Every day is Halloween in DoBatsEatCats’ shop! She makes jewelry for the goth at heart – funky yet still dark – and her chainmail is gorgeous too! She even has some pretties that my mom would approve of. ;) Read all about her here!
CZ: Tell us a little about yourself!
DBEC: I'm a born-and-raised Chicagoan, currently living in the city with my boyfriend and my cat. I've always been involved in something creative, for as long as I can remember, whether it was acting, dance, music, or various forms of crafting. I started making jewelry years ago because I could never find what I was looking for in stores, and I opened my Etsy shop in August 2009. I was so excited to have found a venue where other crafters were successfully selling their work! When I'm not crafting, I'm working at my day job in textbook publishing, belly dancing (I used to dance with a troupe but am presently on an extended hiatus due to work and life stuff), or wandering around the city.
CZ: What type of items do you sell?
DBEC: I make creepy and sparkly gothic, Victorian-inspired, and Celtic jewelry. But it's not all gloom and doom in my shop -- I've been known to combine bright shiny colors with my skulls and bats and I try not to take the whole goth aesthetic too seriously. I've also recently added a line of chainmaille jewelry to my shop -- I took a chainmaille class and have found myself utterly addicted to this art. It's the perfect meditative craft for someone who's obsessive about little details like me! Many items are one of a kind, and I love taking custom orders -- in fact, some of my favorite pieces have been collaborations between myself and a buyer.
CZ: What is the inspiration behind your shop and what keeps you motivated?
DBEC: Two things that inspire me are literature and found objects. I'm just a wee bit obsessed with Neil Gaiman and have done a number of Sandman - and Coraline - inspired pieces, most of which have sold so I am working on replenishing those. I've also done a number of Alice in Wonderland - inspired pieces in homage to my shop name (which is taken from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"; unfortunately I can't claim credit for dreaming that up!).
I also love scouring yard sales and unusual sources for discarded sparkly things that I can make into something new. It's amazing the things people will get rid of! I recently created a couple of pieces made from upcycled chandelier parts, and more are on the way. We have an ancient chandelier in our front hallway and pieces started falling off of it -- so of course I've been transforming them into jewelry! My boyfriend did suggest at one point, "You know, you could just reattach those," but I think I just gave him a blank look, hahaha. I'm sure I'll eventually end up cannibalizing the entire thing.
I'm motivated by the possibility of one day being able to go out on my own and support myself through my art. I am not the corporate type AT ALL, and now that I've been in corporate America for a good 15 years or so, I'm finally coming to terms with the idea that I don't fit there and that's OK. Every time I have a bad day at the office, it only makes me want to work harder on my shop!
CZ: What is the greatest compliment you have received about your work?
DBEC: I had a buyer who purchased a bracelet and earring set from my shop and she was so pleased with it, she asked me to design her wedding jewelry. That was a really high compliment -- to be trusted by a complete stranger to create something to be worn on such an important day. I felt honored!
CZ: When did you first realize that you weren’t “like the other kids”?
DBEC: I haven't been "like the other kids" for as long as I can remember. My parents raised me to be an individual so I grew up with the idea that following the crowd wasn't a cool thing to do. I was a verbally precocious kid who began reading early, and I remember the neighborhood kids going up to my mom and asking her why I "used funny words" because I had a bigger vocabulary than they did. I also caused a stir in the seventh grade when I showed up at the school roller-skating party wearing black vinyl pants and a matching vest. At a Catholic school, no less. However, I then went through a long and ill-advised period of conformity that lasted into my early 20s, when I decided to give up trying to "pass" as normal -- I never was very good at it anyway!
CZ: What’s a typical day in the life of this Dark Sider like?
DBEC: I spend an inordinate amount of time at my day job -- publishing is a tough and stressful field. My evenings are generally spent creating and listing new items, hanging out with my boy and my cat, or cooking something yummy and vegetarian.
CZ: Do you prefer zombies or vampires?
DBEC: Vampires -- their aesthetic and fashion sense is far superior to that of zombies, in my opinion. Unless we're talking about those vampires that sparkle in the sun -- then, zombies.
CZ: Which horror character do you identify with most and why?
DBEC: Probably the girl who immediately gets killed at the beginning of any slasher movie. I freely admit that I run like a girl and fight like a girl -- I'd have no chance whatsoever at fending off a psycho serial killer!
CZ: Which elusive creature do you believe is more likely to be real: El Chupacabra or Sasquatch?
DBEC: I think they're both real and are off having margaritas with the Loch Ness Monster and a very-much-alive Elvis.
CZ: Who is more likely to enslave the human race - aliens or robots?
DBEC: Robots, definitely. I can totally see "Battlestar Galactica" becoming a reality -- people getting too dependent on their electronic devices (iPhone, anyone?!) which then evolve without our really noticing it, become sentient and rebel. Aliens are just going to kidnap you and probe your various orifices, right?
CZ: What scares you?
DBEC: Those freaking "weeping angels" from Doctor Who. Those things scare the crap out of me! I had a nightmare not too long ago that the weeping angels invaded a craft fair I was showing at. They left my jewelry alone but seemed very interested in infecting the handmade soap being sold at the table next to me. I was running around warning people not to buy the soap because they'd be letting a weeping angel into their bathroom. Yeah, I have issues....
CZ: When my undead masses take over will you be with us or against us?
DBEC: BRAAAAAAAAIIIIINNNNNS. uh, I mean, with you! I took one of those "would you survive the zombie apocalypse" quizzes and utterly failed it, so my only hope is to join the undead masses!
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