If you have been following my blog, you are already know I'm a huge fan of the show "Project Accessory" (which just finished up its premiere season last month; I hope there will be more seasons in the future), as well as the work of contestant Nina Cortes (her spiderweb shoulder-piece was one of the most memorable designs on the show). I'm happy to report that she made it all the way to the finale, and even was named runner-up.
Yes, Nina's success on the show has brought more attention to her work, but since she did not receive the monetary first place prize, she still lacks the funding she needs to create and display her latest vision. Therefore, I opted to help her out by spreading the word.
Why did I make this decision?
Well, the Taurus in me (I'm an April 30th baby, so I was born smack in the center of the sign) drives my desire to create. In fact, I had always wanted to be a designer of some sort, but never took the leap myself.
Instead, I settled down, had a family and continue to use this blog as a creative outlet (like when I spontaneously made this friendship petal set out of items around my house, inspired by Nina's work). I also enjoy supporting other talented individuals reach their full potential.
I really felt a connection with Nina. I love her ideas, the execution of those ideas and how she presented herself on the show. She was portrayed as the underdog on the first episode, which she won by the way, yet didn't let it go to her head. She consistently produced beautiful pieces (she never found herself in the bottom when judging time came along), and even under the tight time constraints, was seen helping out her fellow competition like friends.
She actually does refer to them as friends, as you will read in the Q&A below. Nina was kind enough to find a moment to answer these quick questions for this post, as well as agree to make a final customized folding petal necklace for me (I got to pick the metal and stones for possibly the last of that style she plans to make before focusing on the new line; I'll probably post it when she's finished) to purchase (yes, I am gladly paying for the necklace). Thanks Nina!
Q: What got you interested in making jewelry and how did you learn to do so?
A: "I always played around with different things and have been a creative person all my life, but it wasn't until I took a metal-smithing class in college that I fell in love with jewelry."
Q: What inspires your work?
A: "The stones! I love picking which stones I want to play with and pouring them onto my workbench. From there, I play until the puzzle of the piece is solved!"
Q: How did you hear about/end up on "Project Accessory," and what was your fondest memory of the experience? Do you still keep in touch with the other contestants?
A: "I had a few friends that really pushed me to audition. I never thought I'd make it on (the show), let alone make it to the final two! Being in Kenneth Cole's design office was amazing. I teared up a bit. We all pretty much keep in touch! Like Rich said on the show, towards the end, we were like a little family."
Q: Tell us a little about your new line and how you came up with the concept? What's your favorite item from the collection?
A: "A while ago, my business partner and I were talking about dream designs, and the idea of the Epaulette was born. I finally had the chance to make one for a fashion show, and then again on the show. I always wanted to make one for myself, because when you design jewelry, sometimes a necklace just doesn't cut it! Once I saw how much everyone loved them, it really pushed me to try and make more and at every price point."
If you'd like to help make Nina's new dream collection come true, watch this video below for more information and click through this link to Kickstarter to pledge your support by Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012 (she will not receive any of the pledges unless she reaches her goal by that day). She's even offering thank you gifts at various pledge levels. Thanks for taking the time to see what's she's all about :-)
*Most of the photos in this post are taken by Instagram and posted on www.ninacortes.com. The two petal jewelry pics are from the Nina Loren Lookbook and can be found on www.ninaloren.com and www.sashasbridal.com/designers/nina-loren/
*****Time is ticking
on Punk Rawk Labs official launch, too!
Also, don't forget about my blogging friend Alissa of PunkRawkLabs (you may remember this delicious nutmilk cheese post), who also has a campaign currently on Kickstarter. Please take the time to watch her emotional video below, too, and click through to her Kickstarter page to lend your support by Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012 (she will not receive any of the pledges unless she reaches her goal by that day). She also has gifts listed at various pledge levels, so you'll want to check those out. Thanks again!