“Getting Crafty with Cinda” (The Daily Item feature on Studio Artist Cinda Danh)
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-4293,single-format-standard,eltd-core-1.1.3,lynn-museum-theme-ver-2.2,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,smooth_scroll, vertical_menu_with_scroll,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.0.5,vc_responsive

“Getting Crafty with Cinda” (The Daily Item feature on Studio Artist Cinda Danh)



Cinda Danh might be recognized by most people in Lynn from when she ran for the City Council’s Ward 6 seat in 2019. She started her career in politics in 2011 when her parents’ house was foreclosed on.


“That was when I was introduced to a local organization, Lynn United for Change, that actually was like, ‘Hey, you don’t have to leave because when you are being foreclosed on the banks will do whatever they can to intimidate you,” Danh said.


While Danh was born in the United States, her parents, who are from Cambodia, do not speak English as their first language. Explaining the foreclosure to them was difficult for her since she didn’t have a full grasp of politics and government herself. That’s when she decided to start engaging in politics and learning more about how the system works.


“If you don’t like something and you understand that this problem isn’t unique, it’s systemically unjust… you can do something about it,” Danh said.


As a result, she was introduced to community organizing, advocacy, and legislation. Through the Asian American Women’s Political Initiative, Danh got an internship at the State House, where she spent years and eventually became a legislative aide to state Rep. Steven Walsh and a staff director for state Rep. James O’Day.


“I really wanted to understand how a bill gets passed and try to tackle it from all sides, from advocacy to staff,” Danh said.



In June 2020, Danh found herself, like many others, laid off from work because of the pandemic. It was the first time since she was 14 that she was no longer part of the workforce, and she did not know what to do with herself.


“I didn’t have a bus or train to catch in Boston or to be anywhere at any time for the first time,” Danh said. “No one was expecting anything from me, and of course it being the pandemic and me adjusting to not working, my mental health was not its best.”

Two months later, Danh was scrolling through TikTok when she stumbled upon a video of people making clay earrings. It inspired her and sparked her creativity, and she immediately asked her partner to take her to the art store. There, she purchased a kit to make clay earrings and a toaster oven to bake the clay.


“I found that it naturally improved my mental health and I grew happier as I continued to work and create with my hands, and it kind of just took off from there,” Danh said.


What started as just a hobby soon turned into more, as friends and strangers became supportive of her craft and started to request custom orders for themselves. That’s when Danh decided to open up her own business, Cinda’s Crafts. She had to put her new initiative on hiatus a couple of years later when she became pregnant with her daughter, Emery, who is now 15 months old. In May 2023, Danh got a studio space in LynnArts, which became her haven of creation.


“I was so excited to get back to clay-making and fulfilled the orders that folks wanted while I was pregnant and I just loved making clay, rolling it with my hands, running it through the pasta machine, and using fun cutters,” Danh said.



One thing that Danh wanted to do with her earrings was run DIY workshops where people could come and put together their own custom fun, lightweight earrings. In August 2023, she made that dream a reality when she hosted her first workshop during the Arts and Cultural Festival with the help of the Lynn Museum and Lynn Main Streets. So far, Danh has hosted six more workshops, including two at birthday parties and one at the Beverly Council on Aging.


“I love seeing the unique earrings people create and I love how slow-paced it is because as I’m teaching folks how to drill and assemble their earrings, it allows space for conversation and for me to get to know each and every individual at the workshop, and it allows the folks in attendance to also get to know one another,” Danh said. “It became a space that nurtured community through creativity and I find I always leave the workshops feeling happy with a full heart, and I hope that folks leave feeling the same as I do.”


Another aspect that Danh enjoys about the workshops as a new mom is getting to meet other moms who attend with their children. It’s something that Danh herself wishes to do one day with her daughter. As a work-from-home mom, Danh gets to bring Emery to the studio so she can spend time with her while she works. She said she cannot wait to share the process of making clay earrings with her daughter when she grows up.



Step 1: Danh spends 20 to 30 minutes rolling out a 1.7-ounce piece of clay to make it flat, rolling it in her hands to get it nicely conditioned and soft.

Step 2: She then transfers the clay to a pasta machine, which it is run through to even the clay out on all sides.

Step 3: Danh decides which cutters she should use, dusts the clay with baby powder to make sure it does not stick, and cuts it into shapes.

Step 4: She then dusts off the baby powder and puts the clay shapes into a toaster oven for about 40 minutes.

Step 5: When the time is up, Danh takes the pieces out of the oven and waits for them to cool down.

Step 6: Since the pieces are not completely smooth on their sides, Danh spends 20 to 25 minutes using an electronic nail filer to shape and sand the sides for a smooth finish.



If you want to get your own pair of clay earrings, there are a few ways to do so. Danh has two workshops that you can attend this month. The first will be held on April 13 at the Lynn Museum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with free admission. The second workshop will be at Couch Dog Brewing, an Asian-owned brewery in Salem, on April 23 from 5 to 8 p.m. Amanda Beard Garcia, the founder of Lucky Knot Arts, encouraged Danh to hold this workshop, as she was awarded a Civic Impact Grant from the AAWPI.


“She wanted to create accessible arts for Asian Americans but in the North Shore, because in Boston you have so much for Asian Americans to do out there,” Danh said.


You can also find some of her pieces at Eat Drink Explore Provisions in Peabody or at fairs and booths she announces on her Instagram, @CindasCrafts. From her Instagram, you can order fun mystery pairs, which she can put together to match your vibe and style. Outside of clay earrings, Danh will be releasing the fourth issue of her magazine, Faces of Lynn, which you can get at the Lynn Museum on May 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The magazine will feature the portraits of more than 100 mothers from Lynn and their descriptions of what motherhood means to them. There will also be vendors from businesses owned by moms and a photobooth there.


en English