Friday, April 10, 2009

Fig's and Ginger Profile

Here at ABI part of our mission is to help artists share their story. One of the new ways that we are sharing stories is by publishing artists profiles on the ABI blog. If you are interested in sharing your story please email us at with the subject line "Profile".

The first ABI Artists Profile is an interview with Rhonda and Elijah from Figs and Ginger. Figs & Ginger is a husband and wife team making Eco-Friendly sterling jewelry. Each piece is made by hand and much of their work is inspired by the simple beauty found in forests, both imaginary & real. You can find them in select galleries & shops across the country and abroad. You can visit their website for more information about their works and mission at:

Where are you from originally?
Well, Rhonda was born in Fayetteville, NC but grew up in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. I (Elijah) was born in La Jolla, CA grew up in Oceanside, CA but moved to Massachusetts. Now we both live in Asheville, NC and love it.

How did Figs & Ginger start?

Rhonda studied jewelry at Rhode Island School of Design and Alchimia in Florence, Italy. She's been making and selling jewelry since she was in college. About five years ago we got married and got really involved in the indie-craft scene. Rhonda had been making birds all through college, and a new design took flight (pardon the pun.) unexpectedly. We were a bit surprised when we started selling well. The foundations of our business are definitely based in indie-craft and a DIY aesthetic.

How did you two meet?
Rhonda had organized an art exhibit at a music festival I was playing at. It was raining the whole weekend, but with abnormal foresight I had brought an umbrella. Rhonda and I kind of knew each other through friends and I offered to share my umbrella because I thought she was cute.

Tell me about your workspace and why you chose those particular spaces.
We have a design studio in our back yard, and we work from home a lot. Obviously we work there because it's awesome to not have to leave the house in the morning. We also have a studio at the Phil Mechanic Studio in the River Arts District in Asheville. It's a cool building with nice folks who work out of there. It's really nice to have most of the business out of our house now.

What's a typical day like for you?
We wake up at 9ish and head over to the studio. Most days we have a Stephanie, our studio manager, working with us for a few hours. We work a good 8-12 hours depending on the day. Sometimes we head home and work a bit more online. Most days Rhonda is making jewelry and I'm working on promoting and shipping orders. Sometimes we bicker and then make up.

What are your biggest influences? Artists you admire?
Rhonda likes: Aster & Sage, Foundling, Jen Corace, Harry Potter Audio Book, and Mirah.
Elijah likes: Final Approach, NPR, The Book of Lost Things, and John Vanderslice.

Tell me about being eco-friendly
We consider our impact on the environment in every decision we make for Figs. We also try and be transparent about what we're consuming to run our business. It's important to us that we aren't just, "green" because it's good publicity. We want to be for real.

What's on the horizon for Figs? Any new projects or designs coming out?
We're working on some 100% recycled content wedding rings. Rhonda made a cute prototype that I love.

What's a project you'd like to work on in the next year?
We'd like Figs & Ginger to be more philanthropic. As a rule we give discounts to shops within arboretums or conservation based organizations. We're brainstorming about ways that we can give back to the earth more than we take. We're also giving away jewelry this month to people who plant trees and send us a picture.

If you had a chance to tell yourself one piece of advice when you first started, knowing what you know now, what would you say?
Stop sawing out by hand hundreds of tiny birds and fawns, cast them already! Or maybe, focus your product line.

You can visit their website for more information about their works and mission at: