Stephanie “Tefi” Hindall is a Dallas-based jewelry designer who runs her own design studio, Tefi Designs. Not only does Stephanie create some really unusual and creative jewelry and accessories, she is also the founder of EtsyDallas.com, a cooperative craft collective of artists and designers living and working in Dallas. These folks sell their merchandise on the Etsy Web site, as well as at local and regional craft fairs and events, one of which is taking place on Saturday at Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas. The 2nd Annual Jingle Bash will feature 50-plus Dallas Etsy artists exhibiting and selling fabulous creations, perfectly timed for the upcoming gift giving holiday season, or for your own personal pleasure.
In an e-mail exchange, we took a peek inside Stephanie’s creative and inventive mind as a part of this week’s Art&Seek Q&A:
Art&Seek: You are quite the crafty gal. When did you know that you had a knack for creating such wonderful jewelry and accessories?
Stephanie Hindall: It’s a pretty unremarkable story, really: Girl graduates with English degree and no job prospects, girl meets beads, girl starts making necklaces. It was a creative outlet for me at the time (1998) and just blossomed from there into a full-fledged business.
A&S: What sorts of materials inspire your designs?
S.H.: I use top quality beads and findings of all kinds: gemstones, Czech glass, pearls, sterling silver. I also make my own needle felted beads using 100 percent naturally-, ethically-raised wool. For my fabric items (brooches, hair clips) I use designer and vintage fabric.
A&S: I don’t particularly like the term “craft.” However, when I hear it phrased as “handmade,” I want to break open my piggy-bank and shop ’til I drop. What is your take on the world of crafts now, versus, say, 20-years ago?
S.H.: Honestly, I didn’t think there was a world of crafts 20 years ago. That would have been 1989, when I was 14 and starting high school. Back then, “crafts” to me meant lanyards and plastic pony bead stretchy bracelets – you know, the things reserved for summer camp and vacation Bible school. The artists of Etsy Dallas, who I am proud to be associated with, are professional, talented artists who take the term “crafts” to a completely new level – one that is emulated by successful retailers like Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and Fossil.
A&E: When you are creating something, do you have the story in your head as to how you’ll describe it? Or is it the other way around?
S.H.: For the most part I make a piece, photograph it, then name it right there on the spot as I add it to my online shop. I draw from my insanely useless knowledge of pop culture as well as all the schooling I got in the English department at UT Austin. You can’t go wrong referencing Heathers or quoting e.e. cummings. People in the art/craft world often take themselves way too seriously. I like to mix it up with a bit of humor and self-depracation from time to time. I’m not curing cancer or rocketing to the moon. I’m just a girl making pretty things that I hope people will like (and buy!).
A&S: You work full-time as a grant writer for a local non-profit serving homeless children, and you are an adviser for La Reunion, a member of the North Oak Cliff Conservation District, a board member of the Oak Cliff Artisans, a wife, a mother and the founder of Etsy Dallas. When do you find time to sleep, much less create these works of art?
S.H.: This word you use: “sleep.” Yeah, I’m not sure what that means.
A&S: Share with me some of the history of Etsy Dallas and what you hope to accomplish (or continue accomplishing). Also, what sorts of artisans can be found among the Etsy Dallas crew?
S.H.: I founded Etsy Dallas back in September 2007 as a response to the lack of inclusive craft groups in Dallas and the need for a leader to step forward and start a cohesive and active craft collective. So I rolled up my sleeves and took the lead. Today, Etsy Dallas is made up of a group of local artists and designers who have been juried into the group for both the quality of their work and their level of commitment to the team.
A&S: Of all the goodies you have for sale, which is your favorite and why?
S.H.: Boy, that’s like asking a mother to pick her favorite child. The newest pieces I am working on are my fabric brooches, which sold very well at this past weekend’s Cliff Fest. But my staple is my original design Peapod pendant necklace, which is a customer favorite.
A&S: I actually shot some video footage of your jewelry at Cliff Fest this past weekend and was really kicking myself for not acquiring some of the treasures I saw. So, I’m very excited to attend Jingle Bash this coming Saturday. Tell me about the event and what visitors can expect.
S.H.: This is the second year we’re putting on the Jingle Bash and have been planning it since April. It’s going to be amazing – a sort of collective community party that happens to have incredibly talented artists selling their handmade wares. Aside from a variety of locally crafted clothing, jewelry, body care, art and more, the Bash will also have two full bars, great home-cooked food, pool and shuffleboard, DJ tunes and live music. And if you’re one of the first 50 shoppers, count yourself lucky because you’ll be handed a free collectible canvas Goody Bag chock full of handmade items.
The Art&Seek Q&A is a weekly discussion with a person involved in the arts in North Texas. Check back next Thursday for another installment.