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First Friday with Dragon's Garden at OMOI Life Goods on June 7th, 2024

June First Friday with DRAGON'S GARDEN


Join us Friday, June 7th from 4 to 7 PM, for lapidary chatter and jewelry sale with DRAGON'S GARDEN.

Shai (they/she), the hands behind DRAGON'S GARDEN, is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Philadelphia. They are also the Merchandising Manager at OMOI keeping the store fresh and fun for your eyes to browse! Outside of the store, they are quite the hobbyist and have taught themselves how to carve stones into fun shapes like stars and hearts; they sell this hand-carved jewelry as DRAGON'S GARDEN (@drgnsgarden on IG)! This passion for knowledge extends from OMOI’s catalog to languages to lapidary to mycology–they are constantly learning! Catch their latest work this coming First Friday, June 7th! There will be beautiful wonderstone, mookite, labradorite, and more carved into a “style system” where pendants can triple as earrings, necklaces, and charms!

Flyer for First Friday with Dragon's Garden at OMOI Life Goods on Friday June 7th 2024
@omoionline YOUR'E INVITED 🐉✨ Join us on First Friday, June 7th from 4 to 7 PM, for lapidary chatter and jewelry sale with DRAGON’S GARDEN (@Moss ♬ Lazy Sunday Afternoon - Nimbora


1. Hi Shai! Thanks for joining us today. You're the merchandiser at OMOI, but you started off with a background in neurology research. Can you share with us what it was like to make that career transition, and how you feel like it's impacted your jewelry making today?

Working in research was interesting, I've always been into science because I'm obsessed with learning. How it helped with my jewelry?? Attention to detail, hand eye coordination… patience. A lottttt of patience. Tons of trial and error and error and error.

2. What kind of stuff were you into when you were around thirteen? Any advice for thirteen-year-olds today?

Things I was into when I was thirteen are things I'm still into now, to be honest. Never lose your child-like wonder or you'll live a miserable life. I was into video games (Pokémon, Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy, etc.), learning languages, drawing and playing guitar. I still do all those things plus more. Advice?? Hmm. I wanna say just do what you like and be into what you're into, don't try to change what you're into for a trend. Trust me, there's other people who like what you like.

3. What's your stance on magic?

Magic to me is a concept that I feel people put into a small box too often. Magic is something that feels otherworldly... inspiration is magic. Art is magic. Emotions are magic. These things that grip you so much you lose your ego. The feeling you get when you see a full moon is magic. The sound of flowing streams is magic. This is all disgustingly romantic especially with how horrible life can be, but those moments when I feel fully conscious. When I remember that I am alive, that very concept is magical.

4. You're very knowledgeable on both the sales floor and with your own hobbies. You've shown up in OMOI's Youtube videos to gush about stationery. What inspires you to keep learning?

I think I've realized over my years of collecting hobbies that I don't have all these hobbies individually. I just have one huge overarching hobby and that's learning. Maybe it's because I'm a Virgo and I hate not knowing things. Maybe it's because seeing people be so passionate about a thing sparks something in me to want to learn that thing too? I don't know, I feel the most "human" when I just let myself be curious and the things around me, to feel the euphoria when something ~clicks~

5. How has growing up in Philly shaped your artist journey?

Sitting bored at a bus stop waiting for the bus gives you plenty of creative thinking time…so does sitting on the bus stuck in traffic (perfect sketching time lol..) Okay no really, I live in West and it's beautiful out there, so many old houses with personality, Porchfest, tons of greenery, a billion other artists besides me. The tags all over North Philly where I grew up, too.

6. What made you get into lapidary?

I usually go on nature walks, and I'm a crow so I pick up anything that intrigues me, so of course that includes rocks. After collecting pockets full of rocks, my phone must've been watching because I started getting rockhounding videos and I spiraled into studying geology. I learned that you could cut and polish stones and the obsession was birthed from there. Just me, some sanding pads, a drill, and a dream.

7. Do you have a favorite stone? Why?

That's an impossible question 'cause it changes so often. There's something sick about so many stones that I couldn't possibly pick just one...not to be corny or anything. Some stones I've been enjoying cutting lately though are Wonder Stone, Montana Agate, Mookaite, Mexican Crazy Lace, and Moss Agate. Oh! I do heavily gravitate towards wearing Hematite and Amythest.

8. You've done craft fairs and now a First Friday at OMOI. What type of project do you see for yourself in the future?

I'm just kinda riding where my passions take me; I'd love to partner with OMOI and continue to sell here after First Friday. Other than that, no hard plans. I'll keep making whatever comes to me and as long as y'all are into what I make, I'll keep offering to sell it on my Instagram (@drgnsgarden). Maybe I'll actually sit down and make a site...

9. How do you stay organized with all of the jewelry design and concepts you have in your brain?

Haha....I don't. I have a Rollbahn planner from last year ('cause it has a dragon on it of course) and that's where I put in goals, concepts, and dates for art shows. But inspiration strikes when it wants, so I have tons of pocket notebooks, sketchbooks and randomly cut pieces of cardboard mock-ups filled with concepts.

10. Thanks for spending time with us today. Any shout outs you wanna give?

Shout out to Group Chat!! (y'all know who y'all are) and to the OMOI team who have supported me in this endeavor since day one.

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