Jewelry designer, artist, and inventor, Victoria Tane, creates a line of vibrant and sustainable jewelry made with objects that had a different life and function before they became art. Her elegant designs may include peach pits, rabies tags, telephone wire, antique buttons, machine parts, pencil eraser caps, frosting applicator tips, and an assortment of other upcycled & found objects. But her business is sustainable beyond the materials she uses. When offered to have her patented hair accessory, Headbenz®, manufactured in China for cheap, she instantly declined, never rethinking her dedication to fair labor wages and domestically made products.
What I recognize is that artistic people tend to express themselves in more than a single medium. Besides jewelry making, I’ve had a bout with oil pastelitis,” Victoria chuckles. The nine pastels showcased on her website are whimsical, colorful portraits with an edgy sense of humor. You’ll also find masks, funky constructions made with her trademark found objects: telephone wire, spools of thread, and even a dental tray! She recently submitted a short story, “A Space at the Table,” a warm piece about a woman who finds the working man she’s always desired, to NPR’s Three Minute Fiction contest.
Victoria’s interest in jewelry design began at eight years old. She inherited a bracelet that had been passed down to her from her grandmother. Victoria has kept samples of her work all the way back to 1983, when she started her business, “When I went back into the archives of old jewelry, I saw my nascent aesthetic. My sense of design wasn’t as well-balanced, the use of materials wasn’t as interesting or diverse, and my palette wasn’t as adventurous as it is today. Looking at my old pieces I see the work of a beginner, but I do recognize my voice and I appreciate how it has evolved over time.” Her editing process is a large part of her success – she turns to her favorite quote for inspiration (by Antoine de Saint-Exupery), “A designer knows they have achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” “The artistic process is pairing down to find the essence of your voice,” she adds.
In 2010, Victoria visited the doctor to diagnose a tremor in her right hand and shortly after he confirmed that she had Parkinsons. “It has influenced my work in that my fine motor skills are slower than they used to be.” She doesn’t let the disease affect her positive attitude; instead she’s reached out to other artists with the disease and is volunteering in a Boston study for people with Parkinsons that aren’t on medication. “I take pride in my creative spirit, which allows me to adapt to unexpected situations with a sense of humor and a sense of adventure. Having the disease is secondary, I treat it as I would a whining child -- I’m aware of it, I deal with it, but I don’t let it occupy my life. It’s always there but I also see it as a gift, a key to unlocking new stories from people I might not otherwise meet.”
See more of Victoria's work at www.victoriatane.com