Meet the Maker: Vananh from Xephyra

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The big day is almost here! Our first I Made It! Market event of 2015 and we’re celebrating on the day of love – Valentine’s Day. Make sure to come to the SouthSide Works on February 7th to shop for your loved ones with our fabulous vendors. We have been keeping up with our artists through artist interviews. This interview is featuring Xephyra who offers up impeccable, beautiful silk jewelry and accessories. Keep reading for some cool insight from Vananh Le of Xephyra and browse our blog for more from our artists!

When did you start your company? Why?

I started Xephyra in 2014. I had the opportunity to learn traditional Asian art and needlework while consulting for an NGO in Vietnam in 2010. I came back to the U.S. in 2012 and founded the Reuse Everything Institute, Inc. (REII), a 501c3 nonprofit with my husband. We have had difficulties in getting REII funded so in 2013, I started designing jewelry and accessories applying traditional techniques that I’ve learned in Vietnam to sell online. I enjoy creating new and modern designs using traditional techniques such as Asian knotting, Tsumami Kanzashi (Japanese fabric origami flowers), beading, and silk painting. Many of these traditional techniques are being lost and I hope my work will help promote and preserve these art forms.

What is your favorite part about the art community?

Artists are my favorite kind of people to be around. Since I started Xephyra, the art community in Pittsburgh has been genuinely supportive of my work, especially Koolkat Designs, Koda Bridal, and One Time Originals. Most of my jewelry and accessories are now sold in stores.

Tell us a cool Valentine’s day/funny love story if you have one.

Before I was married, this holiday always made me nervous. When I was younger, I was more interested in travelling the world than being in a relationship. For this reason, I would end up breaking up with whomever I was dating before Valentine’s Day to avoid the pressure of being in a relationship. One year, I received a dozen of roses, one each day from an anonymous person, 12 days before Valentine’s Day. This made me so nervous that I avoided all of my guy friends when the day came. I think the anonymous person figured out that I wasn’t interested so I never learned who sent me the roses.

What can we expect from you at the IMI! Mine event?

Lot of silk statement necklaces, bracelets, and earrings for Valentine’s Day and for spring.

These are the 4 product lines that I will have at my table:

-       Silk jewelry and accessories- crafted & knotted by hand using ancient Asian knotting techniques.

-       Hair accessories- hand-crafted, folded and assembled using the Tsumami Kanzashi Japanese technique.

-       Hand beaded jewelry and accessories made from the highest quality lace, swarovski crystals beads, and rhinestones

-       Headbands and Sweatbands made for EDC, Rave, festival, outdoor party, yoga work-out.

How would you describe the aesthetic of your work?

My work is influenced by the people, things, and places where I’ve lived and traveled and my love of nature, art, and photography. I’m also strongly influenced by my mother, an impeccable seamstress and entrepreneur. My mother expects perfection from her work and she trained me to expect the same from mine. Not only are my pieces high in quality, but I strive to make them elegant and one-of-a-kind timeless pieces.



Thank you, Vananh! You can check out more photos and here updates from Xephyra on their Facebook. See you Saturday!