Meet the Maker: Tara Tonsor

164246_10151512851448808_1011186810_n*This post is the beginning of a new series, called Meet the Maker, a recurring feature about how local Kansas Citians integrate cycling into their art, business or craft. This week’s feature is with Tara Tonsor, a local jewelry maker and owner of Lost & Found Jewelry by See{k} Design.

How long have you been making jewelry?

Steadily for over 5 years, but as a creative person I have always dabbled in jewelry even as a little kid. Craft nerd!

How long have you been biking?
When I lost my car it seemed to be the best solution at the time. I killed the engine, and realized I didn’t want to deal with another payment plan, and I lived and worked close, so temporarily I thought I’d wait awhile. That was three years ago. I do think I will eventually purchase a car, but the experience of surviving without one has changed me incredibly. Not only am I more healthy and in tune with my body, I am more aware of how i spendIMG_20130906_191719 money, how I affect the environment, and I how can make a smaller carbon footprint.

Why did you integrate bikes into your jewelry?
The idea just came to me one day. When I think of wearing jewelry, I think something worn around your neck is a symbol of perhaps your beliefs, your passions, what you love. It made sense.

How would you describe your jewelry design aesthetic?
I prefer natural materials. I find simplicity important, but a mix of materials that are warm and inviting. The lasercut designs are made from bamboo. The chain is usually bronze, and I add natural stones or charms as well. I’ve been working with bicycle inner tube tires as well lately.

How popular are your bike themed pieces for your customers?IMG_20131028_225707
Being a part of the bike community, they are very popular! Sometimes I end up meeting a mom or grandma who buys them for their daughter/granddaughter and they say, “She rides her bike everywhere, o this is perfect for her.” I think that is very cute. I have many guys that wear them too!

As a cyclist, what do you hope to see as the future of biking in Kansas City?
Personally I want to see KC (especially the more suburban areas) to recognize cyclists as part of the road and that many of us do obey the road laws just as cars. Lately, I’ve been feeling a bit uncomfortable in these areas, even family neighborhoods right next to schools where children ride their bikes! I think the concept of educating both cyclists and drivers of how to share the road without either party feeling accused or threatened is tricky, yet much needed.

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