Kurstie Grimble never thought she’d be making a living as an artist.
“I couldn’t find stuff I liked in stores because I’m a little bit different. So I started making my own jewelry and clothes – what I liked in my mind’s eye,” Grimble said. What started as a passionate drive for self-expression through fashion led to the creation of the brand Khaos By Design.
Grimble picked up a variety of skills throughout her lifetime. When she was a kid she and her brother spent time hunting for found objects in the woods to create works of art. She also inherited an aptitude for needlework from the women in her family.
“My grandmother used to sew… She always had these cookie tins that never had cookies in them because they always had sewing supplies. That was Grandma.” Her mother used to sew as well and even fashioned her very own wedding dress.
Grimble herself now designs and creates wedding gowns and prom dresses, as well as ready-to-wear and commissioned garments. Depending on how complicated the design, these one-of-a-kind pieces can take several months from start to finish. “It’s worth it because you can have it tailored to you and it’s very customized.”
But the apparel is only the latest in a line that started with jewelry. In fact, the bulk of her trade is still in accessories. “I started off in bone, animal bones.” Grimble went on to explain, “They were hard to come across because they were all humanely found. You can’t replicate it, so it started to be costly. That’s when I started recreating the bone in metal, just so I have more of a supply.”
Her pieces have been described as post-apocalyptic, industrial, and goth. They might incorporate cultural elements like Viking runes or tribal symbols. But they are always inspired by the natural elements she has been drawn to since her childhood.
“I do mostly ear weights just because I have stretched ears. People with stretched ears can’t wear normal earrings.”
The eye-catching statement pieces caught the attention of folks who wanted her to make similar accessories for them. As demand for her unique creations increased, it turned into a business.
“I have the most supportive clients a person could ever ask for. Clients from when I first started and new ones,” Grimble said. “I’m very blessed.”
Gimble’s studio is located deep in the heart of the Hungerford in suite 41. In addition to her own designs, her shop also carries Elliot Saturn’s candles and houses the Vertex Gothic Garage Sale wares. You’ll also spot her at the Khaos By Design booth at various events in the community. Information about upcoming events is posted on her social media - just look for Khaos By Design on Facebook or Instagram. The studio is open during First Friday events (in the evening on the first Friday of each month), including for the Haunted Hungerford event on October 5. Send her a message over social media if you’d like to arrange a visit to the studio.