Introduce yourself; Tell us a little about you and how you started your jewelry business, Osteal Jewelry.
My name is Amanda and I started My business in 2009 as a way to make extra cash while going to school full-time (Horticulture, focus on native plants). I’ve always been a dreamer and usually have a million ideas in my head. When I was young I dreamed of being an “artist” (mainly because they got to wear whatever they wanted), but I never really defined what that meant. Creating jewelry out of bone was never a plan I had back then, it’s just a wonderful combination of things I love and a way to pay rent!
Making art allows me to have the adornments I’ve always wanted & imagined + plus I get to be as creative as I want and constantly try new things. [Tweet This] Growing this business has taught me a lot as well, I’ve evolved as it has - and recently my partner, Sean, began creating and designing pieces for the shop!
How did you come up with the name Osteal?
The original company name was ‘Our Decay’, however as the business grew and changed I felt the business name needed to evolve as well. I wanted to keep a similar theme/sound to ease the transition so I opened up a trusty vintage medical encyclopedia and found the perfect word!
You use a lot bones scavenged from nature and reclaimed/recycled materials in your pieces. What made you decide to use these items as materials? Is bone a difficult material to use and is there a specific way you have to clean bone to make it usable?
I’ve always been the person who moved roadkill out of the road, held funerals for little birds that fell from the nest and tried to save every critter I could. A lot of my inspiration comes from a need to honor and acknowledge the lives of these animals.
The world is full of disposable things, literally the world is full of ‘garbage’. I was the little kid who wanted to save the world… and while that’s a pretty tall order I can help out by reusing, recycling and reclaiming things that might have otherwise ended up as landfill.
Bone is tricky to work with. A lot of time goes into cleaning and sanitizing the bones so they are suitable for jewelry. I actually created a blog dedicated to that: www.bonecleaning.tumblr.com
You obviously find inspiration from nature but where else do you find inspiration?
The way the wind howls through slightly cracked windows, the unseen forces that are both magical and unsettling, old fashioned ideals, simple living, the art of ancient peoples and mythology.
You have two online shops, one on Etsy and one on Big Cartel. Why have two of shops that offer similar items?
I’m trying to move away from Etsy but some people feel safer using a platform they are already familiar with and I've had my Etsy shop since 2009.
Currently, Etsy seems to have lots of shops just full of ‘whatever is popular at the moment’, making it very difficult to find quality handmade items there anymore. I plan to close the Etsy shop completely by the end of the year.
The Bigcartel shop is far more customizable, the setup is better and it's more of an individual ‘storefront’ - allowing brands to maintain their aesthetic.
Where can people purchase your jewelry and follow Osteal?
www.ostealjewelry.com is our official website and the place to start!