I once overheard som fellow shopper proclaim that they couldn’t stand ‘green’ products because they are always made from hemp or burlap, an over-exaggeration to be sure, but I can’t help but think that person has never heard of Mollie Dash. Mollie Dash is a Brooklyn-based jewelry artist committed to leaving a small eco footprint. Mollie believes that environmentalism is not about doing everything perfectly, but doing what you can. To this end, Mollie reworks found objects & vintage jewelry into updated modern haute designs. She creates her designs from discarded, thrifted, donated and yard sale-derived materials and uses a minimum of new materials. Mollie also reuses as much packaging as possible.
To me, her designs are eclectic, funky, elegant, structural, classic, nouveau, simple, complex and, of course, green all at the same time…with no hemp or burlap in site!
I was lucky enough to be able to interview Mollie about her work and life and I’d like to share it with you for today’s Indie Artist Fixx.
1. What’s the name of your business and what do create and sell?
molliedash– one of a kind and limited edition jewelry crafted by combining old and new materials. I use such things as vintage metal pendants and chains, old brooches and earrings, and beads to create something no one else is making. I make many of my own clasps and connecting elements out of heavy gauge wire.
2. Tell us how you got started with your indie business.
While in art school in the mid 90’s, I started tinkering with Sculpey and copper wire, given to me by friends, and then a roommate taught me how to solder. I made some extra money selling at local galleries, always scraping together whatever free and cheap supplies I could find. Later on I worked at a bead and jewelry supply store, where we would do on-the-spot design and construction for customers, and I eventually took a metalsmithing class. It was a part-time venture up until last year.
3. What are your inspirations in your art and in life?
People with their own sense of style, objects with a history, the 60’s, idealism, travel, savvy entrepreneurs, New York City, children.
4. What three things can’t you live without?
My mac, my Nikon D50, and my boyfriend bryan!
5. What’s the best thing about what you do? And the worst?
The best – Having a flexible schedule that allows time for myself, working out of my home by natural light, striving to be a fair and ethical businessperson, hunting through flea markets for finds, being creative, meeting cool people.
The worst – I sometimes find it difficult to plan my time and prioritize my work, but that’s getting easier. And knowing when to stop working can be an issue!
6. What blogs and mags do you read and what shops do you shop at?
I tend to pick up free magazines from peoples’ recycling piles, so it varies, But the one that I will lay down my money for is Nylon.
While traveling recently I got a few great knits at mauithing in Wailuku, Maui and a killer bikini at Maui Girl in Paia; then some second-hand designer pieces at Show Pony in Los Angeles. In nyc I find a lot of my clothes on the streets of Williamsburg and Greenpoint! Generous people put their castaways in boxes on the sidewalk there, and I’ve found some unworn clothing that way. I also like to support the local shops such as Sodafine when I have the cash, and I do a lot of window shopping in Park Slope. I would recommend Tokyo 7 in the East Village for top-notch consignment. Fishs Eddy for dish ware, ABC Home for drooling and fantasizing, and if you’re a jewelry designer you can’t miss Metalliferous. Ah, too many great shops in nyc to list them all!
Yes! I once made a hampster house inside a shoebox, which was more like a doll house. The hampster ripped right through it, totally unappreciative of my efforts.
8. What does indie mean to you? You can give a literal definition, choose to be a little esoteric or a combination of both. 😉
To be a free and critical thinker. To trust my own intuitions, and ignore the naysayers. What’s impressed me about the current indie movement is the spirit of cooperation amongst business people. This runs counter to what I was taught early on in my retail days. This is a result of a business movement being started by artists, rather than mba’s.
Reading: trying to decipher signage and advertisements written in Español.
Watching: just ordered a dvd of The Ben Stiller Show, the one-season sketch comedy program that aired on Fox in 1992.
Listening to: I’m compiling a list of what I plan on adding to my music collection: Ikue More (DNA), Richard Hell (The Voidoids), Serge Gainsbourg, Chet Baker, Chinese Dog Girls, Fela Kuti, The Strokes, Duenge Fever, Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf, The Carter Family.
10. What’s one thing you’ve learned as an adult that you wish you knew when you were a kid?
Not to give up- that getting good at anything requires a lot of practice.
11. What’s new for 2008? Any new plans or products that you want to share?
I’ve got a site redesign in the works! Beyond that, I’ve got piles of ideas and plans on the back burner. I’ve been wanting to make some refrigerator magnets out of old earrings and cuff links, and it might just happen!