Image courtesy of Ava Austin.
I met Ava Austin at the American Craft Council Show last August. While strolling down the aisle, at a distance I spotted a booth full of intriguing somethings … things bright and colorful. So, like a kid to candy I hopped on over. Turns out they were bracelets made of a special acrylic paint Ms. Austin developed herself. Using rich color combinations she layers the paint into strips and creates the design. Each strip can be stretched and made to fit any size wrist and each design is one-of-a-kind. The line is called FaCuff.
Ms. Austin also makes the Metal FaCuff (pictured right) – the same acrylic strips fitted into copper and molded into cuffs bracelets.
A native of Los Angeles, Ms. Austin moved to Sonoma County in 1992 to attend Sonoma State University where she studied Kinesiology, the mechanics of body movement.
How did you come up with the idea for FaCuff?
While in college studying Kinesiology, I was painting life-size images of the human form. I then went though a an abstract phase, painting on large rectangular canvases. It was kind of an evolution.
It’s funny how many people think out-of-the-box ideas begin as ‘accidents’. I worked very hard to develop the FaCuff concept, and there was nothing accidental about it. I enjoy my paintings, and I think others do too – it became clear that only so many people could buy and display my large canvases. I want a large number of people to have access to my work, so I decided to create paintings people could actually wear. My canvass became small sheets of copper, displayed on the human body; this was the Metal FaCuff. And while I’ve had great results with this ‘wearable art’, I still wanted something that would appeal to everyone – this being light, easy to wear, and low maintenance. So I brought the ‘wearable art’ idea to its most fundamental level. Using my skills in chemistry I refined my own formula of paint, which is worn directly on the skin, and literally made the human body my canvass. So when you wear the FaCuff you are truly wearing a painting, you are the painting.
When it comes to color combinations and designs where do you get your inspiration?
With the FaCuffs my mantra has always been – It’s all an experiment. I try not to think too hard about what I’m doing and go with what feels right. I love to pair and combine color. Each color can elicit different moods and feelings merely depending on what it sits next to.
Describe your typical working day.
There’s nothing typical about it. I love working in the middle of the night. For now I’m working on getting to bed by midnight and waking up by 9AM.
Who’s you favorite artist and why?
As a child I remember falling in love Fabergé Egg and Tiffany lamps for their spectacular color and intricate details.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Spending time in nature, I do lots of trail running and hiking in Sonoma County where I live.
Of all your FaCuff designs which one is you favorite and why?
I really don’t have a favorite. They’re all my children and I have a meaningful relationship with each piece I create… Because I have no children, someone once pulled me aside and corrected this sentiment: “Oh honey, don’t kid yourself we all have our favorites.” Maybe this is true with things that can talk back and have opinions?
As far as the FaCuffs go, some are meaningful because I’ve spent a lot of time creating them, some I love because they’re so elegant in their simplicity while others bring me joy because their intricate designs and color combinations.
Thank you, Ava Austin. I have one of your FaCuffs and oh do I enjoy wearing it. The color combination (gold, green, and cream) and the floral motif really speak to me. Love it!
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