Moon Artworks turns
Derby horses into wearables
Brown has found
a new niche with Gallopalooza
Helen E. McKinney
MIDDLETOWN, Ky. (December 2004) The 2004 field
of Gallopalooza horses may have galloped out of Louisville, but several
of the designs comprise the starting lineup at Blue Moon Artworks. The
impression they left behind has inspired jewelry artist Martha Brown
to scale them down into wearable pieces of art.
by Helen McKinney
Brown displays her creations
at Blue Moon Artworks.
From her Middletown, Ky., location, Brown produces smaller
versions of the brightly painted Derby horses. Officials contacted Brown
and requested that she reduce certain horses to make charms, bracelets,
necklaces and ornaments out of them. Some horses were too complex to
use, so ones with less detail were chosen for Browns line of jewelry.
Originally from Crestwood, Brown has been a jewelry designer for more
than 25 years. When she began, her craft clay and wood were popular
materials for jewelry. Brown chose metal as her medium because metal
is long lasting, she said.
Earning an art scholarship to Indiana University, Brown also received
degrees in fine arts at Indiana University, art history from the University
of Louisville, design from the University of Florence, Italy, fashion
design from Parsons School of Design in Paris, and completed a
metal and jewelry design program at the Fashion Institute of Technology
in New York.
To gain experience, Brown worked for 15 years in the jewelry design
field for major jewelry companies and department stores. She worked
for such businesses as Saks Fifth Avenue, Henri Bendels, Bergdorf Goodman,
Nieman Marcus, Southwest Airlines and Gumps.
In 1996 she decided to go into business for herself and opened Blue
Moon Artworks, a retail showroom and studio. Her signature collection
of 25 designs of silver and gold medal ornaments were all made by hand.
The pieces were cut from brass, carved with her design, dipped in 18
karat gold or sterling silver, then hand painted in recessed areas.
She outgrew her basement studio and moved to Middletown. Brown held
a grand opening on July 31, the night of a blue moon.
She actually began her company while living in New York. Homesick for
Kentucky, the name Blue Moon reminded me of Kentucky, she
said, referring to the popular Bill Monroe song, Blue Moon of
A blue moon does not come around often, said Brown. We
consider our products very special. Blue Moon Artworks carries
more than 600,000 products.
Brown, 45, said she likes creating jewelry because it is an art form
she can produce and generally everybody likes jewelry. She described
her designs as bright and cheerful.
Many pieces have a whimsical, uplifting, joyful, happy element to them,
she said. Her business also represents other area artists, carries Hottie
Botties, UK and U of L jewelry and gift items, the Derby Collection,
Hope for a Cure angels, and corporate gifts.
Blue Moon Artworks specializes in these corporate gifts. Brown can incorporate
a company logo into her artwork. In 2000, she signed a five-year contract
with Kentucky Farm Bureau to design gift items.
Brown has designed limited edition Kentucky Derby ornaments and a commemorative
United We Stand memorial medallion to help benefit victims
and families of the 911 terrorist attacks.
by Helen McKinney
Blue Moon Artworks.
Sharalea Bollinger, owner of Prospects The Lady
Bug, carries another of Browns ornaments created to benefit a
specific foundation. Bollinger said she carries The Hope for the Cure
angel ornaments because its so special. It is currently
her top-selling Blue Moon Artworks product.
The Lady Bug also stocks Browns Gallopalooza jewelry during the
Kentucky Derby season. Bollinger described Browns works as creative
driven. They are miniature works of art in themselves, she said.
Brown draws the initial designs for her own pieces, and many of them
are manufactured overseas. This way, thousands of pieces of jewelry
can be produced within a month, but a lot of handwork is still done
in Browns Middletown studio, where the pieces are assembled and
finishing touches added.
Tracy Karem has worked for Brown for the past three years. She describes
her job as a lot of fun. Karem is Browns graphic designer
but has other duties, such as assembling jewelry, packaging products
and conferring with clients. Its like Christmas every day,
When Brown designs a new piece of jewelry, Martha gets everybodys
opinion. Its a give and take process. We brainstorm together,
Blue Moon Artworks products can also be found in The Mall at St. Matthews,
the Jefferson Mall, A Taste of Kentucky, A Mothers Touch, Prospect
Party Center, Lady Bug, Dees Crafts, Etcetera, Celebrations, and
Lion Heart Gallery in Louisville.
For more information, call (502) 253-4532 or
Back to December 2004