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.

Let’s Hold Hands

Two years ago when we were designing the 2009 collection, many of us needed a little extra Faith to hold on to. With a passion for sacred objects, Patti felt compelled to create a charm that held similar meaning to Milagros, which are folk charms believed to have healing properties. The Waxing Poetic version would need to be something traditional that fit the line. Also fit was the concept of a charm for Best Friends—something to be shared. Inspired by one of my favorite pieces of vintage costume jewelry, we made our own version of the classic Victorian hand, with inscribed palms open to give and receive. Healing Hands are tiny reminders we can grasp when Life brings us moments that require a little extra something in our Heart to know we are not alone.

Side Lines Inc.

Each of our retailers possesses distinctive individual charm, spreading the personal touch of Waxing Poetic in their communities every day. As a token of our gratitude to our retailers and because we think you’ll love them as much as we do, we will be featuring one retailer each month here on Proof.  We’re delighted to introduce Side Lines Inc. from Florence, Alabama.

Welcome Side Lines Inc.!  We are so excited to have you here and learn more about your store and customers. We know that your priority is to offer a truly unique jewelry assortment for your customers and are so grateful for the success that you have had with the Waxing Poetic Line. What are your favorite collections? We absolutely love the entire Wing and a Prayer collection.  The Rings, Charms, and Cuffs are all must have items!

What are your favorite pieces? The Wing and a Prayer Sterling Silver and Brass Awareness Charm is our favorite.

What are your customers’ favorite collections? The customers all seem to love the Round and Square Insignia Charms.

What are your customers’ favorite pieces? The Antique Brass Insignia Charms and Baby Insignia Charms seem to be two of our best selling items.

What do you like most about the Waxing Poetic Line? Our customers most like the uniqueness and individuality of the line and always respond well to new pieces.

Thank you so much for taking the time to join us today!

Please be sure to visit Side Lines Inc. at 1611 Darby Drive in Florence, AL, give them a ring at 256-767-0925, or on Facebook and

Make Your Mark

Waxing Poetic made its mark with iconic insignia jewelry born from classic wax seals, so it was a clear relation to design pendants that represent their contemporary counterpart. Whether distinguishing a personal style or sending an outward message or paying homage to a loved one—how we express ourselves marks a place in time. Even if nothing is permanent 4EVER feels possible, at least in a lifetime.

The Making of Fresco-cards

After seeing how well the new flagship store’s Frescoupage panels made for a backdrop to the jewelry, we were eager to try more things with the same imagery. In homage to books and words and poetry and ephemera, of course stationery was necessary.  Plus now visitors can walk away with a piece of the boutique! I thought this assignment of creating fresco-cards was pretty cut and paste compared to wall sized interior panels but manipulating the fresco images into themes of gratitude, new beginnings, and celebrations was a challenge. Going to her roots, Patti inspired classic Italian messages; GRAZIE, BAMBINO, BUONA NATALE, AMORE, and BUONA VITA. Check out the finished cards to see how they turned out…

True North

Why settle for a conventional dream?  Pick your unique theme and set the course…and stay on target.  The Your Heart is Your Map Pendants introduced in the 2010 line hold navigational messages to wear close to your heart or in a pocket as a symbol of life’s journeys. Patti [Patti Pagliei, Waxing Poetic’s CEO and Creative Director] and I started with an entire session spent just pairing words that evoke paths and directions and markers along the way.  We referenced antique coin jewelry and engraved silver.  The coin pendants feature a rotating bale to reveal the special message on back.  These honorable medallions can be passed along or held tight to remind us where we’ve been and to keep moving: Your Heart is Your Map.

Tell Your Story

Letters, words, fragments and pages assemble over time. Except you don’t have to wait for the universe to align the different pieces. When combining favorite charms there is always meaning behind my choices, besides fashion. Sometimes I wear a secret joke or commentary, but usually my combos are a wish to put out and a reminder to myself to keep moving forward always. Everyone has stories, sometimes just one page to mark an occasion or a starting ground for a new Once upon a time…

Guest Blogger Lizzy Gilligan, One Girl's Opinion

I’ve known Lizzy Gilligan for years and I’m forever impressed by her style and talent.  Lizzy has a fabulous line of unique designer clothes for girls called one girl’s opinion, which I absolutely love.  I’m thrilled to introduce Lizzy as our very first guest blogger on Proof!

