About Jewelry Artist
After a voice told artist Karen Smith she’d go to Senegal, she went. Apprenticing there with a master goldsmith, she was watched constantly but silently by a young girl. “She thinks you’re a ghost,” someone finally told Karen. “She’s never seen a woman do what you’re doing.” In response, in 2019 Karen launched We Wield the Hammer in Oakland, CA, determined to empower young women of African descent to wield all the tools and equipment in a good jewelry studio, and launch their own businesses, too. Join Karen and host Katie Hacker as they discuss the progress Karen has made on her startup in this especially tumultuous year, and the hurdles she still faces.
Each year in January and February, people gather in Tucson, Arizona to buy and sell beads, gems, and other treasures from around the world. There are over 40 shows in different venues across the city, all with their own flavor. To me, the experience feels like part shopping adventure, learning experience, and family reunion. While I was in Tucson, I caught up with Lenka Bindzar, the owner of Raven's Journey, who has been traveling to Tucson to sell Czech glass beads for the past two decades. Show Notes can be found here: https://www.interweave.com/jewelry-artist-podcast/treasures-in-tucson-lenka-bindzar/
Known for his stunning jewelry designs featuring rough diamonds, innovative artisan jeweler Todd Reed has been redefining luxury and championing ethical sourcing throughout his career. Turning the notion of fine jewelry on its head, he is drawn to these uncut, unpolished diamond crystals for the quirkiness of their personalities. From the perfect simplicity of a single cube to a busy crystal cluster bristling with different shapes, he finds raw diamonds fascinating and provocative. He also loves the challenge of creating custom settings for stones just as they come out of the ground. Listen in with host Katie Hacker and learn to look beyond cut, color, clarity and carat weight to the character of a diamond in its natural state. Learn more here: https://www.interweave.com/jewelry-artist-podcast/todd-reed-diamond-jewelry/
Tracy Matthews is a jewelry designer, entrepreneur, and Chief Visionary Officer of Flourish & Thrive Academy. She's also the host of the top-rated Thrive By Design Podcast. Tracy's new book, The Desired Brand Effect, is packed with strategies, steps, real-life stories, and resources to help you build your jewelry business – or any business. In this episode, Tracy shares suggestions for visionary leadership, alternative business plans, and more. Learn more here: https://www.interweave.com/jewelry-artist-podcast/tune-up-jewelry-business-tracy-matthews/
Jean Gribbon founded and directs Beads of Courage, Inc., an innovative arts-in-medicine nonprofit that supports children coping with serious illness, as well as their families and health care providers. Members receive colorful glass beads during the course of their treatment, which provides a connection between the child, clinician, and caring community. In this episode, we talk about the intersection between art and science – and why experiencing art and making things is good for us. Learn more: https://www.interweave.com/jewelry-artist-podcast/jean-gribbon-science-art/
Robin Kramer has the industry experience and unique ability to look at an artist’s work and recommend practical steps they can take to improve their business. She started Red Boot Consulting in 2010 and co-founded Flourish & Thrive Academy for jewelry designers in 2012. In this episode, Robin and host Katie Hacker talk about mentoring and being mentored, along with tips for growing your business. Learn more about Robin: https://www.interweave.com/jewelry-artist-podcast/jewelry-artist-robin-kramer/
The first time I met Susan Lenart was in a cold connections workshop at an art retreat. Her class blew my mind – she taught us to infuse found objects, wire, hand tools, and other jewelry-making bits and pieces with kinetic energy - but to attend to them with intense focus and skill. It was like a journey we all went on together, with Susan as our guide. In addition to being an accomplished artist and jeweler, Susan is also an author, instructor, and expert at product development. In this episode, Susan and I talk about her metalsmithing lifestyle and how listening to her artistic voice is the key to her success.
