The handmade parent is a series of interviews with parents who have an art/craft business or passion. The series explores how the artist/crafter manages their family and their creative passion while promoting their work.
The Handmade Parent = Devienna Anggraini (DAmetals Jewelry, Providence, RI)
Kidoinfo: Please briefly tell us about yourself, your family, and your art or craft.
Devienna: I was born in Jakarta Indonesia. I came to the US for college in 1997. I went to the University of Oregon and lived in Eugene, Oregon for almost 7 years. I moved to Providence in 2004 to pursue a Master of Fine Art in Jewelry and Light Metals at Rhode Island School of Design. I have a younger brother whom I am very close with. His family and my parents live in Jakarta. In Providence, I live with my Husband, Gary and my two awesome kids, Kevin (4) and Carlyta (2).
Kidoinfo: When did you begin your art/craft?
Devienna: I was really lucky to be born into such a supportive family. My mom is quite crafty. I believe I finished my first cross-stitching projects when I was about 6 years old. My parents always pushed me to do what I am passionate about and I remember every moment when they were helping me come up with ideas for my craft projects. I was a dancer, I played music, and I took drawing and sculpture lessons growing up. Even when I said that I would like to go to college abroad to study Jewelry Design, they could never have been more supportive about it than they were.
Kidoinfo: Is your art part of your business or do you hold another job in addition to your artistic work?
Devienna: I work as one of the managers/organizers at Craftland, the super awesome store in downcity Providence. We carry ONLY handmade products and represent hundreds of artists year round. What can be better than supporting a local business that supports hundreds of other local businesses. It is really like a double whammy on Buying Local. That’s why I think everyone should shop at Craftland! I mostly work there two days a week.
Kidoinfo: How did you become involved with Craftland?
Devienna: When I was graduating from graduate school (2006), Jennaca Davies, who was one of the Craftland’s organizers at the time, asked me if I would be interested in becoming a store manager for the seasonal Craftland in December 2006. Her and I were in the same graduate program at RISD. By the time I got hired, around October of that year, I was about 4 months pregnant with Kevin. Who would hire a preggo manager, who would not be able to lift things, you might ask? The AWESOME ladies at Craftland! I joined the organizer team starting that year, and when Craftland was opening the year-round store in 2009, I was asked if I would be on board. And I said YES! It was like going from serious dating to being married to Craftland. I love it!
Kidoinfo: When do you find time to make your art/craft?
Devienna: I believe that when I am determined about something, I can get it done, no matter what. When you have orders to fill, and shows to go to, you do whatever it takes to get the job done. I get up super early, and stay up super late most days. I take advantage of my insomnia days. 6am-9am is my most productive time to be in the studio! Refreshed and all jazzed up from my morning coffee! I work with my husband Gary everyday, which makes me the luckiest girl around. Who ever is upstairs working on the computer, are the ones who watch after the kids. Our lovely studio is downstairs in our basement. We also share the load of house chores. Actually, I take that back, Gary does more of the house chores than I do. He is a great cook and he does the laundry! That makes him the best husband in the world, right?
Kidoinfo: What prompted you to choose your art medium?
Devienna: I started collecting costume jewelry from travels when I was a teenager. I built up this fascination with the way that jewelry has an incredibly powerful connection with the owner/wearer at a very personal level. Whether it is a piece that reminds you of your grandmother, or about an amazing place that you visited while you were away, jewelry makes you feel pretty and stylish. Like fashion, it is about personal taste, style, and wearability.
Kidoinfo: What inspired you to become an artist?
Devienna: I doodle all the time. I mostly draw shapes and repetitions of shapes. I realized this when I spent hours talking on the phone with my friends in middle school — high school. I talked on the phone so much, my parents decided to get a second line for the house! My parents were very disciplined about raising us kids, however they always tell me to go with my gut and do what I love doing. They were right, I eventually figured out what I wanted to do. One thing that they never did was to question what I do and why I do it. I also never liked school that much, until I started taking jewelry classes in college. Nobody could stop me from going to the studio. I also had the best professor during my undergraduate years. She helped me find my passion for jewelry and pushed me to stick with what I do best. She later became my professor again when I was at RISD for grad school.
Kidoinfo: Where do you find your inspiration?
Devienna: I look through magazines and websites to keep me updated about fashion, popular style and what is out there. I do not have a blog, but I read other people’s blogs a lot. I often am inspired by a piece that I am making or wearing. I like simple shapes and seeing potentials in them. I also get inspired when I travel. What do I do when I fly 28 hours to visit home, or drive 16 hours straight to a show in Chicago? I doodle, sketch, and write! Well, and keeping the kids occupied.
