T.E.S.T. Interview: Pepin D'Or

We hope to introduce you to all the great Etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the 61st in our series with Katharina of PepinD'Or.

Tell us about how you started creating jewellery.

I remember making dresses and accessories out of leftover fabric pieces and whatever else I could find for my dolls when I was about 10 years old. They didn’t really look like much but I always had fun playing dress up. My first wearable jewelry, I made about 10 years ago, after one of my dear girlfriends taught me the wire wrapping technique. I had seen some of the rings and earrings she had made and loved their uniqueness. I wanted to learn how to make jewelry like that right away. I fell in love with it. Then throughout my extensive travels to Colombia and Ecuador I learned more techniques such as beading, knitting with beads, macrame, the process of sanding, dyeing and polishing natural materials. Even some welding by some very talented artisans.

Describe your style.

Bold eco chic jewellery with a tribal yet urban touch.

What are your sources of inspiration?

I get my inspiration mainly from nature, places I have travelled to, their cultures and people. I am half German, half Ecuadorian. Two very contrasting countries in every way possible. I try to combine these two opposing cultures also in my jewellery. The urban modern western world and the tribal, ethnic more naive cultures of third world countries. One thing both have in common is the ecological awareness. Indigenous and tribal cultures that I have had the privilege to get to know, use natural fibers, seeds, shells, animal skins and other natural materials. I love the raw beauty of those materials. In Germany on the other hand, recycling, up cycling, repurposing of all sorts of materials are methods we are taught from a very young age. I try to express myself through my jewelry. By naming each piece I try to tell a story, even share what inspired me to make that particular jewellery piece.

What tools and techniques do you use to create jewellery?

I love experimenting with paint, resin and natural materials such as horn, seeds and nuts. I try to not use too many complicated tools... I guess the most complicated ones would be my drill. :) For the sanding I prefer to use sanding paper rather than an electrical attachment on my drill.

Did you receive any professional training?

My teachers have been artisans from all sorts of backgrounds but I never attended a school to become a jewellery designer.

How do you promote your products?

Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I also try to be a guest blogger and sponsor giveaways.

Other than Etsy, where do you sell your products?

Etsy is the only site I sell my jewellery at but I try to participate in as many shows as possible. I find it is important for potential buyers to be able to see, touch and try on my pieces, especially since a lot of people can't envision themselves wearing such bold pieces when looking at them online.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to Etsy?

Photography speaks 1000 words! Make sure you have some eyecandy. Quality control and customer care are very important components of being successful in this business. However the best advice I have ever gotten from a fellow artisan is to be patient, to create with care and love and to believe in yourself no matter what people might say.

Katharina has an upcoming show at the Leslie Fleamarket on December 15th.

Check out the other items available from Katharina in her Etsy shop! You can find more of her work on her Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Interviewed by Sophia of Affectionately Yours in November 2013 in Toronto.

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