It's all about the sparkle, baby.
|Photo by Audrea Diaz|
A Spoonful of Sugar
The Horn's Audrea Diaz profiles local designer Gay Isber and her jewelry boutique, The Sugar Factory.
Wooden carvings of the Three Wise Monkeys stand near the Sugar Factory’s entrance and abstract paintings hang on the walls as Gay “Sugar” Isber greets me from her backroom workspace.
I am immersed into a Willy Wonka-esque atmosphere - where any idea stands, with limitless imagination at the forefront of beads and crystals; designed to stand out, just as those who wear Isber’s signature jewelry creations.
With platinum blonde hair and understated clothing, Isber multitasks in our interview, making new pieces in collaboration with the Garden Room for a fashion show in Killeen. She is an adventurous spirit, and details her success in Canada, that ultimately led to finding a creative haven in Austin.
I sit across from her, near a desk adorned with some of Isber’s necklaces; by showcasing jewel encrusted fossilized Pterodactyl dung, shark’s tooth, and raccoon penial “love” bones, the artist proves that she has a gift for turning the unconventional into sought-after pieces, through following her personal motto that in turn coincides with both her designs and character: “It’s all about the sparkle, baby”.
And in Isber’s effervescent and generous nature, what resonates with me most is that she is a woman healing – using her work as a coping mechanism to move forward from an abusive past. In my second visit, I stand by the doorway as she meticulously weaves turquoise beads into wire, forming a cuff bracelet.
“Isn’t this great?” she says. “I love my work.”
Her phrase connected with me, because I too have said it so many times, in the struggle towards finding a purpose, and separating from my own destructive relationship.
In hindsight, relating to people is one of Isber’s many talents that in a short time has aided her to become a renowned force within the local fashion industry; simultaneously embodying its unique, supportive energy.
Honing a social and business-like persona, Isber has crafted her home into a walking portfolio, lodging separate business entities (Ensemble: Austin Indie Designers, Haute Cakes Couture Deserts, and holly B. Photography), thus illuminating the atmosphere of a fashion co-op, where each person learns from and grows with each other.
“Gay is like our creative glue,” said Megan Summerville, 2009 Texas’ Next Top Designer, and one of 16 Ensemble members.
With the recent grand opening of the Sugar Factory on April 6, Isber and company have fast gained attention for their differing talents and free-spirited personalities, delighting visitors into a hidden treasure of vivid prints, colors, and positivity.
Simply put, Gay Isber’s Sugar Factory is a style sanctuary.
“There’s nothing else like this,” said Isber. “I’m happiest making jewelry.”
Author’s note: Publicist and talent manager William Harris is currently holding unisex model castings at the Sugar Factory, every Saturday from 11-4 p.m. until May 5. Those selected are invited to take part in the fashion show sponsored by Faye German’s Runway Fierce, scheduled for May 18 in Killeen. If you are interested in modeling for Runway Fierce, contact Harris through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sugar Factory is located on 1800 West Koenig Lane (near Burnet Road), to learn more about Gay “Sugar” Isber, the designers of Ensemble, Haute Cakes Couture Deserts, or holly B. Photography, please visit their respective Facebook pages.