By Katrina Mae Leuzinger-Owens | Outer Banks Voice on May 6, 2020
Jewelry maker Carson Davis of Dvandva Designs couldn’t help but feel for this year’s high school seniors. Thanks to COVID-19, instead of enjoying the last few months of their final year of grade school, they’re stuck at home, unable to see their friends. Their graduation ceremony, which should have been a proud moment of achievement, has now been snatched away.
“It just sucks,” says Davis. “They’ve been working for this their entire lives, and then they finally get there only for this to happen.”
Davis isn’t the only one who wanted to help Dare County Seniors cope with this unprecedented situation. Over on the “Adopt a 2020 Senior Dare County Edition” Facebook Page, Dare County residents are encouraged to “adopt” a senior and give them a gift or two to help take the sting out of missing graduation. Davis was browsing this page when she had the idea to start giving away her earrings.
Davis has fond memories of her own senior year, where she served as Student Government Association president as well as Prom Queen at Manteo High School.
“I feel like, as Prom Queen, it’s my regal duty to help these kids. This is my way to thank them for my crown,” says Davis.
Davis encouraged all high school seniors — from Dare county and beyond — to take a look at her earrings on DvandvaDesigns.com and choose a pair for themselves, free of charge.
“I want to give these seniors something special from me personally, to remind them that kindness can always be found, even in the midst of a pandemic,” Davis writes on her Facebook page.
Each set of earrings takes about 24 hours to make. By manipulating the heat of the copper, Davis brings out the full spectrum of colors copper can become in a swirling pattern known as a heat patina. She then paints on melted silver, adding in even more colors.
“I mix metal and then I paint it with fire,” says Davis, who uses the same process to create rings and cuffs.
Through Davis has been making her metal-work jewelry for six years, Dvandva Designs began in earnest this past December, when she started selling her pieces to make a little extra Christmas shopping money.For only being in business five months, Dvandva Designs is off to a running start. An Instagram promotion she ran in February led to a phone call that sounded too good to be true. GBK Productions had seen her work and asked if she’d consider participating in a pre-Oscars ceremony “gifting lounge.” There, she could give away her jewelry to celebrities attending the Academy Awards and in exchange, get lots of pictures of Hollywood stars wearing Dvandva Designs.
“I had ten days to make a hundred pieces and schedule my trip,” says Davis. “I drank so many Front Porch coffees it’s not even funny. I had a stomach ulcer by the end of it.”
She finished the jewelry, flew to LA, and rented a truck (which was too big to fit on the West Hollywood roads) to haul the antique furniture she’d purchased to display her pieces. The event was held at the Kimpton La Peer Hotel, where Davis could hear the other guests discussing which Oscar party to attend after the awards.
“I show up to this five-star hotel with my pick-up truck full of furniture, wearing daisy dukes and fishing boots, and next to me is a guy saying, ‘You know Beyoncé and Jay-Z have the best parties.”
In the end, the celebrities were fans of her Outer Banks charm, and many famous faces walked the red carpet wearing Dvandva Designs, including Carolyn Hennesy from General Hospital, Scott Michael Campbell from Shameless and Brokeback Mountain, and Hakeem Kae-Kazim from Hotel Rwanda. A few even stayed in touch with Davis, like Matthew Wood, sound designer for the Star Wars franchise and the voice of General Grievous in Clone Wars. Davis returned from her trip just before COVID-19 shut everything down.
“When I got back, I was looking at the Adopt a Senior Page and got to thinking. At the gifting lounge in LA, I had to give a hundred pieces of jewelry away to the celebrities. I gave celebrities free jewelry, why not give jewelry to these kids? And this way the seniors will have something to commemorate their super [expletive deleted] year,” says Davis.
Davis is also raising money for the Wanchese Community Foundation (WCF), so that it can better assist people impacted by the coronavirus. Now through Mother’s Day, the proceeds from every piece sold on DvandvaDesigns.com will be donated to the WCF. As of this past Saturday, she’s raised $1,000, and wants to at least double that before the fundraiser is over. Davis hopes that her donation will help make up for some of the losses the WCF is currently experiencing, being unable to hold their usual fundraising fishing tournament at this time.
As for the earring giveaway, Davis has given pairs to 20 high school seniors so far, and she plans to give out many more still. Reflecting on her own graduation, Davis is an optimist about how missing graduation will affect our 2020 senior class down the line.
“Graduations are bittersweet because you know everyone’s going off to different places. I knew at mine I’d never see some of these people again,” says Davis. “The 2020 seniors will have these hanging moments; goodbyes they didn’t get to say. But I think all this will make them even closer. They’re going to come back together on their own.”
“They’ll want to go to their high school reunion,” she adds, “because they didn’t get the closure the rest of us had.”