Creative Minds of Venice: Tini Courtney

H O W L -by-ashley-noelle-257Tini from Handle Only With Love creates handcrafted one-of-a-kind dreamcatchers and dreamcatcher inspired jewelry from her little shop on Abbot Kinney Blvd. We sat down with Tini to learn how H.O.W.L went from a modest pastime activity of making jewelry in her bedroom to being worn by celebrities, featured in countless fashion blogs and how that led to getting an invitation from Art Basel to do a temporary installation in 2012 which has become a permanent installation at the Wynwood Walls since it is still there to this day.

So Tini lets get to it. Where were you raised?

I was born in New York City and raised in Miami.

 When did you move to Venice? 

About three years ago

And what attracted you to Venice?

The sunshine and the crazy people, what else?!

Is Venice home now?

Yeah and I’m not leaving, Venice is home.

How long have you been making jewelry and dream catchers for and what came first?

I started H.O.W.L 4 years ago. I started the company making jewelry with dream catcher inspired necklaces and bracelet and then I progressed to larger more intricate pieces of jewelry about two years ago. At first I would go through all my old jewelry and when I ran out I went through my moms old jewelry and I would just keep reworking different pieces. I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money I was just playing around at the time. After about 5 necklaces I had made one that looked like a dream catcher and I just ran with the theme and never looked back. I’ve always been into crystals and there healing properties so it was easy to tie that in with what I was doing.

When was the moment you realized that this could be a real business? That H.O.W.L could really happen?

Well it was about four Coachella’s ago now, before I had a website or anything established. I sent a piece to Alessandra Ambrosio and she was photographed everywhere that weekend and it just really worked out from there. I ended up getting all of this press on something that I hadn’t even really started yet. People were reaching out to buy stuff so I just started charging whatever I thought was fair.

 Is there a message or a mission statement about behind HOWL?

I care about what I do very much and I make everything by hand. Everything is one of a kind so each piece is unique and I believe it makes the jewelry more powerful. Each one has its own message but is open to your personal interpretation as well. The process of making dream catchers and jewelry is meditative for me. I’m at peace when I do it so I like to think that some of that energy gets transferred into the final product.

Get ready for a big question. What’s your greatest achievement thus far?

I was asked to do a installation last year for Art Basil at the Wynwood walls. It was really amazing to see once it went up and there were thousands of people standing under my dream catchers. They asked if they could keep them there, it was only suppose to be a temporary installation but a year later they’re still hanging today. But yeah, after that week of Art Basil I was just blown away.

Do you think your shop here on Abbot Kinney has attributed to some of your success?

Absolutely, I love Abbot Kinney. I started doing this in my bedroom and then moved to the garage so it’s certainly a pleasure working from here. Being able to work in my studio on Abbot Kinney that is housed in a compound of other artists is awesome. The people I’ve met through being here are truly amazing; they inspire me to make more pieces. I get inspiration from the people who stroll in the shop and the other artists I share the space with. It’s a great community.

Any words of wisdom for someone looking to get into the dream catcher / jewelry making business?

You know that feeling you get in your stomach sometimes? Follow it!

Between her dreamcatchers which are on sale now at Me & Blue on Rose ave. her website and her shop on Abbot Kinney its safe to say that Tini has a promising future ahead of her. We are so very thrilled that she is a part of our wonderfully creative community and we look forward to seeing what comes out of H.O.W.L in the future.

H O W L -by-ashley-noelle-172


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Suzy Frank is an expert on Venice Real Estate as well as L.A.'s entire Westside.

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