When we celebrated our Grand Reopening back in April, we started to bring in local artisans. Our first collaboration was a Cville friend connection and love at first sight. Birds of Paradise is a local jewelry brand by Brielle DuFlon and Steph de Wolfe featuring unique, beaded pieces. Their love of the tropics and travel is evident in their design aesthetic, filled with color and texture. All of their necklaces are handmade with beads foraged from Latin America and Africa.
This week only, Tuesday through Friday, all Birds of Paradise jewelry at Darling is 40% off! Come shop these one-of-a-kind pieces, handmade pieces!
Meet Brielle DuFlon & Steph de Wolfe
Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? If not the Charlottesville area, what brought you here?
We both found our ways to Charlottesville by way of UVA. Brielle grew up in Guatemala City, and Steph in Dakar.
As a local artisan, describe what you do in town.
Birds of Paradise is a jewelry collection inspired by many things, but especially the textiles, textures, and colors of various locales we’ve inhabited and visited. We are inspired by nature- textures, shapes, and landscapes in particular. Strong feminine identity, ancestry and accessibility are other themes we found we had in common when we sat down to go over our shared concept.
It’s story time. Talk about your collaboration with Darling Boutique.
Steph: See what had happened was…. :). It’s really all thanks to Kat Diplas, which is a line I think a lot of people in this town have used over the years. Timing really worked to our advantage here, too, we launched BOP only a few weeks before DB announced their new ownership and re-opening. After Kat made the initial connection, though, I was encouraged by DB’s community-driven philosophy and support of women and smaller vendors who are making quality products, but may not have a big platform to promote their work. I value DB’s respect for fair prices for the artist/producer/vendor, which is especially important for some of the international products they feature in the store– those sales are contributing to people’s livelihoods. It’s important that artists and artisans are able make a living through their work, and it’s wonderful that DB’s philosophy reflects that value.
Describe Birds of Paradise in 10 words or less.
Timeless jewelry that embraces color, heritage, and femininity.
Where do you go to be creative?
Steph: Anywhere where there’s lots of sunlight and music I can get lost in!
Brielle: I like making things out of my well lit-studio, often while listening to music or podcasts as well!
What aspects of life excite you, stir your affections, fuel your passions, inspire your art?
Steph: People, nature and community. Kinship is important to me, and jewelry, textiles, and “adornment” in general are age-old markers of kin in many African traditions, and non-African for that matter. I’ve always been interested in aesthetic display as markers of communal identity. Being outdoors energizes me, and nature offers endless inspiration in color and texture. I’m all about the heat, I’m drawn to loud colors.
Brielle: I also love colors and the anthropology of textiles, patterns, symbols and colors as “markers of communal identity” as Steph put it. Those are inspirations for me in my fine art as well, outside of BOPJewelry. I enjoy making pieces for our store that many people can relate to, that don’t target a particular kind of person but are instead ageless and elegant, regardless of whether they are colorful or muted. I find flowers and nature and our environment to be truly inspirational as well – which I think is evident in a lot of the earth-tones I use in my jewelry designs.
When and why did you become an artisan? / How did you get into this business?
Because we love to make jewelry! This all came together so organically, we are bead nerds, and we got together a few times to gab and make jewelry. Over the years, we’ve both collected so many unique beads from Africa, Guate, vintage/thrift shops, and beyond. When we realized we so enjoyed combining certain elements to create vibrant and colorful pieces, it made sense to collaborate.
Steph: Brielle was the real powerhouse behind making the shift from hobby to business. She’s well-versed as a working artist in turning inspiration into results, and I remain blown away by how efficiently she made BOP a reality!
What are you working on right now?
Steph: My mom always wore these amazing big, chunky beaded necklaces that I thought were badass but too sophisticated for me when I was younger. I’m playing with elements from some of my favorite pieces of hers: chunky, big, bold beads of clay, metal, and stone. I like having bold beads act as a centerpiece and combining vibrant color and earth tones to complement those focal beads.
Brielle: I’ve started working with a lot of vintage chain to accent semi-precious stones that I think are truly beautiful and deserve to be spot-lit; I’ve been working on making minimalist but emotive and interesting pieces, combining antique Guatemalan beads, vintage and semi-precious elements.
Where can someone find your products?
Check us out on Etsy. We are also selling at the following Fleaville Dates, at IX Art Park from 10am – 2pm: July 11th, August 8th, September 12th. Plus, we love to make custom orders. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!