Kidoinfo: How do you promote your art?
Devienna: We do retail and wholesale shows. Most of our shows are in Boston or New York City area. We also do wholesale shows in Philadelphia and Las Vegas. We recently finished our first full-color catalog! Thanks to Rhode Island State Council for the Arts for making us one of the Professional Artistic Development Grantees in 2010. The grant helped us documenting our whole collection, and starting online and printed catalogs.
Kidoinfo: Tell us a bit about this new trade show experience for you.
Devianna: We started wholesaling our work in summer 2008, a year after I started the jewelry collection. Since then, we have had almost 100 stores/galleries carrying our work. I am lucky to have an experienced Financial Advisor as a husband. No, I did not marry him because he was one. He was a bearded hippie when I decided to marry him, a really smart one. We now do about 20 retail shows and 6 trade/wholesale shows a year. We quickly realized that volume and repeated orders was the only way that this business could grow to be a successful family business and pay us for all the hard work we do. We do retail shows mainly for market and design research. It is important to know what designs or colors do well when you are selling wholesale to store owners.
Kidoinfo: How has having a family impacted your work?
Devienna: Honestly, I probably would never have started a jewelry line if I were not getting depressed when I was staying home with a 3 month-old baby. The business was started as a channel for me to escape and have some time to myself. The only way I could be a better mother, was to have a passion for something else. So being a mother, and the jewelry company goes hand in hand in my daily life. Literally! My kids keep me going! We travel together for shows and they get to visit so many children museums and parks. One of Kevin’s favorite things to do is having pizza for lunch at Central Park in New York City! The memories and stories of us traveling together are just priceless. I am going to miss traveling with them when they have to go to school full time.
Kidoinfo: How do you involve your children in your art?
Devienna: I really cannot wait until Kevin turns 6 and he can start helping me sticking labels on my boxes, and putting little earrings on cards! YES! 2 more years! I grew up in a family business, so I am very familiar with the process.
Kidoinfo: How do you find time to accomplish everything?
Devienna: Sleeping is for wussies! Just kidding; I believe in eating and resting well. I am still practicing to not overwhelm myself with work, it is really hard to do when you work for yourself, and trying to juggle 2-3 jobs. Time management and working well in teams is the key. I also find it really important to set aside time to spend time with my kids. It is really easy to get carried away with work and I find it easier to focus after I spend some quality time with them, taking them for a walk, or playing with them in the back yard.
Kidoinfo: What do you like to do in your “spare” time for just yourself ?
Devienna: I really like traveling. We travel a lot for shows, so usually we try to sneak in a short break before going back to work. My goal for 2011 is to spend more time drawing with the kids. They both love drawing and coloring. I mostly work at Craftland or by myself in my lonely studio, so whenever I have a “spare” time, I always want to spend it with the kids. My treats for myself are getting my haircut and having a cheap mani/pedi.
Kidoinfo: One random fact about yourself or your family — relevant or not.
Devienna: We are all chocolate addicts — totally my fault!
Kidoinfo: How do you support the handmade community? What are your favorite local handmade venues?
CRAFTLAND, CRAFTLAND, CRAFTLANDDDDDDDDDD!!!! Remember the double whammy part? Oh yes…. We also go to visit local craft shows whenever we could, and Queen of Hearts.
Kidoinfo: What was the last handmade item you purchased? Made?
Devienna: A dress by Christine Haynes and The Bridge T-shirt from Bit and Little Bit to send to our friends in Brooklyn. Yup, from Craftland. I have about 320+ pairs of earrings, 130 rings, and 96 pendants, and some other pieces I have to solder in about 1 week. So far, I am about 1/3 done. Good times. Honestly, it feels good to make in volume! Especially when a vacation is less than 2 weeks away… ahhh…..
Kidoinfo: Where can we find your art?
Devienna: You could find a list of our retailers all over the country on our website, www.dametals.com. And yes, you could find our work at CRAFTLAND: www.craftlandshop.com
Linda Cox Demers moved to Barrington from Chicago with her husband and her two boys, ages 14 and 9. She runs her handbag and accessories business, Ã la mode, from home and has recently discovered a passion for blogging. As an independent designer, Linda enjoys promoting local artists and the “buy handmade” movement. Visit Linda’s blog at www.alamodestuffblog.com