Austin, Texas-based Vinca was one of our first partners way back when, just weeks after we launched Fab. Founded by Amanda Dimova, the studio makes adorable jewelry from wood, acrylic, leather…you name it! They put birds on things, and mustaches; they make housewares and all kinds of other fun stuff. (Amanda also makes shoes and bags under the Dimovi name.) We partnered with Vinca on our Words With Fab jewelry sale, but read here on to learn more about what inspires Amanda to create such happy, whimsical products.
Everyday nature does inspire people a great deal, but it’s the more ethereal, exotic, bizarre and unusual that I like best. Shows like “Blue Planet” have explosive imagery that burns itself into my mind, and suddenly I think, “That would make a great hairclip!”
This shoot was inspired by the odd schooling habits of hammerhead sharks—the sharks were cut from bits of leather too small to make shoes from.
My kids’ drawings.
Kid art comes from a new perspective, and I mean new as in kids are actually new to the world, so any influences on their artistic expression are limited. SO…what is that tiny new mind thinking of?! Let’s see: candy, bows, kitties, ice cream, cupcakes, clouds—and lots of ‘em. How pleasant it must be to be only concerned with such sweet things!
Makes me wonder what a possible collection for the Kids Shop would consist of!
My Idea Log.
Everyone has a friend or relative known who’s the “artistic” one, who usually has a vast collection of empty journals because that’s all they ever get as gifts. This is the only one I carry around (obsessively), in case I come up with a new idea. Instead of blank pages, which are notoriously difficult to begin with, it’s got a few little kick-starters on the page, and doodle spots to keep your mind focused on regurgitating the details of your latest epiphany. This bright orange journal is easy to find in a messy office (ahem!), and allows me to keep everything organized so when the time comes to build a new collection or make that darn dollhouse I’ve been meaning to build, I can refer to its pages and be inspired all over again.
A good case study is this sketch for a fairy box: I wanted to make a box, but how to decorate the corners? With which shapes? Playing around and brainstorming leads to new products and techniques, but most often my sketches are decipherable only to myself…so here’s the finished product:
While by no means did I ever have it in my childhood mind that I could ever be a writer, Roald Dahl was a big hero of mine. I didn’t have a TV growing up and lived in a small, boring town, so the intense imagery in his books lent itself to daydreaming about things much more exciting than my reality. Perhaps it was this early and frequent practice of daydreaming that evolved into an ability to see things where others don’t. Once I learned that non-fiction can be fun too, I read Dahl’s autobiography. It taught me so many things about being creative—from ignoring the grading system in school regarding subjective topics like writing and art, to how to treat great ideas (leave the page when the idea is half down—that way you’ll keep turning it over in your head, improving it). Plus his stories are so incredibly absurd and delightful! I can only hope my designs inspire a fraction of that feeling.
Living, moving things you can stare at.
Leaves making shadows on windows, flames, wood grains, stained ceiling tiles…all of these are full of pictures if you just look!
This flame is actually a muscular parrot-dog looking over its shoulder:
And this wood grain is actually…
…a nun holding a chicken.
I remember seeing an ad for Fab.com a little over a year ago on Facebook—it had a little Eames elephant—and I remember thinking, “Hey, that’s a cool idea. I should shop there! And I want that elephant!” For whatever reason it didn’t occur to me that it would be possible to sell my own stuff on Fab—I’ve been down a long, discouraging road when it comes to selling anywhere outside of Austin. But per my mom’s suggestion (thank you, Mom!) I emailed my catalog in, even as I didn’t expect to hear back. And now, less than a year later, Vinca is coming up fast on 10,000 pieces sold—that’s more than I’d sold since I started Vinca over six years ago. It’s inspirational indeed: of course I want to keep making stuff! Besides, where else would I have a chance to develop an entirely new collection based on phrases like this?