My recent interview tea date with Moon + Crow jewelry and accessory designer Tatia Vega has been one of my favourite this year. She is playful, honest and we share a similar life philosophy which I find inspiring and invigorating. Also, we both can talk endlessly about our mutual love for 80s music and fashion which is of course always a good time.
Below is our chat that includes when she first started jewelry and accessory design, the first piece she ever made and who she envisions her customer to be.
CG: When did you start getting into jewelry and accessory design?
TV: I’ve always loved dressed up and I tend to be a bit of a collector. I found at one point that I had jewelry that I wasn’t wearing and also bits and pieces of certain things laying around. I ended up taking the jewellery and pieces and turning them into something new. Also, I would see jewelry that I liked in stores and think there is no way I’m spending that kind of money when I know I can make it or make something similar. I knew I was on to something when I was wearing my own jewelry and more and more people would come up to me and complement me on my piece. That’s how it really started.
CG: What inspires you when you are designing pieces for Moon + Crow?
TV: It’s really about the pieces that I find, the shapes, colours and combinations. It’s funny because some days I can bang out five, six, seven, eight pieces with no problem and other days if something isn’t right I will spend so much time on one piece. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to making jewelry. There is nothing worse than buying something that your spending a good amount of money on that falls apart after owning it for a short time.
CG: There is quality in your pieces, you are not just slapping it together, you are making sure that it’s done right.
TV: I take pride in the stuff that I make. All my precious stones are all hand wrapped, the hair accessories are the same. I try to make them durable so the pins not going to pop after three wears or you are not going to put it in and the center piece falls off. If a jump ring comes off or something looks loose or you want a heavier clip then I’m always happy to take it back and refinish it.
CG: It’s nice to know that if something were to happen you’d fix it for them. What was the first piece that you ever designed for Moon + Crow?
TV: It was a really simple black druzy necklace with a stone in the center and two chains on the side. Really simple and the roundness of the piece worked really well and I had it on a thicker chain link with a brass copper finish. It’s still one of my favourite pieces even though it’s the simplest. I really enjoyed making it and I find that when I wear it it reminds me why I wanted to start doing this. I also made this lovely hair clip for my girlfriend’s daughter that is a skeleton tea party.
CG: That sounds cool.
TV: Its two tiny skeletons sitting at a table with miniature tea cups and saucers, wearing feathered head dresses and its all hand painted. That was one of the most fun pieces that I made because I got to paint, varnish and set it and it inspired me with other pieces. I try to keep everything semi unique especially when it comes to the hair clips.
I don’t like to make multiple duplicates of something, I usually will change up a couple things. People like the uniqueness of it otherwise they would be buying jewelry from a mall. I have not seen anything like The skeleton tea party hair piece anywhere else. You will never get a cookie cutter piece, there will always been something different in the stone or in the finish.
CG: Tell me who you envision when you think who your customer is.
TV: Honestly everybody and anybody. It depends on my mood, sometimes I like to make things that are dainty and girly with very fine chains. I work with both silver, gold and rose gold quite a bit and I think that speaks to a variety of people. I’ve done a lot of bracelets with men in mind using black lava stones, garnets, tourmalated quartz, labradorite, and moon stone. They tend to be more gender neutral or more attractive to men. I also make really beautiful vintage Swarovski crystal broches head band crowns for weddings and big chunky pin up style stuff so I kind of feel like I’ve touch bases with everything.
CG: It’s nice to have variety in a collection.
TV: Yes. A lot of my stuff is interchangeable too. I feel that even though there is the daintier stuff paired with the right outfit it can work for day or night …anytime. I try to keep that in mind.
CG: When was the first time jewelry captivated you and can you tell us about that experience?
TV: Being three or four years old and watching Madonna, Like a Virgin and Lucky Star. I’m all about the 80s.
CG: Over accessorizing!
TV: Yes, the lace, jelly shoes & bracelets, big fucking hair bows, scrunches’ that match the multi coloured socks that you are wearing! I love all of that, I used to actually wear a lot more jewelry and a lot of my friends would joke with me that I could never sneak up on people because I make too much noise. I always have bangles on, ear rings, a necklace and I always have my rings on, I never take them off. Definitely 80s fashion and accessories captivated me when I was young.
CG: Your favourite piece that you have created and why. I’m really liking the skeleton tea party because there is a scene going on there.
TV: Yes, there is a story being told. There is a piece that I’m working on where it’s a red sunflower, it’s quite large, its going to be the King and Queen sitting, having tea at their table, she will have her crown on, he will be holding his sword and there will be a feather. It’s going to be quite extravagant but again the actually tea party scene is small about 3 inches but the flower is a good 8 inches.
CG: How hard is it to make something so intricate and tiny?
TV: I’m actually really fortunate from years of working in the bar..hahaha! I have a very steady hand to paint, painting small details have always been my favourite. My eyesight is still really good so its not that difficult for me. I think the skeleton tea party is one of my favourites that I’ve done for hair clips, necklace wise I actually just made a really dainty bracelet that wraps around the middle finger, it has three aquamarines on the top of the hand and then it attaches on the wrist. Aquamarine is my birthstone and it’s so difficult to find! I’m so excited because I just found tiny droplets that are about 4 or 5 ml of aquamarine! Anytime I find a rare stone I get really excited. I could absolutely live in a bead store, its my happy place.
Stayed tuned for Moon + Crow’s new website, coming very soon!
In the meantime check out Tatia’s instagram: @moonandcrowdesigns
& she will have a table at The East Van Ham Market (see below)
Lava Stone: stone of protection, strength and fertility, Basalt / Lava Stone provides stability in times of change. It often helps to dissipate anger and provide guidance and understanding. A very grounding stone, black Lava strengths our connection to Mother Earth. Lava energy is good for our Root or base chakra, and contains the fire of the Kundalini. Natural lava rock beads include naturally formed voids and irregular surfaces – which makes each bead unique. Because of it porous surface, it is wonderful essential oil Diffuser.
Black Garnet: A spiritual stone of higher thinking and self-empowerment, it is also a stone of strength and safety. Like a forest shields an ebony pool from the summer sun, Andradite offers protection and confidence.
Amethyst: an excellent all-purpose stone that can increase spirituality and enhance intuition and psychic powers of all kinds. It does this by making a clear connection between the earth plane and other planes and worlds. Amethyst is also excellent for meditation and lucid dreaming. It is used to open one’s channels to telepathy, past life regression, clairaudience, clairvoyance, and communication with angels. Amethyst also protects against psychic attacks, especially during spiritual work, associated with the Crown chakra.