Allow me to introduce Kama Darr of The Vintage Key. Kama and I have known each other since we were about 13 years old. We met at John Adams Jr. High School, in Charleston, WV, and became close friends after both making the cheerleading squad at the end of 7th grade. We continued to cheer together throughout junior high and all through high school at George Washington HS. We were very close during our young school days and I do believe that our moms had a hand in raising both of us. (Her mom made THE BEST pot roast ever. Sigh.)
Kama is a jewelry artist. Since 2007, she’s been making jewelry in her home studio that has been displayed in art galleries and magazines. Kama has been a featured artist in the Emmy Award gift bags and was the first place winner of the Midwest region and a national finalist for the national RAW awards. (RAW Natural Born Artists. An independent arts organization, for artists, by artists.) She also travels to art festivals in the Midwest – Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan. Her jewelry is in the steampunk style, using vintage watch parts, typewriter keys, and other items to create one-of-a-kind pieces.
After graduating from college, Kama worked in public relations for a large insurance company in West Virginia, and then for the Chamber of Commerce in Lafayette, Indiana. After her two children were born, she became a stay-at-home mom until they were about 3 and 5 years old. She says, “After I lost my mom, I realized how short life can be and decided to pursue something I had always been interested in. I started off making jewelry and selling it at small festivals and it grew and grew into a full time small business.”
Kama shares, “I’m inspired by vintage items from the late 1800s to mid 1900s. I’ve always felt like an old soul. Working with pieces that are sometimes over 100 years old feels natural and it is very rewarding to convert them into wearable jewelry.”
Kama’s immediate goal is to have a good fall show season. She wants to stay creative and productive to “keep things fresh”. Many clients come to visit her every year at the festivals where she shows her work. She remarks, “They will be looking for something new.”
Long-term, she wants to continue being able to make a living doing what she loves. She goes on, “I would also like to have my own shop. I would start by having a really cool space where I could bring items in and create a pop-up shop 3 or 4 times a year.” Her dream also includes showcasing many of the wonderful artists that she has met over the past 10 years.
When describing how the reality of her business differs from her dream she says, “I think every single day you work toward your dream. So in that sense, I’m living my dream; working closer to my perfect reality every day.”
Having her work exhibited in The Art Museum of Greater Lafayette has been her greatest professional honor. She adds, “My work was displayed next to several original Norman Rockwell paintings. It was a great moment. He was one of my mom and dad’s favorite artists and I knew that they would be proud of me.”
On a personal note, she is proud of the home that she has created with her husband and children. She adds, “Being a stay-at-home mom doesn’t mean you have to live in a box. I’ve worked in the home for 10 years and have been able to make a living making art while staying very close to my family. I’m home every day when my kids get home from school and I also have a very fulfilling job making jewelry that people enjoy.”
As people do, Kama and I lost touch for many years after high school. Through the magic of social media, we have reconnected. I was blown away by her business and I’m lucky enough to have amassed a collection of her pieces (thanks to my überly smart and generous hubby). But more than the fabulous jewelry that I proudly own, I am beyond thrilled and grateful that we have reconnected and have rekindled our special friendship.
Start your own Vintage Key collection by using the following Contact information: