Although she’s currently in two Second Stage shows, wrote a play that got put up professionally, and is on Second Shades Staff, this article is not about Luna Mac-Williams’ theater prowess. Mac-Williams ’22 also has a knack for creating colorful jewelry and Mexican-inspired embroidery. While it began as a hobby, Mac-Williams’ jewelry making and embroidery have quickly evolved into a small business on WesAdmits.
“It’s very much so a side hustle,” Mac-Williams said in a conversation with The Argus. “Making jewelry isn’t my main thing, I do a ton of theater, and that occupies most of my time. But I learned how to do it because I had a family friend that had a jewelry making business, like she had her own little store and she taught me when I was little, and so I had that skill set.”
Mac-Williams practiced and learned how to make little patterns from her grandmother and mother growing up, and she has always loved to share her artwork with friends and family.
“I would make stuff as presents for people, just because I love giving gifts,” she said. “And then this summer I was like, I need to make as much money as humanly possible before going to college, like that’s a fact. So I got a job, I got a paid internship, and I was like, I’ve been making jewelry and stuff and giving it to people, and they were like, ‘Dude you should sell this,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, I could.’”
From there, Mac-Williams began selling her pieces, which she started doing long before coming to Wesleyan.
“My parents own a bar,” she explained. “So I would keep my wares there, and then patrons would come and buy it. I ship stuff, too. I haven’t really been doing it that much here because I’ve been busy, but I’m trying to start up again. People like my stuff, and I like making people things that they like.”
In addition to jewelry, Mac-Williams enjoys making embroidery. Another skill she learned early in life, creating embroidery brings Mac-Williams joy while connecting her with her family.
“My grandma and my mom taught me [to embroider], and we had little patterns all around the house,” she said. “I learned how to when I was little, and recently I was like, ‘This is a skill that’s fun.’ It’s also really therapeutic—making jewelry and embroidering and stuff—because it’s creative. I like keeping my hands occupied, and it’s such a good way to de-stress. Yesterday I was watching “Oh, Hello,” the John Mulaney and Nick Kroll thing on Netflix, and just making earrings, and it was just my way to unwind after a really long day.”
The therapeutic nature of her artwork leads her to create things for herself as well as others, meaning that most of her pieces are things she really enjoys herself.
“I make stuff that I think is cute myself,” Mac-Williams told The Argus. “I do a lot of calaveras imagery and floral things, that’s something that I like. I’m Mexican, and I think Mexican folk art is so beautiful, and I do a lot of beadwork that’s inspired by that. I do a lot of embroidery that’s similar to traditional Mexican garments and stuff like that, so that aesthetic is definitely a big influence in my stuff. My friend told me he doesn’t think he’s ever seen me wear an outfit without a skull.”
These same influences led to some of Mac-Williams’ favorite pieces, ones that she wears herself and those she gives away.
“There’s this pair of shorts that I did for myself, embroidery; they have a bunch of flowers on them, that I love,” she said. “I’m so sad that I can’t wear them now because it’s winter. I mean I could, but I’m not that wild. In terms of jewelry, I love a lot of the things that I give away as gifts because of the sentimental value attached to it. But what I wear [most]: I have these hoops that have chili peppers dangling from them. They’re my favorite. I wear them all the time. They’re red, so if I need a little accent of red in the outfit, I’ll just wear those.”
Mac-Williams’ love for this artwork led her to start an online business, whose popularity has recently been bolstered on WesAdmits. She often sells the things she creates and will even custom-make pieces by request if she’s asked to.
“Yeah, I definitely can do custom stuff,” she continued. “So if you see something that you like and you want a little spin on it or in a different color, I definitely would be able to make that happen. And obviously I can customize embroidery.”
Her WesAdmits posts link to her page on Instagram, where she conducts the majority of her sales.
“It’s @chicagogirljewelry,” she said. “I haven’t posted on it in a while, but I will start up again. I’d love for people to buy stuff.”
Stella Ginsberg can be reached at email@example.com.