Newbury Park Jewelry Designer Donates Her ‘Love for California’
Read the full story below or on the VC Star website.
At 3 a.m. Nov. 9, a restless Nancy Kanter looked out the windows of her Newbury Park home to see if she was safe. Just a few miles away, the Woolsey Fire on one side and the Hill Fire on the other were forcing many residents to evacuate.
“I didn’t see anything,” Kanter recalled. “I was about to go back to sleep and the phone rings. And I’m like, ‘It’s never good when somebody calls at 3 a.m.’”
The call was from one of her sisters, who lives about five minutes away. She said she’d been evacuated, but even worse, her mother-in-law had, too.
The mother-in-law’s house was only a block away.
Kanter and her boyfriend scrambled to grab anything and everything that was important.
“We’re getting our dog … photos, my jewelry, my original artwork and things that cannot be replaced, like my grandma’s painting,” Kanter said.
Her other sister, who was out of town, got in touch with the couple and invited them to stay at her place in Oxnard.
“And fortunately they had just opened the freeway up, because the 101 was closed at the Conejo Grade because of the Hill Fire,” Kanter said. “It was nice to have a safe, comfortable place to go, but it was just scary. I’ve never been evacuated before.”
After three nights away from home, Kanter returned. Grateful that she and her home were safe — and still overwhelmed by the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill the day before the fires broke out — she decided to try to help others who weren’t as fortunate.
“Well, I’m a jewelry designer and an artist, maybe I can create something,” she recalled thinking at the time.
And so the owner of Sparkling Vine Design handcrafted jewelry sat down and got busy.
The 1-inch by 1-inch pendants are made of glass and hang from an 18-inch oxidized metal chain. One pendant features a city of Thousand Oaks iconic oak tree with a heart in the center. One depicts the state of California with a heart in the location of the Woolsey and Hill fires, and the third shows a heart in Northern California, where the Camp Fire destroyed the small town of Paradise.
“I just wanted to do something,” Kanter said. “I just felt so helpless because this is my hometown and I love this area. I wanted to do something within my power that was positive.”
The pendants cost $29, plus tax and shipping.
“I’ve raised about $1,500 so far in profits,” she said. “Outside of my expenses, I’m donating the rest. I know it’s not a lot, but hopefully it relieves a little stress if they have a little extra money. It’s the least I can do.”
The pendants can be purchased online at www.sparklingvinedesign.com.
Profits from the sales of the Thousand Oaks pendant will go to a fund run by the Unrestricted Charitable Foundation of the Rotary Club of Westlake Village. Profits from sales of the Southern California pendant will go to the Ventura County Community Foundation. Profits from sales of the Northern California pendant will go to the North Valley Community Foundation in Chico.
“We wear necklaces close to our hearts, so I thought it would be a touching way to both honor our little town and state while also giving back,” Kanter said. “I’m also heartbroken for what my hometown has gone through in such a short period of time. I realize it’s just a small gesture, but I wanted to do what I could.”