UT alumna creates, sells jewelry on Etsy

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Marisa Vasquez

UT alumna Audra Deaton creates unique handmade jewelry and sells it on her Etsy shop “Audra’s Details.” Deaton wants to create versatile pieces that are affordable for students such as the red necklace she is wearing.

Jessica Lee

As graduation nears, many seniors stress over how to put their degrees to good use. In 2009, Audra Deaton was experiencing the same situation. After graduating from UT with a degree in textiles and apparel design, Deaton wanted to get to work, but retail was no longer going to be enough.

It was when Deaton found herself working with Shaesby Scott, a local jewelry designer, that she realized exactly what she wanted to do.

“I worked at the studio for a summer and did sales and marketing,” Deaton said. “I got to see how the production behind the jewelry worked. I learned everything from branding to technique.”

Now Deaton creates jewelry of her own. The pieces are now available on her recently opened Etsy shop “Audra’s Details.”

Deaton’s jewelry ranges from $20 to $40, because she said that she wanted her pieces to fall within a price range that students would be able to afford. Everything is handmade by Deaton using the techniques she has learned from working with other local jewelry designers.

Courtney Gray, an instructor at Creative Side Jewelry Academy where Deaton previously trained, is impressed by Deaton’s jewelry making skills.

“Audra has wonderful ideas, and she is bringing very innovative designs to the jewelers bench,” Gray said. “I am excited to see what she does next.”

The pieces are funky enough to wear for a night out but can easily be toned down for work or school.

Many of Deaton’s pieces are inspired by ancient cultures. While attending UT, Deaton took an ancient adornment class, which opened her eyes to the history of jewelry. Grecian inspiration can be found in a midnight blue bib necklace featuring brass and coral beads.

Deaton also finds inspiration in modern day culture. She scours fashion magazines such as W, Glamour and Harper’s Bazaar to see what trends are currently in style.

The jewelry making process is a difficult one. A recent sketch on the television show “Portlandia” made fun of the fact that everyone suddenly seems to be making jewelry, but creating quality jewelry like Deaton’s is not as simple as buying beads and stones.

Deaton’s studio pieces require quite a bit of prep time. Deaton carefully picks out the stones and beads that she will incorporate into each piece. They are then polished before the actual construction begins. Deaton uses intricate construction techniques, some of which can take up to eight hours. These techniques ensure that her pieces are not only durable but also high quality. She strives to create timeless jewelry.

As Deaton’s technique improves, she plans to incorporate more expensive stones and metals.

Deaton’s ultimate goal is to start selling her pieces in boutiques. Encouragement from friends and family has given Deaton the self-confidence to pursue her goal with full force.

Christine Fail, the owner of Austin jewelry store Schatzelein, is proud of Deaton for the work she has put into building a jewelry brand.

“Since her experience at Shaesby Scott, I have seen Audra work to get herself into a position to pursue and realize her dreams,” Fail said. “It is never easy to follow your dreams, leave a well paying job and decide to start your own line, brand or business. I know Audra will succeed because of her willingness to ask questions, try new things and make valuable connections in her field.”

Though it took a few years of technique-building and training for her to have the confidence to branch out on her own, Deaton feels that now is the perfect time to show the public what she can do.

“Through working retail and working for other designers, I have realized that there is no reason I can’t do something every day that I am passionate about,” Deaton said. “Sometimes you have to quit saying you are going to do something and just do it.”