Made In Midland Park: Artisan Jeweler Makes Cameo In Jerseylicious Finale
If you blinked, you might have missed it. Artisan Mari Keating Schofield, owner of winnie & belle on Godwin Avenue, made a cameo appearance on Style Network's Jerseylicious's Season 5 finale on May 5. The centerpiece of the episode was Bergen.com's Bergen Night Out Fashion Show, where several models wore unique pieces handcrafted in Midland Park.
"The Style Network contacted me in December. They were shooting a fashion show for Bergen.com in their show Jerseylicious and needed jewelry designers for their models. She asked me to pull some of my one-of-a-kind pieces and also some from my extensive vintage collection for a fashion show," Schofield told Midland Park Press. "Heather Zwain from Bergen.com styled them and pulled six of my original designs and from my massive Vintage collection."
Schofield's winnie & belle was one of just two jewelers on the runway at Bergen Night Out, a testament to her talent and reputation as a unique designer. Several of her popular Fair Trade Tibetan necklaces were featured.
"I search out the very best sources for my components which includes tiny micro sources from villages all over the world," she said. For her Fair Trade Tibetan line, she sources the beads, coins, clasps and other material directly from artisans in Tibet, through a woman who grew up in Tibet and returns home a few times a year.
"The artists get a fair deal for their work because she is hands-on and actually there," Schofield explained.
She also commissions work from a tribe of silversmiths in the mountains of Thailand. "They are amazing silversmiths. They have been persecuted for decades from the government and civil wars," she added, noting that she designs the elements, the silversmiths bring her designs to life, then she assembles each bead into unique creations inside her cozy shop across from Borough Hall.
"I design every single idea and they are all one-of-a-kind and made right here in Midland Park, NJ, USA and not in China," she said of the store she opened three years ago. "Once people come to my shop they actually understand the concept of very well made, local hand-crafted pieces."
Another unique service offered at winnie & belle is costume jewelry repair.
"Every woman has a ziplock bag of sentimental jewelry that is broken that they cannot part with," however, most jewelry repair shops only deal with precious metals and gems, she explained. "I will either fix it or breath new life into it designing a new piece with the piece adding components to it."
Schofield also creates commissioned pieces for customers, such as matching pieces for bridal parties or splitting up family heirlooms to share between multiple siblings. One particular memorable piece for her is a series of necklaces designed out of a beloved china plate.
"I take extreme pride in my work and attention to detail."
winnie & belle is located at 293 Godwin Ave. and online at www.winnieandbelle.com. Both accept credit cards, offer shipping and gift wrapping. The store is open Tuesdays noon to 5pm, Wednesday through Saturday 10:30am to 5pm and by appointment only on Mondays. To make an off-hours appointment, call 201-389-3898 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Parking is available behind the shop on Post Street, accessible from Godwin or Paterson avenues.