Lizzy, I have known you since art school, and you have always had an amazing and original sense of fashion.  How would you describe your style?

Eclectic-whimsical-bohemian?  I've always liked to mix up vintage pieces, current trends and classics. Of course being a mom has brought me down to earth.  I need to work on that.

Who taught you how to sew?

I basically taught myself. I had a little sewing instruction in middle school home-ec but mostly I followed the directions on commercial patterns and winged it.  I still learn new things all the time. The wealth of sewing and crafting blogs and websites can be overwhelming! There is so much information being shared. It's really amazing.

When did you make your first “outfit” and what was it?

I made a cream-colored linen skirt and blazer when I was in 7th or 8th grade.  It was from a Vogue pattern featured in a magazine.  My version didn't look quite the same as the one from the photo.

What or who inspired you to start the “One Girl’s Opinion” line?

It's a bit of a cliché but my daughters were the inspiration for my current business. I started my collection because I couldn't find anything just for school age girls in the handmade market place. Now that I've been marketing the clothing for about a year I've gotten a lot of feedback and I'm trying to develop designs that can work for a broader range of customers.

Can you share a few pictures of recent designs and who they were for?

Here’s an Easter basket of handmade hair accessories that I gave to Veronica. This one is a t-shirt that I did for Cordelia for Valentine’s Day. Here’s a skirt that I made to sell.And here’s a look at a new skirt design I've just started offering.I so admire your craft and your “one of a kind” aesthetic.  Can you describe your process a bit?

I have a hard time staying on task so making each piece a little bit different allows me to stay interested.  I have some basic designs that I use as a starting point and then I individualize each piece either by using different fabrics or different embellishments.

Where do you find your great fabrics?  Is there one particular material that you love working with?

I'm typical of the sewing personality—I love fabric of all kinds and I have way too much stashed away, some left over from projects most of it purchased with great ideas in mind which life never permitted.  Currently I'm working in quilting-weight cottons and I’m loving them!

Who is your favorite customer?

I've been selling through Etsy for a while and last fall I started selling through craft shows.  It's so great to actually meet the people making purchases.  I'm always flattered when another designer buys my work.

These clothes are truly keepsake quality.  Do you have some favorite clothing treasures that you will hand down to your daughters?

I have a fashion history of me that I've been storing away for years. I have some things I made when I was in high school and on through adulthood as well as some designer pieces that the now frugal mommy me can't believe I splurged on back in the 1990s.  My older daughter just turned 10 so we will soon see if these clothes are heirlooms or destined for charitable donation.

If you could choose a Waxing Poetic gift for any occasion, what would it be and to whom would you give it?

I love the insignia charms but I think I would give my younger daughter Veronica the Wish Tonic - Remedy in a Bottle.  It would be perfect for her and to avoid playing favorites I'd give Cordelia, my older girl, the Once Upon a Time Storybook Charm.  She is a great writer of stories.

What is the best part of your day?

Early in the morning before anyone else is awake.  I'll walk the dog while the coffee is brewing and then tackle some work in the studio before I need to get the kids going for the day.  It's a reliably productive time for me.

Thanks Lizzy, I appreciate this!  You can find Lizzy on facebook, twitter, etsy, and flickr.

Behind the Design: Shield Shakedown

We're often asked what inspires our pieces and how the design process works, so Behind the Design will be a weekly feature here on Proof in which we'll tell the story of how a line of Waxing Poetic jewelry came to be.

Here's the story behind one of our favorite designs, the Shield Pendants and Shield Rings.  Patti [Patti Pagliei, Waxing Poetic’s CEO and Creative Director] found a cool antique brass shield fob, filled with a cobalt looking substance.  It’s very traditional and simple but with detailed floral engravings on the backside.  I remember her holding it over her fingers saying, “I want to do big shield rings.”  So we did!  I used vintage lace renderings for the details and hand drew a series of icons for the centers of the shields, which we also related to the mini tonic charms.  The butterfly is my favorite; this spring I’ve been wearing the taupe shield pendant on the long brass twisted link chain and the butterfly tonic charm with any other larger charm, on the deerskin leather necklace.

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