Friday, January 2, 2009

Seller Spotlight: Art Happens | The Fashion Dungjen

I have a natural bias toward anything from North Eastern Ohio – anything from the Cleveland or Akron area has an extra special place in my heart. Dayton, where my parents now live, has never felt like home (I lived in Wadsworth, Ohio for 18 years.) so it’s no wonder that I had an immediate attraction to the jewelry from Etsy seller, Art Happens.

Linda, who grew up in Cleveland, now lives in Cincinnati. (I had no idea she was from my neck of the woods until she told me in her interview.) She lived in Cleveland with her parents (immigrants from Austria and Bulgaria) and her two older sisters. You can’t forget her black cat, Midnight.

Linda’s vintage-inspired and marvelously gorgeous jewelry is a far cry from her educational background. After graduating from high school, Linda earned her Bachelor’s of science in mechanical engineering from Case Western Reserve University. (If you’re from Cleveland or know anything about Case, you know what an impressive feat this is.) After she earned her first degree, she continued to earn a Master’s degree from Xavier University.

Her many years of calculus (shudder) and science landed her a job as a product support engineer at General Electric, which is how she met her husband.

But still, how do you get jewelry from engineering?

For the last 20 years, Linda has also worked as a professional photographer, a trade which is “the perfect marriage of the left and right brains … It can be as technical or creative as you want, or need.”

It’s evident that Linda has the perfect combination of a right-brain intellect and the left-brain creativity.

“Making jewelry satisfies my need to physically create with my hands,” Linda said. “The textures, the colors, the beads, the wire. They all excite my inner artist. Taking various scattered and seemingly unrelated elements and combining them into a new form, something that unites them, is absolutely intoxicating.”

Many of the pieces in Linda’s collection are gorgeous, vintage-inspired, ethnic-inspired and all-around funky, unique pieces. But it isn’t just from retro items that Linda finds ideas for creating.

“Spiritually, I have to say my sister is an inspiration for me,” she said. “She abandoned her career as a pharmacist to pursue her passion, painting. She earned her degrees in art, taught at Boston University and Brandeis, and was awarded both a Fulbright Scholarship and Guggenheim Fellowship … She is now living her artistic dream in Europe. She is an absolute inspiration to me.”

Linda opened her Etsy shop in September 2007.

“It’s been a rewarding experience,” Linda said of her shop. “I won’t quit my day job; sales are satisfying, but not enough to sustain me!”

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