Calling all fashionistas and jewelry lovers! We can’t wait to introduce you to Ashley, whose intricate beaded earrings we absolutely love! She’s giving you the inside scoop on her brand Ashdel, which we’re sure will quickly become your new favorite ear adornment.
Ashdel beaded earrings
Hi Ashley! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us today! Can you please tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in South Carolina and moved to central Florida when I was about six years old. I didn't go to Disney as much as people might think, but I did spend a lot of time at the beach. I studied Visual Arts and Theater Production (Costume Design) at The University of Florida in Gainesville. I lived and worked in New York City for seven years before moving to Austin, Texas with my husband Mike. We have a cat named Niko, and we enjoy exploring TX parks, going to concerts, and vintage shopping.
Welcome to Texas! We’re so glad you’re here! Who inspires you?
My mom’s eclectic style and love for vintage and thrifting piqued my interest in textiles at an early age. When rummaging through her closet as a kid, I’d get lost in the tunnel of colors and textures brimming with stripes, solids, velvets, leather, sequins, and rhinestones.
When I received my own sewing machine in high school, I realized how much time, effort, and money went into creating clothing from scratch. After not fully finishing a top, I instead found satisfaction in hand-picking clothing from second-hand stores, altering them, and practicing sewing with smaller projects. I inherited my grandma’s sewing basket filled with sewing notions; to me, these objects were heirlooms representing do-it-yourself culture.
That’s a beautiful legacy of creativity! Tell us about Ashdel— how did you decide on the name, and what do you make?
The name Ashdel combines the first parts of my first and last name. I liked how it sounded and looked. Since I studied art I decided to use my name instead of coming up with a brand name. While living and working full-time in New York City, I sold textile jewelry and hair accessories on the weekends at pop-up markets like Artists & Fleas, Renegade Craft Fair, and Hester Street Fair. Participating in markets is such a great way to identify and meet your target customers and test out new ideas. After years of working in a corporate job and saving up some money, I shifted focus to building my creative business full-time.
What a cool way to do market research and discover your passion! How has your work evolved over time?
I used to make hair pins in addition to textile jewelry. The overall style of my work was more feminine, rough or expressive in terms of technique, and there was less beadwork. Over time I've experimented a lot and refined techniques, which has helped me to develop my own style with distinct designs combining textiles with beadwork. I also mostly now work with solid colors and it's more minimal yet intricate.
Nice! We love what you create now and can’t wait to see how you continue to experiment with your style! What advice would you give a young artist?
I'd tell them you have to start somewhere and keep at it over time even if you think your work isn't good enough. I look back at my early work, and I'm a bit embarrassed by it, like it's not very good, but then I look at how my work has evolved and I'm proud of my collection of designs. It's still always evolving, which is inevitable; it keeps things interesting both for myself as an artist and for my customers. I still sometimes need to give myself advice!
I struggle with perfectionism and sometimes need to tune out negative thoughts in order to let the creativity flow and move designs forward. Sometimes you'll hit creative lulls where you'll need to find ways to get reinspired, sometimes in unrelated fields or in unexpected ways as you explore different environments (aka getting out of the studio!). If you’re serious about it, it's important to set goals for yourself too and go at your own pace.
Ashdel flower bud stud process
That’s great advice! Perfectionism and doubt can keep us from achieving our highest potential but discovering new ways to be inspired without being too hard on yourself is so important. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I'd love to visit Japan! My dad used to travel to Japan for work when I was a kid, and he'd bring back little souvenirs. I was obsessed (and still am) with cute stationery like Sanrio and love matcha lattes. In NYC I loved wandering around Muji and going to the Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya, and now there's one here in Austin!