Our newest Living High Vibe video went live last week! This month, we're thrilled to bring you the story of Gina and Copperelegy.
ICYMI, the Living High Vibe video series is all about sharing unique individuals and how they are living their passions. We hope that these stories inspire you too!
Gina is one of those...
She had a great job and an unusual hobby. While Gina's career path kept her at a computer, her rare fascination with a Victorian tradition kept wooing her attention until she finally decided to leave the screen and start a new business making jewelry.
Gina's jewelry has a unique component though—human hair.
Here Gina explains how her fascination came to be, why YouTube is the best and what it means to be "Death Positive:"
The Copperelegy Q&A
What launched you into the unique work you’re doing now?
It was two realizations that led me to leave my full time job and pursue my hobby in a large way. First, it was a desire to be more useful to the future of society, especially since the exposure of the overwhelming fear and pain within so many Americans during our presidential election. Second was the rising of the Conscious Dying (or Death Positive) movement, which encourages open conversations on the fear of mortality as a means to promote a healthier mindset towards living. By acknowledging that the body and ego are destined to become nothing, and the only thing that truly lives on is the love we’ve shared, you naturally embrace a more compassionate approach to the people around you. My keepsake jewelry became my way of joining this mission.
In one sentence, what’s your advice for people trying to find their thing?
Begin with little things that make your heart feel full; they might not be your final thing, but it will lead you down the right path.
What does “Living High Vibe” mean to you?
We are all energy, vibrating at different frequencies. Some at lower levels, negatively affect those around them, most at mid-levels, coasting through life with little to no affect, and the ever-growing few that vibrate at higher levels. These are the individuals that you feel walk in the room, their hearts so full of love for all that cross their paths. It’s human to fluctuate between the levels, seeing as we are sensitive beings driven by emotion. But those ‘Living High Vibe’ acknowledge this truth and strive to keep a steady flow and encourage collaboration to raise the universal energy together.
Where do you find inspiration?
O so many! But the inspiration to take my hobby to the next level was a dear long-time friend, striving to be an actress in NYC for the past 5 years. Dealing directly with #metoo, but never giving in, she felt empowered to begin her own production company. Within months of this decision, she raised enough financial support to hire a cast and film her first short. How incredible, right?
Who is a role model you look up to?
May be cliché, but my parents. Truly. They’ve been a strong team for 40 years, and have always managed to find an incredible BALANCE of family time, hobbies and work, despite 4 high spirited children and some unexpected financial rough patches. Regular family dinners, inexpensive camping trips and hiking on long weekends were the remedy for the weary working mind. Reconnecting with the wonder of nature and caring for her incredible gifts were a regular part of our upbringing. Plus they are both passionate artist that love to work with their hands.
What’s one (or a few) unexpected thing(s) people wouldn’t guess about you?
Besides making jewelry from human hair? Hmm…I love to sing. Mainly songs by female blues and jazz singers from the 40s and 50’s; Kay Starr and Billie Holiday are my specialties…but you’ll never catch me in public!
What is the hardest aspect of your work for you to tackle?
Balance between social media marketing and actually making jewelry. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in taking perfect behind the scenes photos and setting up staged shots that it takes me twice as long to finish a piece.
Favorite places to explore (cities, countries, things like coffee shops, etc...)?
Well, I’ve really enjoyed exploring the South over the past few years. I spent 26 years up north, only seeing Southerners on TV. It’s refreshing to get to experience the renewal of Charleston and Savannah first hand. You’ll typically find me in a café with a gluten free scone and matcha tea ☺
How would your parents or best friends describe you? Are they right; why or why not?
Strange and unusual…just kidding, kinda. Maybe inquisitive, creative and deep with a solid sense of humor. My mom commented recently that I’ve always been comfortable delving into the deep conversations where no one else cares to dwell. Which I feel is true, but only when I sense it’s helpful or will be a simulating discussion. Otherwise, you’ll find me quoting the most random funny lines from Wes Anderson and classic 90’s films.
Tell us a story about a time you thought you were going to fail for good.
I haven’t been at this new endeavor to feel like I would fail for good. But I do experience little blips of high-stress doubt that I’m in over my head and need to re-evaluate my business plan, every other month. But they quickly subside once I pull together a clear task list.
What fictional character would you like to be and why?
Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender, as Japanese animation TV series. She is a ‘water bender’ able to move water or anything liquid that is primarily water, with her mind, including healing wounds. She is the strong, vivacious, and compassionate female figure, tasked with guiding and training the young Avatar, master of all elements, so that he can return peace to the nations. I’ve never seen myself as the direct hero or the face of a movement, but rather the contemplative figure who focuses on healing wounds and inspiring others with more natural charm.
How do you describe your vibe?
I’m not really sure. I think I’m still working on it. My hope is to always give off an aura of acceptance.
What’s next for you? #futureprojects
In the jewelry world. Making resin castings of antique jewelry pieces to be incorporated with more modern keepsake necklaces. But more excitingly I’m starting a Death Café Book Club this fall. To encourage those fascinated with the “great equalizer” to gather for coffee and tea and discuss some of the incredible reads that have been published over the last 20 years on this topic.
Favorite social media platform, and why?
YouTube…you can learn ANYTHING for free. I built my entire website just from videos. And now I can share and teach hairwork basics to help keep the tradition alive.
If you could take one trip anywhere right now, where would it be?
Auckland, New Zealand. It’s quickly becoming a hub for creative minds with excellent senses of humor. The city is one of the biggest contributors in the world of technological advancement. Plus the scenic “Great Walks” are said to be untouchable hiking.
Gina Iacovelli is the artist behind Copperelegy; a jewelry collection with a unique element. One that harked back to days gone by...Human Hair.
Her interest in the Victorian tradition of weaving hair began in Pennsylvania, where she grew up alongside the Gettysburg battlefield and Amish communities. They ingrained a deep appreciation for detailed craftsmanship and a true love for preserving personal histories. Through the stories & keepsakes, the people of the Civil War era whispered of meaningful traditions that needed to be revived.
In 2016, Gina's admiration turned into a budding hobby. After realizing her career required too much time isolated behind a computer, she decided to shift back to creating with her hands. Her past experience in jewelry making was naturally the go-to, but it couldn’t just be any jewelry. It had to share her love of wearable keepsakes, and present a means to open conversation on rigid societal norms. And what rattles our core beliefs more than a confrontation with mortality.
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