by Julie Gabell
Split Rail Village
There’s nothing small about this Notable Neighbor who specializes in all things miniature and comes up with big ideas. Since early childhood, Kristyn Start has been trying new things. At the age of three she took it upon herself to launch a decorator business when she drew a mural on her mother’s bedroom wall. This early artistic endeavor remained intact for twenty-two years until the room had to be painted in order to sell the house.
Kristyn was raised in Long Valley, New Jersey and came to Beacon Woods in 1997 when she and her mother moved to Florida. Prior to that she had distinguished herself by winning many art awards both in high school and college. She comes by her artistic talent naturally, and remembers fondly her “Nana” who would whip out pencil and notepad to draw exciting freehand sketches to amuse Kristyn and her three siblings.
Though Kristyn had received many honors over the years, she did not initially take aim at the art world for a career. Her first love was dance and her hope was to be a ballerina until she realized she was well ever five feet and growing. Her next love was horses-back riding, a sport in which she excelled, winning many ribbons and trophies until financial realities hit home. “To make a small fortune in the equestrian world, you have to start out with a large one,” she wisely admits.
Kristyn was destined to be an artist.
She pulled out all the stops. For the next few years, using her degree in Fine Arts from Morris University, she expanded her childhood fascination with dollhouses. In 2003, now a member of the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts (NAME), Kristyn went to her first dollhouse convention. This experience opened to her the very real possibility of making a living by designing and creating her own line of dollhouse interiors—the hobby she had pursued for years. She registered for a business license as a professional artist and set up a series of miniature shows. When she saw the market changing, however, she went back to her fine arts roots and began painting miniature portraits. One of these she gave as a gift to Ron Mummert, owner of the largest miniature shop in Florida. He took one look and said,” Kristyn, stop what you’re doing and just paint these.” She did.
This still wasn’t enough. For years Kristyn had made earrings, bracelets, and necklaces for herself. Eventually, at the encouragement of a friend, she added jewelry designer to her list of accomplishments. She learned about semi-precious and precious stones; studied differences in metals, weights, grades, hardware, and design. She used various aspects of her portfolio such as laser cutting, etching, enameling, hand painting, silk screening, fusion, wirework, and lithograph. Today Kristyn’s work is displayed on her website: www.studiokes.weebly.com.
Despite the challenges of her thriving business, Kristyn manages to use her talents to help others. Using her professional know-how, she makes one-of-a-kind artisan rosaries, the profits from which are given to the St. Vincent de Paul Society at St. Michael’s church. She is on the Board of Directors for Investigation Station, a travelling children’s museum that recently provided the Pasco County Library System with a travelling engineering exhibit. For her own enjoyment and that of others, she sings in the choir and plays in the church band.
No matter how you slice it, Kristyn Start is an asset to Beacon Woods. She brings talent, know-how, and energy to whatever she does, and in the process makes our community a better place to live.
Beacon Woods Civic Association
Maggi Kosuda, Manager
12440 Clocktower Pkwy.
Bayonet Point FL 34667
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Peggy Weiss, President
Jim Massey, Vice President
Ron Hubbs, Treasurer
Mary Moore, Secretary