Dib Studio is a woman-owned, family-run design studio based in Hillsborough, NC that produces handcrafted jewelry, including necklaces, rings, and earrings; home décor items such as mirrors and coffee tables; and art objects and installations. The eponymous studio was founded in 2012 by Venezuelan artist Jessie Dib; the aesthetic is contemporary, with a particular focus on “bold, minimal, and geometric shapes,” according to Dib’s website. Many of Dib’s designs feature trapezial elements and use materials such as metal and acrylic: the vibe is hip and contemporary. Dib works with her father, who is based in her hometown of Caracas, Venezuela; her husband; and her brother, who is based California.
“Dib” is Jessie’s last name and her father’s last name. “Depending on who you ask, they’ll tell you two things; they’ll tell you it means a big animal, like a big bear, or it means a wolf. In our family, we’ve always thought it means wolf…we’re pack that still works together,” Dib said.
Indeed, family is integral to Dib’s origins as an artist and to the studio’s current makeup. Dib was first inspired to explore jewelry-making as a child; it was a way of spending “father-daughter time” together, first making “little bead bracelets” then “we learned how to solder together,” Dib said. Her father’s own interest in jewelry making stemmed from his job as a dentist: “back then all the fillings in the teeth were done in gold and metal…everything that was left over from the fillings he would do, he would keep…and when he met my mom, he turned those into rings and he gave her those rings,” Dib recounted. Most of the metal pieces for Dib studio are now handmade by Jessie’s father, who, while still a dentist, is “an artist at heart” according to Dib.
Prior to starting the studio, Dib studied fashion design at the Savannah College of Art Design (SCAD). Her senior year collection focused on garments that incorporated jewelry into them: she worked with her father to create cuff bracelets and silver-plated shoulder pads that would go with a dresses she was designing. The collaboration on this project planted the seed for future family collaborations.
After graduation, Dib moved to New York, where she worked in the fashion industry. Since founding the studio, Dib’s work “has been featured in Elle, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Forbes” and “worn multiple times by Tyra Banks on America’s Next Top Model,” according to the Dib studio website.
One of Dib’s primary inspirations for her designs is architecture, including “the shapes, and materials” of buildings. Dib said she is also “obsessed with stairs; organic forms and shapes, [and] the shapes of nature.” She’s also inspired by her husband, who does “paintings and murals and street art.” Dib said: “He’s very loose. He’s taught me a lot.”
Dib emphasized the studio’s commitment to sustainability—on both micro and macro levels: “let’s say we’re creating a metal piece, and we do everything by hand…[if the] rest of that square is left…we redesign with the little pieces are left over. Any extra material…we’ll gather it and remelt; any of the acrylic materials we use, if we don’t sell them, we’ll create an installation out of them.” She added: “even the tape—the paste on it [for the packages] is biodegradable.” In terms of broader economic sustainability, Dib Studio donates a portion of their proceeds to a charity in Venezuela that promotes education for younger children.
The studio is celebrating a decade in existence this October and Dib is exciting to launch a collection on October 10 (10/10) called “This is a Dib,” which will “bring back some of the original pieces that started this whole journey” as well as some new pieces.
As for many artists, the studio is a labor of love for Dib; she has a full-time job at a software engineering company and dedicates “all her free time” to the studio, “working nights and weekends.”
But she loves the work and is passionate about expanding the studio’s scope and reach. When Dib first moved to North Carolina, she worked out of her garage. Soon, however, she joined the artists in the Eno River Mill. “There are so many artists here [in Orange County], it’s insane,” Dib said. She enjoys feeling like she’s a part a vibrant artistic community and is excited about upcoming collaborations: for example, at the mill, she connected with local artist Mike Tambashe, a clothing and fashion designer who sells tongue-in-cheek apparel with a social justice bent under the brand Poor Dad.
Looking toward the future, Dib is excited to “connect with my original community in Venezuela, which [I] left 17 years ago.”
Ultimately, Dib sees her designs as a way to bring people together. She recalled an instance in New York when somebody who was wearing her jewelry was stopped on the street by another person who recognized the signature Dib style; the two hit it off, becoming friends and working together, based on this serendipitous encounter. “One of the biggest things that Dib Studio does, is connect people,” Dib said.
You can learn more about Dib studio at https://thedibstudio.com/; follow Dib studio on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/thedibstudio/; and check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thedibstudio