Tell us a little about yourself and your business.
My name’s Samantha Extance and I make Steampunk jewelry out of upcycled objects—things like clock gears, skeleton keys, sewing notions, etc. My business is called Bohemian Romance (named after the very first pair of earrings I ever made).
I am a native New Yorker and moved to Tulsa five years ago to study English Literature at the University of Tulsa (where I am currently working on a Ph.D.). I love books, antiques, making things, and fashion. Steampunk is a genre that allows me to combine all my loves!
What do you create and what do YOU love about your products?
I primarily make jewelry—earrings, pins, bracelets, anklets, rings & necklaces but recently I began branching out to create bowties, pill boxes, cufflinks, custom watches, goggles, and bookmarks.
What I love most about being a Steampunk artist & jewelry designer is the history behind the objects that I repurpose. I will often track down the history of a piece before using it so that I can inform the buyer of its unique story. With every piece I make, you not only get a little bit of my soul, but you also get a little history.
Each piece has its own story. Sometimes that story is passed down through the object (a photograph will be signed with the family’s name; a watch will have a maker’s seal; an inkwell, used for display, will have its brand stamped into it; and a locket will still bear its original owner’s initials—the secret compartment will still hold a rose petal).
But sometimes the story is mine and I share that too. Like the coal miner’s tag I found in a jar of buttons; like the trip to Paris with my mom that we took to see art and go to all the flea markets we could find and where we stumbled upon these gold filigree pieces and hotel tags from a building salvage; and like the lovely woman who stopped by Alliday Everyday last year who gave me a bag filled with her old wristwatches for free because she knew I could make something beautiful with them—and the other woman, who hugged her because of her thoughtfulness.
And sometimes the stories are yours. People will tell me about their grandmother’s button box when they see that I’ve used clothing snaps & buttons in a pair of earrings; a man will talk about his dad when he sees how I’ve used washers in my jewelry; or a kid will ask, “What’s this?” and it starts a whole conversation that inevitably leads to someone telling a story.
In the objects themselves—I create jewelry from upcycled, salvaged items that I find at flea markets, estate sales, and garage sales. To me, all art is in a sense found art—taking something old and making it new.
The Alliday Show believes that everyday should be celebrated as a holiday! That being said, which holiday do you wish were everyday and why?
Valentine’s Day. A day all about love, that’s a good day regardless of your relationship status. If you’re single, you can eat as much chocolate as you want and it’s socially acceptable. And if you have a honey, you can spoil them rotten and in turn be spoiled.
Valentine’s Day is also a big deal in my family. We usually exchange handmade gifts and cards (something I am so glad we still do today). It’s a huge confidence boost and it certainly keeps the winter doldrums at bay.
That’s a tough one—but if I could really create my own holiday I’d go for something big/impossible. I would wish for a “Global Peace Day”—a day when all nations & peoples agree to lay down arms and celebrate life.
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Baking Christmas cookies with all the lovely ladies in my family—my mom, grams, my cousin, and I (and now my sister-in-law and niece) all get together and mix the batter, then we load it up into these cookie presses and create fun shapes (like wreaths & bows) and scatter sprinkles over them. We listen to carols and imbibe a little. It is very holly & jolly.
Steampunk, Nostalgic, and Unique