Monday, November 21, 2011

Crafty Profiles: Dragonfly Key Jewelry

It's been awhile since I've posted a crafty profile, so I'm pleased to share a new artist today, Tashina Falene from Front Royal, Virginia. Her creations merge her love of the natural world with a soulful interpretation of vintage and neo-victorian imagery. Enjoy!

Shop: Dragonfly Key Jewelry
Goods: eco-friendly steampunk designs and vintage jewelry reinvented, all inspired by nature

Beyond Junk:
How did you get started designing jewellery? And what sparked your interest in steampunk and vintage?

Dragonfly Key Jewelry:

I was 13 when I started playing around with beads, but it wasn’t until I was 16 that I thought I could actually try selling my designs. I started participating in small church craft shows and have been growing bigger ever since.

For as long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed things with a story. If I can fill my whole house with antiqued and/or vintage pieces, I’ll be extremely happy. It was my first inspiration for jewelry and it will continue to be a standing part of my designs for many years to come.

As for the steampunk genre, I just began noticing it on Etsy and I fell in love with it. On a whim, I bought an assorted lot of watch parts and I haven’t looked back since.

Beyond Junk:
What inspired you to open an online store? How about craft shows?

Dragonfly Key Jewelry:
I’ve been doing craft shows for a few years now and love it even more than selling online, but I mainly only do spring and fall shows, so I knew I needed another outlet to keep my name out there. In my small community, there is only so many places I can sell my jewelry, and while at the time it was becoming successful, I wanted more control and not have to worry too much about a middle man, so to speak.

So when I heard about Etsy, and how they specifically cater to handmade, unique items, I gave it a shot. So far, it’s challenging, frustrating, but most of all rewarding. There’s nothing like reading about the customer’s experience with the piece, not something I usually experience at craft shows.

Beyond Junk:
Do you see your work as being environmentally friendly? If so, how?

Dragonfly Key Jewelry:
Well, steampunk itself is very eco-friendly in my opinion. In some cases, many artists leave nothing behind for the trash bin. Plus, you have the added wonder that these tiny little gears and tarnished faces were once loved and used in everyday life. Being able to provide people with the opportunity to something as special as that, with the added knowledge that these are essentially recycled pieces, then that makes my day.

Beyond Junk:
Tell us a bit about your plans for Dragonfly Key.

Dragonfly Key Jewelry:
For a while now I’ve wanted to do Men’s designs and I’m finally getting the opportunity to start designing some really great pieces I hope go over well with everyone that visits and buys from Dragonfly Key. And bracelets are something I’ve been considering as well and hopefully will have in the shop within the next year.

I want to continue offering unique but simple steampunk designs. I love it when customers tell me they’ve considered the genre now because they’ve either bought one of my pieces or they’ve just come across my store.

But most of all, I want to keep expanding and being able to do what I love. I’ve always believed that if I have one person tell me they love my work, then I know I’m doing something right.

Browse Tashina's naturally inspired steampunk and vintage designs: