Meet the Woman Who Turned Her Favorite Hobbies into a Business

You name it, Kaye Blegvad does it beautifully.

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For mere mortals, just imagining Kaye Blegvad's day-to-day can be exhausting. While most us struggle to make time to attend a flying trapeze class we signed up for three months ago, Blegvad juggles multiple professions with flair. How can one woman simultaneously run four businesses and still have time to regularly illustrate stories for the New York Times? We stopped by her studio in Brooklyn to figure it out—and take notes.

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Blegvad's desk may not be the neatest, but it's full of neat stuff.
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Blegvad's shared studio occupies an enormous industrial space, which this afternoon is flooded with natural light and visual stimulation—doodles, photos, and sculptures that inform her work are scattered about. "It's pretty much all side hustles," Blegvad explains, leaning against her desk, "and hopefully they all form one kind of whole hustle." Blegvad's various hustles consist of contributing illustrations to multiple publications, running a jewelry brand (Datter Industries) that the entire internet seems to be nuts over, publishing a tiny zine, and selling (make that selling out of) ceramics of her design.

Kaye takes us through some of her latest illustrations.

But for Blegvad, it all started with illustration, which is what she went to school for in London. "I just drew for three straight years," she recalls. "It was all about communicating your idea in whatever form, while using illustration—so I've always made loads of different stuff." Blegvad graduated and moved to New York ("If you're going to be a waitress, you might as well do it somewhere new and cool!"), where a friend's dad introduced her to jewelry making. "I was addicted immediately," she recalls, motioning at her various tools, necklaces, and chains. "The fact that you can make anything in wax, and then give it to someone, and have it come back in metal is amazing." Within a year she was able to quit her job and focus solely on her art.

We could stare at these trinkets all day long.

Having seen her jewelry go from pastime to business, which she admits "is often at the expense of creativity," Blegvad remains more guarded about her ceramics. "I started doing it again in earnest about four years ago, and out of everything, it feels the most obviously connected to my illustration," she says, "but I really want to preserve it as fun." So how can you get your hands on her gorgeous pieces? Two options: You can find them on her website when she's "stockpiled enough to think, this is getting out of hand!" (but be quick—they usually sell out within days), or you can find them in Lena Dunham's Lenny Letter shop. "I broke my rule for mass-producing on this one," she says with a laugh. "When you get an email titled 'Lena Dunham ceramics,' you say 'Yes. What would you like? Anything. You can have anything.'"

A look at some of Kaye's lust-worthy ceramic pieces.

What's her fourth and final hustle? Her tongue-in-cheek, sexy, and smutty eight-page "Tijuana Bibles" that are 2.5-by-4 inches, which you can find nestled next to the work of her fellow studio mates, on a shared shelf that covers the entire back wall. ("Historically, Tijuana Bibles were sold under the counter at bodegas," she explains. "Distributing sexual content was illegal, so you had to be able to hide it in your wallet!"). Horizontal Press, Blegvad's first collaborative effort, is only on its second edition—but knowing her, it's primed to become something everybody's talking about any day now.

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