2008 and I've been in love ever since.
The project of Sarah McLellan and Kristina Ortega has reached underground success in just 3 short years with features in Nylon, Women's Wear Daily and even Snoop Dogg wearing custom rings in the video for that dreadful song "California Gurls". Using their science background they create colourful crystal-like necklaces that look like they were dug out of an ancient cave in some sort of mythical land.
They recently started their Friends Only Project, where for a mere $20 you can own a small limited-edition hand made necklace in any colour of the rainbow. They've also decided they're going to turn it into a contest and pick the top 5 photo submissions where a winner will be chosen to receive a special prize! Time is running out so get them before they go!
I read ages ago that you guys were both pre-med/microbiology majors when you met? What's the story?
Ahahah, I love how these stories twist and turn as many times as they are told! We were both science majors until our junior years when we both switched to fashion.
Sarah was premed and Kristina was microbio. Sarah almost blew up her organic chem lab so she decided maybe premed was not for her and Kristina was taking way more art classes than science classes. We actually met while interning at Rodarte, where we bonded over the madness that went on there.
How did you go from that to making jewellery and how has your schooling background influenced your collections?
We had both made the switch in college, long before we knew each other. We both love fashion and art, but are fascinated by the complexities of science. We had no intention of making science fashion pieces. It just so happened that our first necklace was a carbon ring inspired plate necklace made of polyester resins. We were these fashion outsiders creating jewelry with pipettes and test tubes and catalyst. Amateur scientists fashioning our cabinet of curiosities.
What are some of your other influences?
Our materials are the most inspiring to us, but every season outside forces inspire us as well. Last season it was stalagmites and California minimalist artists from the sixties. It can be anything-- we collect images and we walk around the natural science sections of libraries.
What materials do you use?
We work with polyester resin, epoxy resin, and sometimes urethane. We hand make silicone molds. And we use lots of dyes. We love color-- everybody needs more color.
You've come out with your first clothing collection, was it something that was always in the back of your heads?
Yes. We used jewelry just as a test to see how we could work together and what we could create. Clothing is what we primarily want to do.
Anything else in the works right now? What's next for Mctega?
We are working on some digital prints that we are super excited about. And we have new goals for 2011. We want to be more connected to our friends, fans, customers (or whoever cares). We are trying to put together some events in the LA area and online. We will see-- it's hard right now to be a new line, so surviving is a good goal too!