Gonzaga freshman and self-taught artist Abby Dodd runs “Flair Jewelry,” her hand-crafted jewelry company.
Since the start of the academic year, Dodd’s unique and colorful earring and necklace designs have cumulated popularity and support within the GU community.
A freshman from Anchorage, Alaska, Dodd kick-started her business in fourth grade by making duct tape bows. Her original business catchphrase was “What’s your flair?” because everyone has their own flair, she said.
Soon after, Dodd realized there wasn’t a huge market for duct tape accessories. In middle school, she evolved her craft to making beaded bracelets, selling to a primarily elementary-aged market. Still, she had an optimistic mindset and dreamt of starting a bigger jewelry company.
Despite setting aside jewelry-making for a few years, Dodd rediscovered the craft after finding enameling powders in her high school art room, which were then given to her by her art teacher, as they hadn’t been used in 20 years. Her teacher encouraged her to learn how to utilize the powder to create artwork.
“In the art room, I taught myself just how to sift the powders onto metal. … It was really trial and error for maybe, like, six months just teaching myself how to do it," Dodd said. "And once I got it down, I was like, 'OK, I think people will like this now. This will be better than duct tape bow ties.'"
Eventually, Dodd ventured from her school’s art room and made a home studio.
She begins her jewelry-making process by sketching ideas and designs in her sketchbook. Then, she fills in the design with water color to envision her final jewelry creation.
“I like to spend a lot of time outside," Dodd said. "I think that’s where I get a lot of my best inspiration because I love just looking at the patterns of nature, the flows of nature.”
After her designs are complete, she creates a stencil and traces the shape onto a thin piece of copper and saws them by hand. Next, she sifts powdered glass over both sides of the cut copper and heats them with a torch.
“When I first started to sell in boutiques and stuff, I had to make multiples of pairs, so I always liked to make one pair first to test it out and wear them around for a while to really get the feel for them,” Dodd said.
She primarily creates her jewelry in batches and releases new jewelry collections seasonally. “Flair Jewelry,” is sold in six boutiques in Alaska.
By using any recycled silver or copper material she finds, Dodd strives to make her jewelry as sustainable as possible. She often shops for used jewelry at antique stores to repurpose into her own creations.
“We have to be environmentally conscious in everything that we do,” Dodd said.
Dodd’s aunt, Amy Folmar, said Dodd’s passion for jewelry making and talent for connecting and conversing with others has allowed her to thrive in her craft.
“It has taken her already outgoing spirit and allowed her to apply that to her business and refine it as needed to support her passion," Folmar said. "I have seen it with working with her clients, with her parents in seeking business advice and even with me when looking for marketing advice. She is committed to supporting her business and not afraid to put it out there.”
With the assistance of the art department, Dodd hopes, by the end of the semester, she will find space to pursue her craft at GU. This will allow her to expand her company into the Spokane area and give reality to potential business with boutiques in Seattle and Bellingham areas.
“I could not picture my life without making art and I love how jewelry is wearable art," Dodd said."You’re wearing little works of art wherever you go and showing them … Having something that I can give to the world is just something that I don’t want to stop doing.”
Those interested in “Flair Jewelry” can find the website at flair-jewelry.com or
visit @flair_jewelry on Instagram.