Local Woman’s Jewelry Featured On Vogue Magazine Cover

August 13, 2010

It really sounds like an unlikely combination. An Atmore woman, handmade jewelry, a Vogue magazine cover and rubber bicycle inner tubes. But add it all together, and you have a high fashion success story.

The August cover of Italian Vogue magazine features recycled rubber jewelry handcrafted in Atmore by Kathleen Nowak Tucci.  Tucci has been creating art for 25 years and has recently begun working with recycled bicycle inner tubes. Kathleen has shown her work in private, corporate, and university collections nationally and internationally. Her latest interest in recycled rubber has landed her in some of the most exclusive boutiques across the country.

Tucci, whose recent artistic accomplishments includes a successful line of one-of-a-kind lamps, said she was intrigued with rubber. She tried creating art from industrial gaskets, but that “was a total flop”, she said.  But then her artist’s eye took a long look at the seemingly unlikely rubber bicycle inner tube.

“It was an interesting material to play with,” Tucci said. “As a material, I was totally drawn to it.”

“Art deco style, swirls and curves…I’ve always love them,” she said of her jewelry’s design.

And thanks to the marketing eye of her sister, Margaret Nowak Dobos, the high fashion world was drawn to her creations. Dobos lives in Orange County California and serves as the marketing representative, distributor, photographer and stylist for Kathleen’s accessories.

“It’s unbelievable to be sold in Beverly Hills,” she said.

It’s only been six months since inner tubes were first recycled by Tucci from trash to fashion treasure on the website mysistersart.com. Italian Vogue found the website and contacted the sisters in June to say they were looking for rubbery jewelry for a photography shoot. They shipped Tucci’s jewelry to New York City. They knew it was used in the magazine photoshoot, but they also knew the odds were very slim that the jewelry photos were ever make the printed magazine.

“It was an honor just to know that Steven Meisel took the photos,” Tucci said. “He’s one of the world’s best known photographers.” Meisel, without a doubt, has an eye for fashion — he’s credited with discovering or promoting the careers of models like Linda Evangelista, Naomi Cambell and Christy Turlington, as well as taking rather famous photos of his friend Madonna.

Then Tucci visited the Italian Vogue website to see the preview of the August magazine. There, on the cover, she found her jewelry.

“It was amazing,” she said.

Tucci and her sister Annie Nowak, owner of Annie’s Community Cup, looked at cover image appear on the Vogue website over and over.

“I never aspired to this,” Tucci said. “It is beyond my wildest dreams.”

Pictured top: Kathleen Nowak Tucci at work on her bicycle inner tube jewelry, courtesy Ben Twingley. Pictured top inset: The August cover of Italian Vogue magazine, courtesy Vogue. Pictured middle and bottom inset, bottom of page: Tucci’s jewelry, as photographed by her sister Margaret Nowak Dobos.


29 Responses to “Local Woman’s Jewelry Featured On Vogue Magazine Cover”

  1. Tammy Caspersen on September 4th, 2010 6:47 pm

    Way to go Kathleen – your circle of artist friends in Pensacola are all very happy for you and very proud of you. Your photographers are wonderful. Pictures are fantastic!!!!!! You go girl….

  2. Haylee on August 21st, 2010 12:04 am

    This is still absolutely amazing to me. I have told Mrs. Kathleen this, there is not a more deserving person that this could happen to! She is definitely not letting this go to her head and she is such a kind woman. I thank her for allowing me to have a part in assembling the jewelry, its something I will remember the rest of my life. You are truly blessed with an amazing gift! You deserve every bit of this!

  3. David Huie Green on August 17th, 2010 10:28 pm

    We get it and are happy for her.

    I’m even happy to see her happy smile.

    Life is good.

  4. Foster Kizer on August 17th, 2010 4:22 pm

    Kathleen is an incredible artist with a vivid imagination and talent. She is supported by her sister Annie with the assembly of this unique jewelry. Both ladies deserve many pats on the back for their tireless efforts in this endeavor. To be on the cover of Italian Vogue is an honor rarely afforded new artists. It is rare that a local artists receives this type of recognition and I hope her efforts explode beyond her wildest desires.

  5. Pete on August 17th, 2010 2:58 pm

    This is amazing, Not anyone could take an old worn-out inter-tube from a bicycle and turn it into somethin that someone would pay big bucks for- I mean more than dog-gone bike cost that it come off of. I want tell ya -” this girl aint’t just an artist, she a genius”. Kathleen you must be a very special and talented person. Congratulations!! What’s next – Oprah?

  6. Grateful Whitfield on August 17th, 2010 9:21 am

    You can tell folks around here just don’t get it. Hey ya’ll!!, She’s a hometown girl who gets noticed by the people who live across the World. She’s getting much needed and deserved attention for her beautiful jewelry!
    What an awesome gift God has given you Kathleen, keep it up girl and give God the glory! Even among those who don’t like it!
    Go sell it downtown Jewelry shops in Mobile , Pensacola, Destin Commons.

  7. Blue Thumb Willie on August 16th, 2010 11:45 am

    I thought most bicycles, as well as automobiles, are mostly tuibeless now a days.