Anie Piliguian grew up at the jeweler’s bench, learning a can-do attitude and meticulous skills from her father. She credits him for teaching her not to fear anything at the bench. Since inventing the JOOLTOOL, her focus has been on teaching jewelers everything she knows so they can make jewelry successfully. As a lifelong maker, she continues to improve her own work and finds that she frequently learns as much from her students and she hopes they’re learning from her. Listen in for a peek a behind the scenes of Anie’s business and hear how she approaches life with bravery and gratitude. Plus, learn about Anie’s early experience with making jewelry for a rock star.
Moving parts intrigue Kieu Pham Gray, she tells host Katie Hacker. Kieu loves figuring out how to make things happen, from engineering kinetic jewelry that’s meant to be played with to pivoting her business model. Leaving the corporate world behind nearly 20 years ago because she “didn’t fit the mold,” Kieu has been an active jewelry entrepreneur ever since. She’s a jewelry artist, teacher, retail supplier, and event promoter. When Covid shut down her in-person teaching, she was online with a couple of casual classes in two weeks. Today her Virtually Ever Crafting is its own business line. Learn her approach for keeping balance in her busy life — and discover which unlikely profession she does think about returning to for just a moment from time to time. See Kieu's work, jewelry tools she developed, and learn more about her here: https://www.interweave.com/jewelry-artist-podcast/kieu-pham-gray-6-jewelry-tools/
“Hi, I’m the jewelry designer for The Guiding Light,” a struggling jewelry artist named Jill MacKay once announced in the luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman. As she tells long-time friend and host Katie Hacker, early on Jill had decided TV would be a good way to get exposure for her brand, and it was. Now an award-winning craft industry figure, Jill has devoted equal effort to jewelry and helping others, developing creative programs for those in grief, and giving back through public art. Listen in and learn her secret to letting creativity in so she can send it back out as art, make a living, and stay sane.
“You’re shy — so are they,” says polymer clay artist Christi Friesen about making a career of your art, acknowledging how hard it can be to put yourself out there. As she tells Jewelry Artist podcast host Katie Hacker, “We’re always selling ourselves: a piece of our heart, our hand, our brain.” But it’s important to do it and connect with people any way you can, Christi advises. Drawn to her medium first for its super range of colors, she also considers its easy workability and low cost an invitation to play. “You’re not trying to make a masterpiece every day,” she reminds us. Assume you’re going to smash what you make some days, have fun, and learn to be yourself. Find out how Christi has built a Creative Circle that inspires her and sustains her business. Learn more and see Christi's work on our blog: https://www.interweave.com/jewelry-artist-podcast/christi-friesen/
Join host Katie Hacker for an inspiring conversation with Beadwork magazine’s featured Bead Artist Melissa Grakowsky-Shippee. Melissa is known for her elaborate masks and intricate yet ethereal beadwork. An award-winning designer, Melissa has written books, taught internationally, and was a 2017 Beadwork Designer of the Year. Melissa draws in beaders with her methodical approach to artistic designs. We’ll talk about Melissa’s art, business, and creative life.
