Unique Jewelry Made with You in Mind by Charcoal Designs
Charcoal Designs hand makes items that fill your every need for kitschy and unique accessories. Created using handcast resin by designer Laura Stokes Estrada, these pieces are made to last and cherish. Whether it's a gold toothed cameo, ghoulishly green Elvis, or Frank N Stein hair pins, Charcoal Designs is here to make all your accessory dreams become reality. Laura recently took a moment out of her busy day to talk to us about why she does what she does and what it is that makes her customer focused company so unique and special! Making your products by hand is quite an undertaking that I'm sure your customers truly appreciate. Is there an item that you get really excited about every time you make it? For one reason or another, when I was growing up, it was a big deal not to copy anyone. You absolutely did not want to copy anyone else's style. I think that fear sort of stuck with me and I've tried to keep my designs unique. Although, it's impossible not to be influenced by some of the amazing designers and stylists out there, especially with all the eye candy on Instagram and Pinterest, a nod to a great designer is definitely ok (especially in an ironic way) but being mistaken for that designer or being compared to them is not ok, it means you went too far. It's hard to avoid trends and influences but if I do give in, I keep it cheeky. My favorite thing to make are one of a kind pieces. I can be creative with the design and colors. I love to hear what customers are looking for, what they are interested in. Sometimes my ego gets in the way and I want a design to be all my own, but no man is an island and sometimes an outside eye is helpful and keeps things fresh. I usually recruit my husband into assembling products once they are cast and prepped and he usually has some great product ideas and insight, as do my customers. A customer will tell you outright what they want to purchase, it's a designers job to give that idea life and to make that idea pertinent to their line. I read that you taught yourself mold making and resin casting. As a busy artist are there other things you'd like to learn how to do if you had the time? Currently I work with resins and plaster, but I'd love to try metal casting. I'd also like to learn more about 3-D printing. I wish I had the time, space and budget for everything. I'm always interested in expanding and improving my product line. The greatest step I would like to make is to design my own cameos and original carvings. One of my favorite items that you make is the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Gag Gun Necklace, do you have a theme or customer in mind when designing your jewelry, maybe you are sneaking into my brain at night? Why thank you! The bang gun necklace is definitely one of my favorite necklaces. It's hard for me to make a boring necklace with just one single solitary charm, so the Bang necklace was designed out of necessity, what to add to it? The first thing that came to mind was the old gag guns, and the Bang necklace was born. I'd like to think I design for cynical, sarcastic, salty, somewhat humorous people like myself, but realistically I think I design for people who have a sense of humor and want something distinct. What would you love customers to know about you that can be missed in the depths of the interwebs? Something most people probably don't know about me is that I was never really a creative person growing up. I loved to write and I loved art class but I was just completing assignments and following instructions, I wasn't motivating myself. I always felt that just because I couldn't draw or paint that I wasn't destined for a creative career. The word 'designer' hadn't even entered my vocabulary until well into my 20's. It was like the word technician, we've all heard it and know what it means but we've probably never really taken the time to analyze it. It took me a long time to realize what I was doing and that it wasn't just a hobby or for fun, it's a career and it has a name. Be proud of who you are, make no apologizes. I'm a designer damn it!