  8. David Huie Green on August 15th, 2010 5:48 pm

    but on the down side: think of all the bicycle tubes which had to die

  9. giddy up on August 15th, 2010 5:48 pm

    The ladies looks like she is dead. She is out in the dark smoky woods lying on the cold ground with just cut tire on her. How attractive!??

    It looks demonic to me.

    I would not want all that attention.

    Not me.

  10. Rachael A. Soloway on August 15th, 2010 3:55 pm

    Ms. Kathy,

    You’re jewelry is fantastic! Congrats on being honored on the cover of Vogue, I love fashion and will definitely look for the issue! I found out about you through one of my close friends John, who is related to you..I think. But I think that it is great that your work was discovered! Great Job! :)

  11. Suzanne on August 14th, 2010 8:19 am

    Congrats. I also have the same question as Big B. Does it smell?

  12. David Huie Green on August 13th, 2010 7:25 pm

    “I see her as a dying mermaid”

    that makes sense

  13. Kathleen Tucci on August 13th, 2010 5:59 pm

    Hi, this is the artist , Kathleen, all the big book stores will get a few Italian Vogue Magazines, in every store. It is the Aug 2010 issue and has not made it to most of the US yet. Even I don’t have one, yet. Can’t wait!
    The cover and the editorial photos inside are about the Gulf Oil Spill. I see her as a dying mermaid, gulping for survival. You can read more about cover on our site
    mysistersart.com, in the Press section.
    Thank you everyone for your compliments. This cover is so exciting and beyond my wildest dreams. I am so honored that my work was included in this shoot.

  14. Krista on August 13th, 2010 4:11 pm

    How would you go about getting an Italia Vogue? I would love to at least get her autograpgh.

  15. David Huie Green on August 13th, 2010 3:58 pm

    not the model, the pose–as of one lying in state

  16. Chrissy on August 13th, 2010 3:52 pm

    this is so AWESOME!!!!! Vogue???? Wow!!!! congrats!!!!! i cant stop saying wow!!! wish my sister had connections like this!! congrats!

    oh the jewelery is awesome too! cool that it smells good!!!!

  17. Big B little ill on August 13th, 2010 1:39 pm

    Annie that refreshing! keep up the good work.

  18. ewalum on August 13th, 2010 1:38 pm

    For those of you who think the model looks a bit strange, she’s actually making some waves right now because she’s allowed her hair to go naturally gray. She’s actually 45 (pretty good for a cover) and has been growing it out like that for six years! Just a little worthless information, but I say kudos to her for bucking convention.

    Oh, and fantastic jewelry! Congratulations!

  19. Annie on August 13th, 2010 11:36 am

    Nope, the rubber is amazingly clean and smell free…just a hint of lavender from the cleanser we use!

  20. BRANDY on August 13th, 2010 11:02 am


  21. aubrey king on August 13th, 2010 10:30 am

    Strange picture.But the lady doing the rubber jewelry is doing good.Glad for her.

  22. MAKO on August 13th, 2010 9:45 am

    i think the jewelry is very cool, but i think vogue could have chosen one of the better pictures for the cover. this one looks like a woman found dead in a dumpster at a recap shop.

  23. darla on August 13th, 2010 8:53 am

    America, an awesome place to live! Annie’s Community Cup , an awesome place to eat and socialize. Congratulations!

  24. Elizabeth on August 13th, 2010 8:49 am

    Same here David. I thought, is this the new trend in celebrity funeral homes?

  25. Big B little ill on August 13th, 2010 8:45 am

    I just wonder if it still smells like a rubber inner tube? Just what you want to kiss you wife or girl friend on the neck and smell rubber inner tube.

  26. Rita on August 13th, 2010 8:07 am

    Awesome & ingenious!!!

  27. justsayin' on August 13th, 2010 7:34 am

    I am with you, David Huie Green! Thought the same thing.

  28. C on August 13th, 2010 6:35 am

    SOOOOOO Cool!!!

  29. David Huie Green on August 13th, 2010 1:58 am

    I looked at the Vogue picture and thought, “Pretty woman, wonder what she died of.” Oh, she’s a model. Strange picture, then.

    Good for the lady’s art, though.

Have a comment on this story?

We welcome your comments on this story, but there are some rules to follow::

(1) Be Nice. No comments that slander another, no racism, no sexism, no personal attacks.

(2) No Harrassing Comments. If someone says something bad about you, don't respond. That's childish.

(3) No Libel. That's saying something is not true about someone. Don't do it.

(4) Keep it clean. Nothing vulgar, obscene or sexually related. No profanity or obvious substitutions. Period.

(5) NorthEscambia.com reserves the right to remove any comments that violate our rules or we think to be inappropriate. We are not responsible for what is posted. Comments may not appear right away until they are approved by a moderator.

(6) Limit your comments to the subject in this story only, and limit comments to 300 words or less. Do not post copyrighted material. Comments will not be added to stories that are over 30 days old.

(7) No posts may advertise a commercial business or political group, or link to another commercial web site or political site of any kind.