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Photo by Kate Richardson / @_katelogan

Aunty Monstera delights customers with unique and funky jewelry

Making beautiful jewelry runs in the family. And she won't mind if you call her Aunty. Jocelyn Doffner, a self-described "jewelry designer, local plant and earring aunty," says that her business Aunty Monstera started off as a simple creative outlet.

"During the holiday season of 2020," she explains, "I decided to make gifts for my mom and younger sisters and settled on earrings. Once I started working with clay, I could not stop; it was such a therapeutic and forgiving art medium."

When her earring collection began to grow a little too big, her husband suggested that she start sharing pieces with others as she continued to improve her craft.

"I was also inspired by my grandfather and grandmother who made and sold jewelry when they were my age," she says. "My grandfather was a multi-disciplinary artist during the Civil Rights movement and was the most kind man I ever knew. Aunty Monstera is a continuation of his legacy as an artist, with my own personal spin."

Before delving into this creative career as a full-time gig, Doffner worked with at-risk youth in Granite Falls, and also was the program director for the Granite Falls Boys and Girls Club. These days, her time is devoted to making and selling beautiful jewelry, mostly earrings, made out of polymer clay. She's also started to create pieces that are made with precious stones and metals.

"My work is unique because of the personal flair I put into each piece," she says. "No piece is ever exactly the same when it comes to Aunty Monstera. Inspired by nature, diversity and the beauty in the people around us, how could it be?"

Doffner's favorite part is seeing the joy on customers' faces when they wear her pieces.

"I’ve had so many returning customers say how confident they feel in them, and that is my ultimate goal," she says. "I make it a point to make pieces that vary in skin tone, hair type and body types, and it is such a joy hearing from people, especially people of my culture, that they feel represented and seen."

The most challenging part of running her business is bookkeeping, "I’ve never been good with numbers," Doffner admits, "but doing this has helped a lot."

The best way to support Doffner's work is to follow Aunty Monstera on Instagram and Facebook.

"From there, you’ll see updates about new collections and see where I’ll be for markets/pop-ups and such," she says. "I do markets much more than I do website updates, but I do try to post a new collection once a month or every other month, depending on the season."

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Doffner also encourages folks to stop by and say hi to her at markets around town, "There is nothing like seeing the art in person versus online."

Eventually, Doffner hopes to open up a studio or brick-and-mortar location, "I would use that space to highlight other BIPGM’s work as well," she says. "We’re all in this together! I also want to be able to run a Makers Market one day, to highlight the many amazing makers that we have here in Washington."