Why not try it? When Kathy Cano-Murillo thinks up a new craft twist, she jumps in — especially if she hears it’ll never work. Usually she succeeds, carried along by her own glittering cascade of exuberant experimentation. Listen to host Katie Hacker’s lively conversation with the woman known professionally as The Crafty Chica, dedicated to creating, teaching, and sharing all things craft. Join them in a nonstop audio party about making and selling jewelry and other decorative objects in resin, ceramic, fabric, and beyond. As you get to know her a bit, you’ll learn some of Kathy’s favorite tips on design, technique, and running a thriving business. Her enthusiasm is infectious, her advice wise, and her celebratory approach to doing what she loves is so easy to take to heart. Learn more here: https://www.interweave.com/jewelry-artist-podcast/kathy-cano-murillo-craftychica/
“I should have been a business major!” Kate Richbourg was recently out of college and facing the classic artist’s dilemma. As she tells host Katie Hacker, Kate realized she needed a way of pursuing what she loved without living so close to the economic edge. Trying new things, she discovered that jewelry brought out her creativity best. Today Kate is well known in the bead and metal communities for both her inspiring lessons and designs. Her instructor persona is driven to explore the newest technologies for teaching, while the artist is more laid back, taking pleasure in vintage styles and Old World craftsmanship. Listen in as she shares her lively story of self discovery — plus her best tip for making project writing easier. Learn more here: https://www.interweave.com/jewelry-artist-podcast/jewelry-artist-kate-richbourg/
We originally released this episode in August 2020, but the topic is more relevant than ever. Katie Hacker speaks with Carrie Cleveland, Education and Outreach Manager for the Craft Emergency Relief Fund. The artist’s safety net for over 35 years, CERF+ launched its special Covid-19 response earlier last summer with one-time $1,000 grants for urgent needs. Find out more about its Covid program, its longstanding emergency relief, and its more recent focus on preparedness. Learn how CERF+ can help you now and help you manage better in the future – and how it’s probably easier than you think! Learn more: https://www.interweave.com/jewelry-artist-podcast/cerf-covid19-relief-artists/
Known for his stunning jewelry designs featuring rough diamonds, innovative artisan jeweler Todd Reed has been redefining luxury and championing ethical sourcing throughout his career. Turning the notion of fine jewelry on its head, he is drawn to these uncut, unpolished diamond crystals for the quirkiness of their personalities. From the perfect simplicity of a single cube to a busy crystal cluster bristling with different shapes, he finds raw diamonds fascinating and provocative. He also loves the challenge of creating custom settings for stones just as they come out of the ground. Listen in with host Katie Hacker and learn to look beyond cut, color, clarity and carat weight to the character of a diamond in its natural state.
Seeing nature’s treasures in their natural environments, never before seen by another human, is an amazing privilege, crystal and fossil hunter John Cornish relates. It can also be a little oasis of calm and refreshment anyone can enjoy or remember when life’s craziness gets to be too much. Join host Katie Hacker for this upbeat and down-to-earth exploration of the mineral kingdom with this consummate collector. Hear how John’s passion for rocks has grown into his life’s work and a passion for sharing his own excitement, wonder, and knowledge with others. Go outside and look, he urges: you never know what could be right under your feet. See more in our show notes: https://www.interweave.com/jewelry-artist-podcast/john-cornish/
Prized for its blues, greens, and ever-varying patterns of distinctive matrix, turquoise is among the most popular of gemstones and has been for thousands of years. Think turquoise today, and Native American jewelry comes quickly to mind — and vice versa. Join host Katie Hacker for an exploration into these iconic treasures of the American Southwest with veteran fan and trader Pete Leyba. Pete has spent a lifetime in and around New Mexico in the jewelry business, soaking up knowledge of it all along the way. Listen in for tales of turquoise mining, trading, and jewelry making past and present, and learn what influences the market over time.
Sarah Cathcart hand fashions elaborate and arresting leather masks one at a time, an art that grew out of her experience as a theatrical costume designer. But, she tells host Katie Hacker, “Masks are so niche — or were until 2020,” she adds wryly. “Sort of face jewelry, but not something you’d wear too much.” So she drew upon her favorite medium and “hodgepodge magpie collection of skills” to produce handmade jewelry you’d wear more often, too. Hear what inspires this self-proclaimed “Renaissance Faire nerd” to create her extravagantly hand-tooled and hand-painted leather wear. And find out why she describes leather as a medium somewhere between fabric and metal that can also get a tan.
It’s the challenge of making that interests Robert Lopez and drives him toward ever bigger and bolder jewelry designs. He thrives on figuring out the engineering of complex pieces, and sometimes develops his own tools to meet his particular needs. That’s today, but while teaching himself metalsmithing he used whatever was at hand: a construction hammer or a plumber’s torch, learning to make what he wanted however he could. Although he’s since discovered purpose-made jewelry tools (“a whole new world!”), his early need to learn on his own still serves him well. Listen in with host Katie Hacker as he describes his surprising journey into artisan jewelry that’s as distinctive as any you’re ever apt to see.