Sunday, November 16, 2008

April Star Davis interview with Molly Nance

April Star Davis is following her instinct, her intuition, her gut. The message she is hearing is simple: help women in Africa. And most of all, she is listening to that voice within, and has accomplished what once seemed impossible. Davis, a jewelry designer who's work can be seen on many Hollywood stars and television series such as Melrose Place and Grey's Anatomy, is the founder of Designers 4 Africa, a collaboration of jewelry designers, artists and writers who share the one common goal of helping people. Within only a year's time, Davis has raised enough money through jewelry auctions to team up with Drop in a Bucket, a non -profit committed to bring safe, clean water to Uganda. The money Designers for Africa raised paved the way for a water pump to secure residency in a small Sudanese village, providing drinking water for 1,200 people. Now, that's progress. But there's more to Davis' quest. This California-born mother of one, refugee-resettlement volunteer, and business woman is welding together her compassion, bravery and business sense to aid women in Uganda and the Congo, in helping them establish their own jewelry businesses. And the adventure starts in only a couple of months, when Davis leaves the sunny San Diego sun and her family behind, for four solid weeks of adventure and education in two of the worlds poorest countries.


I'm hoping to encourage people, later in life, that yeah, You are a mom and have a job but you can still do this. If I can do it, anybody can, because it is not like I have any financial golden umbrella.


I was conceived in a hippie commune. I did come from poor roots, my family still considered lower middle class, poor. And so for me, in a way, and I know that my situation is not like the women in Uganda or the Congo, but I kind of relate. Like having to work; it is not really a choice. You have to do it, but in a way that you can still care for your kids. I feel like it was something that jewelry really gave me. And I'm really grateful for that. In essence, I want to give that gift to somebody else.


I started volunteering locally for a refugee resettlement, and that for me was the turning point, because I met a young girl from Liberia named Violet. One day we went to lunch, and it was one of those experiences that you hear about, but you don't really realize it. I took her to the food court in the mall and asked her, "Okay, what do you want?" And the look on her face, she was so overwhelmed...the concept that she even had a choice! So, I started looking at things from her eyes.


In Uganda I my focus is to bring them supplies that they don't really have there, and teach them to basically, get them competitive. Hopefully we'll sell their jewelry on [LINK:] and they would get all the money. In the Congo, they don't really have anyone they can sell it to, so for them it is almost therapeutic, I'll be basically teaching art therapy. I'd also like to try to let them know the facts about HIV and AIDs, because for many of these women, they think it is a death sentence, so they don't take care of themselves, they don't take their medicine. I want to tell them that they can live a long time.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

last auction of the year


Our next auction will be in dec its the last one this year & unfortunately there are many who have forgotten to send in their 4 pieces this year so were asking everyone to donate & any designers that havent we need you to please do so as we will be updating the site after this auction & starting a new list of CURRENT designers & moving all other names to a supporter page...

We have some exciting things happening... Danielle Gano of ELLE Communications is now doing pr for d4a & as a result we will be adding some big designers to our list! There will be much more publicity & traffic to d4a site... in addition the dropinthebucket fundraiser will be hosted by HENRY ROLLINS & there will be huge press & entertainers involved so this is not only a tax deduction but great way to get your name out there.

I will now be keeping track of auction items so please send your items direct to me at ASD po box 1531 la mesa ca 91944 & if fed ex or ups ASD 6955 mohawk st sd ca 92115

this auction has limited space so only higher end items & anything they cant use we will keep a d4a inventory for future auctions.

Next Feb I will be in Uganda & the Congo... I will be doing the ground work for future d4a sponsored programs & eventually we will start building schools...

Were getting our own 501 3 C & by end of 09 doing d4a fashion shows & events to sponsor these projects. Its an exciting time & we look forward to working with you all!

Cheers April

Friday, September 19, 2008

Note from April requesting help

Feb. 09 April Star Davis founder of designers4africa africa trip


First i want to thank you all there's so many wonderful people that have either joined us as designers like the world renowned ME & RO Jewelry to author Judy Bernstein THEY POURED FIRE ON US FROM THE SKY to my amazing web person Alex Mateo & Sheela who runs the blog & has done all updates on the d4a web site... then there's friends like Dep Tauny of the SD SOUTH SUDANESE COMMUNITY CENTER & Danielle of ELLE Communications who has graciously started on pr for d4a.

Ok now the details... I have been trying to get to uganda for almost two years now & Feb. 09 I will finally be in Uganda & possibly get to the Congo.

