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: www.aprilstardavis.com
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? www.bettinaduncan.comwww.designers4africa.org
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.