Monday, May 4, 2009

Featured Artist: Karen’s Kitsch

In this week's spotlight is Karen of Karen’s Kitsch. Karen is based in the Raleigh/Durham area of NC and has been a seller on Etsy since November 2007. She also has a website she started April of 2005.

How did you choose your shop name?

Well my name is Karen and kitsch sort of means chintzy, fun, funky, campy art or collectibles, so it seemed to fit my whimsical style. Plus the great alliteration which makes the name easily memorable doesn’t hurt either!

What is your specialty and what drew you to it?

Jewelry is my current specialty and what drew me was a pair of earrings I saw in a little boutique in New Orleans, November of ‘04. I loved them and bought them for my brother’s girlfriend for the holidays. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for me) they only had the one pair. I loved them and wanted more. I was a studio art minor at Skidmore College in ‘95 so I though “I could do that.” And, well…eventually…I did!

Vintage Image Earrings with Pearls

Custom Photo Charm Mother's Bracelet - Single Strand

What inspired the “birth” of this item?

I started off making earrings with vintage French postcards, and still do, which was what inspired me originally. But then all of my friends were having babies and my aunt sent me a mother’s bracelet when my second son was born. I immediately thought, “I should add a charm to this with a picture of my kids. Wait…I could totally make these, WITH charms of my friends’ kids!” They started off just as a new baby gift for my friends, but they were hugely popular so I added them to my shop.

Does this item have any personal significance to you?

Most of the jewelry you see on my sites I made for me or for a friend. So all of the photos are of my kids or my friends’ kids and I think that is pretty cool.

What is your favorite part of the process of creating your item?

Cropping the photos just right. I love to see the pictures people choose. Once, for cufflinks a bride-to-be was having made for her fiancé’s groom gift, she sent me photos of the wheel and the headlight of his jeep. He was totally a jeep guy. I cropped them for round cufflinks to just fit into the silver bezel. They came out so great!

Custom Sterling Silver Cufflinks

Please briefly describe a workday in your “studio” and how you created this item.

I recently started working at a full time job outside of my home so a workday these days is a rushed 15 minutes here and there whenever I can. Okay let’s be honest, it’s hours into the night after my kids are asleep when I should be asleep. But I love it, and I forget the time and everything else while I’m working. It’s like when I was in College and I’d go into the studio at 4 in the afternoon, then I’d look up and it would be 3 in the morning and I had no idea how that happened. I’ve always loved getting lost in a project. The thing I love most about what I do now, is that every piece is special and unique to the person who ordered it or who will be receiving it. This way, working never gets rote or boring.

Visit Karen's shop to see more great items!


Cathy said...

Great feature! Love Karen's jewelry. Some great gift ideas in her shop!

aprilsoriginals said...

Karens work is just so great! I am so glad to see her featured, she has some awesome Mothers Day gift ideas!

elise said...

I like to get lost in my work as well. Great feature.

Newfangled said...

Great article, Beth. I love the personal aspect of Karen's art.