The woman behind Rework Creative, Tonia Johnson, labels herself as a “Creative Jill of all Trades” and rightfully so. Initially, a musician who saw a fair amount of success, she switched gears to focus on being a photo stylist 13 years ago. Not too long after jewelry started to make its way into her life.
“I started crafting jewelry…simple earrings, bracelets, necklaces etc. Self-taught, I was bending and breaking all the rules of the jewelry craft. 2008, I launched a website and my online Etsy shop. 2010, I was involved in a serious multi-car crash. At the time of the crash, I experienced a near death event which catapulted me into a phenomenon known as a ‘kundalini awakening.’ This awakening was the catalyst for art I create now! I am now a Raw Jewelry Artist.”
And create she does. Whether it’s with others or on her own, Tonia is constantly making moves and getting out there. We talked about everything from heirlooms to what Netflix series you can see her pieces on, so make sure to take in everything this creative soul had to share.
Kendra: Do you balance your time between Rework and other ventures?
Tonia: Balance? Yes, I’m involved in a wonderful collaboration with my twin flame/partner Azua Echevarria (of Age Into Beauty) called Wild Woman TwinFlame. Our Wild Woman collaboration showcases divine gifts as healing artists. We are all about wellness and most definitely balance. Also, I’m currently in the early stages of creating new music with some amazingly gifted musicians as well. And I am always crafting jewelry. The best is yet to come.
Kendra: How would you compare the first piece you ever made to the latest piece you worked on in terms of style, direction, and overall aesthetic?
Tonia: My first pieces of Rework were eclectic, playful and artistic. Now, Rework is Love Infused Divinely Energetic Wearable Art! Aesthetically, I create from purely intuitive raw inspiration not really about what’s trending. I create what feels good to me.
Kendra: Often TV and movies deal with jewelry as an heirloom of sorts. Is there any piece like that in your own family that you either covet or perhaps inspired you to create your own pieces?
Tonia: Honestly, not really. The women in my family were amazing makers but not really into jewelry. They didn’t really even wear jewelry. Wow…What a realization! But now that you mention it the most valuable possessions that my maternal grandma Stella instilled in me were to use my common sense, the art of discernment, how to create something out of nothing and my natural ability to overcome adversity. Honestly, she’s my heroine!
Kendra: You work with a lot of awesome materials; leather, brass, minerals. What one do you feel best represents what Rework Creative is all about?
Tonia: Crystals!!! Crystals for sure! Tangible Earthly Wonders! They are beautifully organic wise teachers. Energy medicine. After the car crash, I had terrible anxiety but I didn’t want to take medicine to calm my nerves. My preferred anxiety remedy was crystals. Crystals have amazing healing properties and speaking from my own experience and openness the crystals assisted me in overcoming my anxiety. I have decided to utilize crystals in my art to help others the way that crystals have helped me.
Kendra: These pieces are handcrafted and you’ve noted one of a kind. I feel there’s a beauty in that. That makes them more like fingerprints we can accessorize with. Why was it important to you that each piece be unique though?
Tonia: I use my hands and mainly a hammer, pliers, and cutter. It’s a raw process and it’s personal…It is my desire to create these raw pieces as spirit armor. The metals I choose, mostly copper and brass act as a conduit for the properties of the crystals. I use my energy and physical strength to create these wearable pieces. Because they are one of a kind, they are 100% handcrafted.
Kendra: We’re just getting started in 2018, but do you have anything planned for Rework Creative this year?
Tonia: Rework Creative Jewelry started 2018 with a cameo appearance on the Netflix show Grace and Frankie! Lily Tomlin’s character has been adorned with my jewelry for the past three seasons! I’m also planning a few artfully curated pop up events and shows. As well as creating exclusive collections for a few niche stores around the country.
Kendra: Now if you had to make a playlist that features the songs that inspire you when you’re working, what five tracks would be on it?
Tonia: Hmm, my first love is music! So, my current playlist would sorta look like this:
“Wading” by Jhene Aiko
“Plastic” by Moses Sumney
“Sing to the Moon” by Snarky Puppy feat. Laura Mvula & Michelle Willis
“No One” by Mothica (Kayge Calypso & Dunn Remix)
“Can I” by Alina Baraz & Galimatias