Kate: I’d have to say that I stumbled into jewelry design by pure accident. I was working a regular desk job post-college and took a metalsmithing class at the local community college just for something to do in the evenings. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with this particular creative outlet and it was barely a year before I quit my job to pursue jewelry design full time. I love the diversity of this artistic medium, and I love that it continues to be challenging even years later. There are so many different fabrication and casting techniques—some people spend a lifetime mastering just one skill—that I never get tired of being in my studio.
Boticca.com: You are inspired by the moon. Tell me about your experience “holding” the moon and talk a bit about why you feel so connected to it.
Kate: I should mention I’m also inspired by water, but I suppose the two are connected. My first year in college we had an astronomy lab during a full moon one night. It was too bright to see anything through the telescope so we removed the eye pieces and took turns projecting the lighted image of the moon into the palms of our hands. The image was so detailed that it was exactly like looking at the moon directly. I can’t quite explain the sensation other than that it was a bit surreal and totally magical. Not long after that experience I took some time off from school and took my first solo trip without my family to Kenya. Being on the Equator was the first time I had been so far south too and the stars are of course different than in the Northern Hemisphere. Knowing that my family could see the moon too was comforting in a way, even if it wasn’t at the same time. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, how foreign your surroundings, how upside down you might feel, at some point during the day or night you can usually catch a glimpse of the moon. It’s a comforting constant.
The Luna Collection is based on lunar textures, but on water textures as well. Growing up and living in a land-locked area often leaves me longing for the ocean. I find water soothing to my soul, and I like the interconnectedness that the tidal pulls from the moon creates on earth.
Boticca.com: How do you create the textured surface on your jewelry?
Kate: The art of reticulation is a process of manipulating metal with high heat to create craters, ridges, and valleys into virtual lunar landscapes. Sheet metal is heated a minimum of 5 times to about 800 degrees (F) and cleaned in between each heating (tedious!). After that, I apply a high torch heat to bring the metal up to just below melting point and then rapidly withdraw the torch. That rapid cooling causes the top surface of the metal to constrict, which is what creates the texture. While it’s actually a highly technical process, the outcome is completely organic and impossible to control. Although the overall aesthetic is consistent, the more subtle variations are infinite, which helps keep the process fresh and exciting.