In Uganda I will be with Pastor Issac who runs a community for widows & orphans that are affected by HIV/ AIDS

I will be teaching the women jewelry & bringing back jewelry to put for sale on d4a & my jewelry web site with all
profit going back to uganda. In addition I will be teaching AIDS/HIV facts as there are women mainly that have given
up & see it as a death sentence & forgo eating (giving the food to their children) & thus can not take their medicine &
to educate the community so they will not ostracize people living with HIV.

In the meantime I started a 100 pieces to uganda to raise the funds needed to get there , buy jewelry tools & buy
other supplies while im there like mosquito nets etc...

im putting names of anyone who buys from my web site in support of this project & am happy to list the following...

shreya gardiner
katie kelley
Leah Gordon
gayleen of Bubbles Boutique
Indra Gardiner Bowers
Anna Crivici
Cherie Devivo
Katie Kelley
mimi Melgaard
greys anatomy wardrobe dept.
danielle gano elle communications
sheela rayala
fiona wolfe

The goal of this trip is to asses just how d4a can help & to get immediate funds thru jewelry sales for the women

By end of 09 we will then start official fashion related fundraising shows & events & then start sponsoring a school
with the eventual goal of building our own d4a funded schools.

There are many great orgs doing this type of work & yet there is still more need & as a designer I see a great
opportunity to get our extra supplies & use our skills collectively to help people in africa & one day branch out to
other contents.

Sincerely, April S Davis

to order
or donate for this trip

pay pal

asd po box 1531 la mesa ca 91944

Thursday, August 28, 2008

April Star Davis featured in World Artisan gems

On Aug12, April Star Davis, founder of D4A and a very talented designer got featured on World Artisan Gems. To check out the entire feature, click on the exclusive featured badge

Here is the interview part of the feature...

Name: April Star Davis

Website Link:

Where are you located? San Diego, California

Tell us a bit about yourself:

My Bio: April Star Davis started making jewelry 14 years ago while working at a bead store. There was and still is a lack of well-made affordable designer jewelry. “I wanted to make things that myself and friends could afford. I got the idea to make my own jewelry when I was working in a little bead store. I decided to go for it, so I quit my job. In the beginning, all I had was $60 and some beads. I certainly wasn’t making a lot of money, but I really loved what I was doing,” says Davis.

Stores were hesitant about purchasing from an unknown designer. Frustrated and broke, Davis had an epiphany one night while watching “Melrose Place.” She noticed that none of the actresses were wearing jewelry. Without any Hollywood connections, Davis took a D.I.Y. approach to getting her jewelry seen by the wardrobe folks at the hottest shows. “I bought a copy of Variety and the Hollywood Reporter and figured out who to call,” says Davis, who also is a painter that has shown in Los Angeles underground art venues like Cannibal Flower and Hanger 1013. “I was very surprised to find that the shows were so receptive to me and much more responsive than any of the stores I had tried to get my pieces into. Melrose Place was the first series to purchase my jewelry, and then it built up from there. To this day Denise Wingate, costume designer from Melrose Place, continues to use my jewelry & has on movies like Employee of the Month and The Wedding Crashers as well as Ghosts of Girlfriends Past with Jennifer Garner.”

For the last five years, Davis has created one-of-a-kind rings, bracelets and necklaces that have been showcased on cast members of Nip Tuck, Friends, ER, Charmed, All My Children. Desperate Housewives and Private Practice. Celebrities like Kate Moss, Jessica Simpson , Justin Timberlake and Tommy Lee have worn April Star Davis jewelry as well.

April Star Davis is an amazing jewelry designer that has been featured in In Style, Lucky, 944, Marie Claire and many more fashion magazines. She was showing her designs at an Accessories Show in New York City and she shared what buyers from Anthropologie, Free People, Henri Bendel and writers for Womens Wear Daily and OK! liked the most. She said 2-tone silver and gold jewelry was a really strong trend. Working with a chef’s butane torch and her favorite materials such as sterling, semi-precious stones like jade and pearls, Davis whips these gems up in her San Diego studio. Me & Ro Jewelry are a huge inspiration. Their look is great and they are one of the most involved with donating to charities as well as supporting causes like Doctors Without Borders and are a part of Designers 4 Africa. Designers 4 Africa is the brain child of April Star Davis. Designers 4 Africa is an organization which helps raise funds for different non-profits to help with projects in Africa. What makes April unique and stand out amongst others is that she makes everything herself. It is not “farmed out.” The more work she receives she is able to hire local women whom she knows from volunteering in the refugee community in San Diego.

