GLB: Please tell us about your work!
Katelin: I design and hand make custom jewelry, which is often engagement rings and wedding bands, as well as pieces to mark other significant life occasions. I appreciate the personal aspect of working directly with a client to make a piece that is intimately meaningful to them. While I enjoy sourcing the perfect diamond or other stone, I also love working a client's heirloom diamond, giving it new life in a new piece. I hand make my pieces with recycled gold in my studio via hand sawing, soldering, hammering, filing and sanding.
GLB: How long have you been making jewelry? And how did you get started?
Katelin: I studied Jewelry & Metalsmithing at Rhode Island School of Design. I went to art school imagining I would study painting or illustration, as that was my background, with a particular affinity for figure drawing. During my foundation year in 2006/07, I took an elective class in the Jewelry & Metalsmithing department, and instantly fell in love with the tools and process in a way that I had never experienced with other modes of making. Using a torch and a tiny hand saw for the first time was a life changing moment for me. After graduating in 2010, I set up shop in a small studio apartment in New York and started taking on custom commissions. I have been doing that since, though am now back home in California.
GLB: Where do you find inspiration?
Katelin: Many places, and the specifics have changed over the years. In my early days of making jewelry, I was inspired by antique gold jewelry and architecture - especially buildings of worship. While I’ve never been religious, I was intrigued by people having such deep dedication to something that they would spend years, entire lifetimes even, building something in honor of that- in some cases never even living to see the end result. I was obsessed with the intricacies and craftsmanship - both in architecture and in antique gold jewelry.
After giving birth to my daughter, my perspectives, inspirations, and relationship to my work shifted. I began to loosen up on my perfectionism and obsession with intricate details. I stopped personally identifying with my work so strongly, which resulted in freeing up my creative process more and overthinking it less. I now place more priority on how the process feels, and how the end form feels, with an attempt to echo the new feelings I’m experiencing in life. I’ve since gone through further life changes, grieved the end of my marriage, and am learning how to coparent. I’m interested in how jewelry can in someway reflect stories of life cycles within lifetimes.
Ultimately, the through line of inspiration over the years is the human experience. Realizing that, I think it’s fitting that I landed in jewelry, being such intimate objects worn on the body.
The process itself inspires me as well. I love making things with my hands - which is in and of itself a very human experience.
GLB: How would you describe your jewelry in 3 words?
Katelin: Precise yet human
GLB: Why gold over other metals?
Katelin: The rich warm color. The malleability when working with it. The fact that it doesn’t tarnish, and yet it does change in subtly beautiful ways as it’s worn. It comes to life when it’s worn regularly.
GLB: What is your favorite piece? Why?
Katelin: I can’t pick one favorite overall. Right now my favorite is the custom commissioned engagement ring I finished last week. It’s not dramatically different from my other work, but has elements that are just enough new that I feel it marks a shift. I imagine the soon-to-be owner wearing it and the ring communicating, “I’m a strong badass. Don’t fuck with me. I’m also deeply romantic with a rich and soft heart.” It’s a feeling that is communicated with the simple form that is edgy and feminine.
GLB: Anything new you are working on that you’d like to talk about?
Katelin: I made a collection named Cycles that is dear to my heart. It is inspired by my experience becoming a mother, and the attempt to echo life cycles. As an expansion on the concept of a “push present,” I hope to honor the full spectrum of experiences around reproduction and parenthood. This includes the process of trying to conceive, loss of born or unborn children, adoption, IVF, abortion, step-parenting, and every experience in between and beyond. Whether for a loved one or the self, the pieces are meant to be gifted to mark these experiences. I donate 10% of the profits from the collection to Kindred Space LA, the only Black owned birthing center in Los Angeles, working to address systemic racism in Black reproductive healthcare, and making holistically supportive care accessible to more families.
GLB: Where can we purchase your jewelry?