*Where are you from?
I'm originally from Puerto Rico (born and raised) though many people have a hard time believing that since I have no accent, and I look like my British father. At that point, I simply show off my bubbly Latin booty as proof of my heritage, and if that fails to convince, then I simply get pissed off - and believe me nobody blows their top as loudly and memorably as a Puerto Rican! If all this fails, I simply invite them for a drive - and trust me, you haven't seen your life flash before your eyes so fast until you've driven with one of us behind the wheel! We like to keep things exciting. It's a cultural thing.
*How did you decide on your shop name? Why did you start your business?
My shop name went through several incarnations, until I realized a couple of years ago that I am really a gay man trapped inside a woman's body, and all my designs pretty much proved it. I have been flaming forever, and I wanted my store name to capture that in all of us. Let me be clear, I love being a chick - it's a constant gender-based superiority complex (no offense, boys - you're still so very cute)! It just dawned on me that deep down inside I am really a drag queen - I love big! I love sparkly, glitter, rhinestones, sequins! I love color, boldness, loudness! Subtlety is an art I don't often delve into, but it's an exercise in changing my perspective, and I do make those efforts. I've been blinging for about a decade now, completely self-taught. And just like my inner gay man, I am constantly in need of decorating and improving the tastes and fashion sense of all those around me! It borders on the OCD spectrum, really.
*What or who inspires you?
I'm inspired by funky music, by the fashion industry, by the random strangers in the street that speak to their own personal styles. I try to understand why others make their own style choices (clothing, hair, makeup, etc) to get new ideas as to how others see themselves. What are they communicating about themselves? What did they take the time to do today to express themselves for others to see? As an actor, and a designer, it is my passion to understand the nuances and motivations people have. It shows in everything they do - you just have to look!
I LOVE making custom jewelry for people - what I usually ask is for someone to tell me a little bit about themselves, and from there I create! I'm very good at it, if I do say so myself. Not so good with the modesty aspect of things, though...
*What do you like about being a seller?
I love hearing how much other people appreciate my creations. It makes me sparkle on the inside! My creations are my babies, and mamma always wants to know they are making the world a happier place when they are no longer in my care!
*What’s your supply addiction; is there a specific color or type of supply you just can’t pass up?
My favorite gemstone to work with is chalcedony, because it glows when the light hits it! If I were a semi-precious stone, that would be me! This last year I've also developed quite an obsession with sequins for jewelry - they are very delicate to work with, lightweight so they don't weigh you down, and they are so shiny and sparkly and iridescent. Only good can come of that!
I love also copper toned wire. It gives a lovely contrast to the colors I work with, while at the same time blending in nicely with every skin tone. Don't get me wrong, I love gold and silver and brassy tones, but I find that they distract from the person, and are usually more about the pieces themselves, and NOT so much about the piece in relation to the wearer. My hope is to make people look more awesome, not just to create awesome pieces that stand alone. It's a symbiotic relationship, my bling and my customers! I fully expect every single one of my buyers to get compliments whenever they wear my creations. My work is not complete until the flattery begins.
*Do you have a blog?
I do! It can border on the snarky, politically incorrect, or offensive side, I must warn. What can I say, I live in New York City, it rubs off. I've been mistaken for a NYC angry native more than once - which I find flattering, honestly. It makes sense, though, there's so many Puerto Ricans here anyway...! I don't post on my blog often, but when I do, I try to at least make people laugh. I believe laughter can save the world, especially when things are sucky. It hits the same happy tickle spot that makes us all feel fabulous on the inside (it's like glitter for your soul). Seriously, though, you think if people could have a sense of humor about themselves, they wouldn't be so quick to dismiss or hate others for their differences. Hilarity is a sign of intelligence - the lack of it is more of a psychological-problems calling card.
*What do you do when you’re not being an artist? What activities do you enjoy?
At this time, I don't have a "real job" - at least, I'm not under someone else's salary. A lot of self-sacrificing moms rarely are. But I work very hard and kick a lot of butt! I spent many months last year preparing to sue the NYC Board of Education to get my autistic son into a good school. Which I did! So though I didn't earn a paycheck, I did get the Board of Education to shell out nearly $77,000 for my monkey's tuition. And I am about to do it again for next year! Someone's got to tell The Man to stop pissing off the Puerto Rican Woman, already. It'll cost 'em.
When I'm not being supermom, I am either in a theatrical production, trying to get into one, or applying/auditioning for paid acting work. I'm currently performing in an Off-Off Broadway production of the play "W;t", which is a funny, yet strong story about a woman battling ovarian cancer. It's a great cast, a great play... and if you're in Manhattan, it's at Nicu's Spoon Theater, 38 W. 38th Street, 5th floor till the end of April!
And lastly, I'm looking into getting a Master's in Social Work so I can do family/relationship/alternative lifestyle/OCD and impulse control disorders counseling. I've been a support for so many people for so many years, and for so many reasons, to consider doing counseling as an actual career was a totally "d'uh" lightbulb moment for me this year. I'm thinking of starting my grad school application with "This is the essay where it is actually OK to admit you've been in therapy your whole life, right?"
*Which item in your shop did you enjoy making the most and why?
Oh honey, if I didn't thoroughly enjoy making each piece in my store, I would never have listed it! I just went through my inventory again and every single piece makes me disturbingly excited. I couldn't possibly pick a fave. I will admit, though, that creating complex wire-work, such as my cocktail rings, or the big sequin earrings, or the hoop pendants... well, that's just a wire junkie playing in her candy store!
*Are there other places on the net we can find you?
All my locations:
NOW FOR THE GIVE AWAY!
One lucky person will get to pick one pair of Earrings from the ones shown, as the prize!
1. green & blue freshwater pearls. copper toned wire, 1.25" long
2. dark blue & magenta purple freshwater pearls. copper toned wire. 1.25" long
3. iridescent red mother of pearl shell, metallic purple hex glass beads. copper toned wire. 1.5" long
4. faceted glass beads in brown, metallic light pink foil, soft purple, tan glass rounds, and a caramel freshwater pearl. copper toned wire. 2.75" long
5. tourmalinated light green quartz rounds, faceted mint green chalcedony, faceted light yellow and green glass, and green freshwater pearls. copper toned wire. 2.5" long
6. pink swirl glass, faceted mustard yellow glass, and freshwater pearls of buttery rich yellow, deep plum purple, and light mauve purple. copper toned wire. 2.75" long
this give away is closed