Davis was also invited to teach jewelry and micro business to women in Gulu Uganda by 2005 Nobel Peace Prize nominee and star of a Fall Out Boy video Jolly Okot. April is currently assisting the director at the San Diego South Community Center and hoping to go to both Sudan and Uganda this year. Some companies say buying from them helps different organizations, however with April, you’re truly having a part in everything from local refugee resettlement to teaching in war torn countries. “My desire is to teach women a skill they can make money in & still be with their children while working, just like myself!”

When did you start designing jewelry/art? I don’t want to say as a child like most artist because it’s just silly (lol) so I will say 14 years ago when my friends and myself couldn’t afford to buy any nice jewelry so I started figuring out how to make my own.

What do you make? Everything (lol) - no Chinese or Burmese stones for political and humanitarian reasons.

What materials and methods do you use? Mainly recycled sterling and I use a simple cooking torch in my home studio. For casting I enroll in a class at UCSD to use their studio.

Where do your design inspirations come from? Sculptures like Alexander Calder and modern art.

Where can your products be seen?

Upcoming events: August two events in San Diego (see web site)

Magazine articles or press: September Riviera Magazine Oct SD union tribune fall fashion spread

Who are you a fan of? Me and Ro, Tracy Matthews and all human rights activists!

Price range: $50- 400

Tell us a little about one of your favorite creations: My Tommy Lee necklace…it’s made from recycled sterling silver and looks great on men and women.


Thank you April for this interview. It is wonderful to meet people like you who strive for change and work to make it happen. We hope this brings more designers to join Designers4Africa.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Next auction to support "water for Darfur"

With our last auction, we have been able to buy a pump for school in Uganda thats now bringing safe water for over 1,200 kids.. we have helped the San Diego South Sudanese Community Center to keep their doors open & now were helping another org to
bring safe water to Darfur!

Dallas Artists Rally for Urgent Response (D.A.R.F.U.R.) hosts a silent auction to benefit Thirst No More

Caught in the midst of an on-going, five-year conflict, Darfuri refugees and displaced people suffer from malnutrition and dehydration as they wait for peace to settle in Sudan. At least 4.5 million Darfuri people rely on international aid
for survival. Over 2.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes, and over 400,000 have been killed.

Thirst No More is a humanitarian relief organization dedicated to relieving the suffering of people around the world. Sudan Project coordinator, Charlie Michalik, is a U.S. Army veteran of the first Gulf War and has extensive experience
in the Mid-East. For the past three years he has been restoring broken water wells in Darfur and laying the groundwork for a water drilling operation that will begin shortly.

D.A.R.F.U.R., as part of Art for Darfur, asks for your artistic contribution to raise funds that will bring water to the suffering people of Darfur.

For jewelry and small items such as handbags etc., please send your contribution directly to

Ashley Epes
7601 Churchill Way #1738
Dallas, TX 75251

Event Date: Saturday, September 20, 2008
Event Time: 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Event Location: The Cameron Gallery
1414 Dragon Street
Dallas, TX 75207
Installation: Thursday, September 18
Drop off: On or before Thursday, September 11
Medium: All mediums welcome.
Size: No taller than 8 ft., no wider than 5 ft.
Commission: Donations only. All proceeds will be donated to Thirst No More.

Monday, August 11, 2008

100 pieces for Uganda

Buy a beautiful piece of jewelry and Help empower women in Uganda

Most of you know that last year I formed designers4africa, a non-profit organization and have been able along with the group of designers do some great things for non profits serving africa (see blog

Last year I met 2005 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Jolly Okot of HEALS & Invisible Children .

She was watching me make jewelry in my studio in my backyard & asked if I could teach this to her girls in Uganda...
These are young women & teenaged girls who were abducted by ( ) & cast off once they were impregnated by their
captures... I couldn't say no & Im HONORED to do anything I can for these women.

Well now comes the part of raising enough money for travel & bring supplies to teach. (next year d4a will be a fully accredited non profit but it takes up to a year to get that documentation).

So I had this idea... If I sell 100 pieces of jewelry at an average price of $50 I will have all the money needed to see not only this dream of teaching in Uganda but starting schools there in the next 5 years!

Everyone who orders off my web site & give permission, their names will be published on a special supporters page both on d4a &
asd web sites.

Here are my first five wonderful supporters! 95 to go!

Shreya gardiner
Sheela rayala
Leah Gordon
Gayleen of Bubbles Boutique
Indra Gardiner Bowers

We can help atleast a few women re-create their lives and gain financial freedom.
Please visit and order a piece today.
- April Star Davis, founder of Designers4Africa.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Darfur San Diego chapter to be started

Apart from starting and continuously raise funds for Africa through Designers4Africa, April is starting a San Diego chapter for We all know and are aware of Darfur and the cause can use all the help it can get. I will post more details about the chapter but if you want to help or participate in any capacity, please email to April .