Walk with me through Vancouver’s Chinatown. There’s the Chinese medicine shop with the practitioner at the ready to prescribe a combination of herbs and teas to heal what ails you. Next door is the grocer with some fruits and veggies that you recognize and many that you don’t. Plus the dried shrimp and other seafood for sale by the pound in large bins lined up in front. In between is the shop selling all manner of dollar store-type items.
Look a little closer and you’ll see a few new things. There’s the artisanal coffee roaster. And the small restaurant whose seed money came from a kickstarter campaign. Look up, above the storefronts and the hustle and bustle of Keefer Street. See that half moon shaped window? That’s where we’re going today – the studio of fine artist and jewelry maker Alexandra Dodds.
Like many born in New Zealand (and Australia and southern Africa), traveling overseas for a few years is a given. It’s all about the adventure of exploring the world. That’s how Alexandra ended up in Vancouver a few years ago.
Jewelry making had been a side project since 2011 but it was only a year ago when Alexandra quit her day job as a barista and started working full time as a jeweler.
Her sculpture training is apparent in the unique elements of her pieces. They make a statement, whether a modest ring for daytime wear or a dramatic knuckleduster or collar or choker for evening. And how inspiring, as she puts it, to “continue the sculpting practice onto the hands of the wearer”. There’s something for every budget.
Like many young creatives and entrepreneurs, Alexandra has no desire to grow into a huge company. That’s not why she started her business. The joy is in the creation and the process of making. And although there are small runs of similar items for the retail shops who stock her jewelry, Alexandra also loves the bespoke side of her business, creating custom pieces for individual customers.
Sandra Harris | Vancouver, Canada