Designer Focus: Stephanie Kheder Bodine

Take one part designer with a keenness for all things cool, one part creative genius, and two parts all around wonderful person.  Mix gently and voila… meet Stephanie Kheder Bodine. Stephanie was born and raised in Michigan.  During her childhood, she learned technical drawing from a botanical artist and designed a little of everything from a plethora of fabric stashed around her home. It’s pretty clear that she was never at a loss for conceptualizing ideas, even at a young age.  Steph’s vast imagination catapulted her into her career.  She began by studying fine arts in Dallas and then completing her Communication Design and Interior Decorating degrees at Parsons in NYC.  Years later, this sort of creative energy landed her press in top fashion magazines (Nylon, Lucky…) and feature guest spots on E!, Style Network, and The Martha Stewart Show.

Kheder Bodine lives in Santa Barbara, California where she runs her materials and design company called Bocage.  And, lucky for us, she also designs charms for Waxing Poetic, as well as the art that influenced the interior of the Waxing Poetic boutique flagship store. Below is a Q&A fest for your reading pleasure…

* How would you define your own design aesthetic and overall style?
I usually describe my own style as very traditional with an edgy twist. And dark. My aesthetic references antiques, engravings, patterns, animals and woodland, as well as materials and metal.

* What was the first thing you ever designed?
Oh my goodness, I can’t remember back that far. I definitely designed clothes for myself and dolls (barbie, cabbage patch, and paper dolls). The first thing I can recall designing are shoes with soles cut from foam packaging that came with delivery to our house. I used kitchen string to stitch fabric around the foot and create laces and then walked around in them. My mom probably still has them. Another time, I made a skirt and fingerless gloves in the style of Madonna.  However, they ended up not being wearable since I had stapled them, instead of sewing them together. Clearly, there was access to fabric in my household.

Describe the general process you go through to design and realize a piece.
When designing a piece for Waxing Poetic, the process begins with Patti. Everything originates through her creativity, where she envisions the line in the future, and the ideas that she’s most excited about. We get together to ‘pow wow’ on concepts – this includes dialogs on art and design and how to translate what we love into finished jewelry. I then interpret our ideas into visually designed images including specifications with dimensions and details for what the final carved piece should look like.

* Where do you find your inspiration? What do you love?
I find my inspiration mostly in antiques and also contemporary fashion trends. I love charms, chain, and costume jewelry, brown and black transferware, wallpaper and ephemera, accessories, materials, abundant layers, ornamentation, and heavy decor.

What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?
Designing for Waxing Poetic is one of my favorite accomplishments, since it has always been a dream of mine to design charms. In addition, Patti has created such an amazing company that people always recognize and share how much they love the jewelry and that feels damn good. I am also extremely proud and grateful for my company, Bocage.  This along with my many collaborations, including interiors, boots, books, and television, have brought me great success and have helped lead me to where I am today.

Who are some of your favorite designers/artists?
One of my classic favorite designer personalities has always been Betsey Johnson. I have many others as well:  John Derian, Damien Hirst, Tony Duquette, Miriam Haskell, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Prince…

* What's your favorite part about conceptualizing a design? What do you believe makes a quality completed design?
My favorite part about conceptualizing a design is seeing the finished product.  It always feels ‘real’ when you have a physical piece that started as just a spark in the brain. I believe that pushing a concept beyond what’s comfortable and taking extra patience to address each detail makes for quality. I have always believed that layers bring depth. * Walk us through a typical day in the life of Stephanie Kheder Bodine.
Uh oh, well most of that is private! But a typical day in the life of Stephanie Kheder Bodine includes multiple concepts in execution and lots of dialogue around everything in the works. There is lots of hunting, gathering, scanning, and scheming.  I try to get a ride on my slik chik [vintage bicycle] too if possible and get out of the design den at least 1-3 times daily, otherwise things can get out of hand. I don’t live by conventional hours.  I am kind of a workaholic who is always going and never has enough hours in the day!

* Was there a defining moment when you knew you were going to succeed as an artist?
I’ll just say that there are times when you have nothing but yourself and it’s validating to realize how resourceful it is being an artist with nothing to loose, but knowing anything can be made.

* You’re in a funk. What drags you out of it?
Creative friends and good company with really good taste. Making some sort of physical change to stir the pot and seeking out inspiration to motivate and spark my creativity.

* Give us a sneak peek into what to look for in trends in the months ahead.  Are there any favorites that stand out?
Upcoming trends, in my opinion, are earthy and tribal themes. There is a strong emphasis on tiny patterns and textures upon contrasting patterns. These patterns and textures are rich but geometric, natural bohemian, but not in a hippie way -- something more primitive and earthy.

A big thank you to Steph for being interviewed here on Proof!  To learn more about Stephanie Kheder Bodine and her company Bocage, visit her on facebook, twitter, and Bocage's website.

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