Jewelry by Native Daughter
by Kaylee Zielinski
Brittany Harrison, the founder and president of Native Daughter creates jewelry for every woman’s inner goddess. With her artistry, she encourages each of us to embrace our inner mermaid, gypsy or fairy – whichever persona you feel most resonates within yourself. Her immaculate crafts embody what a divine spirit or goddess would wear. Each piece is crafted with love and careful craftsWOMANship.
Brittany grew up on the coast of Virginia, a peninsula known as the Eastern Shore of Virginia in a little beach town by the name of Cape Charles. Currently she is “happily floating” but looking forward to calling Northern California home very soon.
Beginning dance at the age of four, Harrison was born to be an artist of some sort. She began acting at 13, which she loved because it gave her the confidence to express herself. “Being able to become someone different and fully embody an entirely new personality was exciting. I did a lot of the costuming for the plays as well, so I was able to execute my character exactly how I envisioned them through costume. Acting is essentially a form of dress-up, which explains why I loved it so much.”
After college is when her spark to create jewelry came into play. “I was at an interesting point in my life, knowing it was time to “grow up” and get a “real job,” but also knowing that type of life just wasn’t for me. My boyfriend and I were traveling all over the country seeing more music. I was just completely inspired by the music, all the beautiful places I was going and the people I was meeting. Because of that, jewelry just kind of happened, I was just feeling it. I went to midtown in NYC and just explored all the various bead and trinket shops and would spend days there this particular summer learning the area and the shops and buying findings, chains, stones, trim, feathers, etc. It was amazing. My older cousin Meredtith played a huge role in my getting started. She taught me everything and gave me tons of beads and tools to work with. She has a wonderful jewelry company called Moonrise Jewelry that she’s owned and worked really hard on for the past 10 years. Since the beginning of Native Daughter she has been such a huge inspiration to me and a priceless presence in my life.”
Harrison admits her first concert was back in sixth grades with none other than the Spice Girls. Over time her musical inspiration has evolved into bands like Dave Matthews, Soundtribe Sector 9 and the Disco Biscuits. Bonobo, Emancipator, and Blackmill, provoke her creative flow as these tunes are “easy listening, pretty, & inspiring to me while I work”. When it comes to other artists inspiring her creative flow, lots of popular names come to mind. “There are so many artists and designers that I admire. Some of my favorite artists are Kris Davidson, Alex Grey, Mark Ryden, & J. Garcia, just to name a few. Some designers and companies that inspire me everyday are Gretchen Jones, Spell & the Gypsy Collective, the 2 Bandits, Kukoon, & Stone Cold Fox.
So far, vending at Electric Forest the past two years has been Harrison’s favorite festival to spread her art. “My booth has been in Sherwood Court both years and I’ve been vending next to people who are now some of my best friends.”
Harrison believes that art will ultimately save us, help us expand our minds and take us to limitless places. “Art opens our mind to the infinite possibilities of our mind. It tells us it’s okay and beautiful to be different, to be you. I think art ultimately creates acceptance in society. Art has been suppressed for a really long time. We were taught that we could all fit into these little square boxes with labels & stereotypes on them. Art says, “fu** that” and breaks down the barriers. Art just becomes more and more mind blowing, where people are taking their minds is fascinating to me.”
The word, “smassy” is a term Harrison and her friend coined to describe themselves: smart, classy, and sassy all rolled into one. When there is free time to be enjoyed Harrison spends it practicing yoga, thrifting and shopping vintage, dancing, and eating at amazing restaurants with friends. “I wish there was more time for me to read and write but I’m happy sitting on a mountain or relaxing at the beach”.
Harrison takes her work very seriously as her craft is her only means of support. “I’ll work odd jobs here and there but Native Daughter is the only thing I like to consider my “career.” Although business is not something she messes around with, screen doors are another story. “A couple of weeks ago, I was in rare form and in a very nonchalant fashion tried walking through my friends screen door completely derailing it off the track and ripping the screen… awesome… way to be aware!”
Native Daughter has a lot in the works. Brittany has three Holiday Trunk shows coming up so there is a lot of preparation for those events. “I am also taking the second part of my Silver Smithing class at the beginning of December so I’m really looking forward to that and being able to grow even more. After I get a hang of the metalwork, I will take some silver casting classes and keep growing. Native Daughter is definitely a work in progress, always changing, evolving, growing… It makes me appreciate all of my supporters so much because I feel like they never know what they are going to get. As my craft grows, what I present is always very different.”
While Harrison thinks she could learn a lot from the current generation she does have some advice to give to future creators. “if I could give advice to younger artists or anyone in general it would be to not give up, continue to follow your passion, and don’t let too much of the “real world” make you feel like you should be doing something different. Life gets hard and shit gets real and as a young artist it is really hard to find the balance of supporting yourself and still having time & money for your art. I’m still learning myself, all I know, is that nothing else would be worth it. I’m lucky enough to do what I love.”
Want more Native Daughter?
Visit her etsy: Love Native Daughter
and website: www.lovenativedaughter.com