Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guest Post - Birch Bay Kay


I am tickled pink to be invited as a guest on your blog. I enjoyed reading and learning from the others that went before me. There are four great aspects of your blog/group that appeal to my imagination: 1. Love, 2. My, 3. Art, and 4. Jewelry.


I LOVE textures and contrasts, and have always been visually drawn to patterns, repetitions. It might be more evident in my photography, but it’s also obvious when I look back on my body of jewelry.


Friends have suggested I make jewelry that appeals to the mass market and can be easily reproduced. As practical and helpful as they were, I was aware they didn’t understand the whole jewelry business, or rather MY whole jewelry business. I have a short attention span, and so seldom reproduce jewelry I’ve made and sold. I want to make a living, but there are other rewards I relish in addition making a buck. I know what flips my skirt, and trust there are enough out there like me who will gravitate to my hand hewn metal jewelry. I feel best when I’m true to MY own aesthetic.

My love affair with ART started as a toddler in a creative, artsy-craftsy family and continues today after 6 decades of art in painting, printmaking, photography, and jewelry making.


I became involved with metal jewelry back when my 13-year-old younger son was having problems at school. He was good with his hands, and so I signed us up for a 10-week Adult Ed silversmith class. I figured the one-on-one time during the drive to and from the class would be beneficial for my son, and he might get a self-esteem boost because of his manual dexterity. Tutoring and counseling weren’t helping him, so why not try silversmithing where he could use tools and a torch?

Owen was by far the youngest in the class, and received a lot of attention from the other adults who took him under their wing. It was a win-win. He was valued by others, he made some things of which he was proud, I enjoyed our closeness, and I absolutely fell in love with working in silver.


Since then I’ve thoroughly enjoyed creating in sterling, copper, brass and steel, playing around with different shapes, surface treatments, and the marriages of different metals. I used to do a lot of hot joinery JEWELRY pieces, incorporating gorgeous stone cabochons, but currently I don’t have the space or proper ventilation to use a torch. I miss reticulating silver, fusing and manipulating hot metal. I hope to remedy this situation, but for right now everything is cold joinery, and the use of beautiful stone beads. I make more earrings than anything else, and typically they are a mismatched match.


I also create fiber-wrapped brooches and neckpieces. The tactile qualities are endless, but my heart goes primarily to my metal jewelry.

I’ve written about LOVE, MY, ART, JEWELRY, but there is one last personal experience I want to share before I end this. MAGIC!


I love, love, love the adventure of cutting out a metal shape, manipulating it, allowing my inner Picasso full expression. But, there is a potent magic that comes into play when a person, usually a woman, a stranger to me, is drawn to my finished piece, puts it on her body and that same piece, that I know as well as my own heartbeat, transforms!


Alchemy occurs wherein the jewelry absorbs the energy of the wearer and visa versa, and becomes something totally different! The worn piece is enhanced in a way above and beyond what I created. This is a major rush! I have to admit that this moment for me is always one of WOW. It truly parallels birthing a child, nurturing and caring for it, and then that awesome awareness of him or her taking flight without you.

My life as a jeweler is most satisfying, entertaining, and there’s always something new and challenging to be learned!

Thank you for your invitation to guest on your blog. I loved the opportunity!

I have three Etsy shops:
Birch Bay Kay (jewelry)
KWest Studio 8 (photography)
West As the Crow Flies (stones, beads, vintage, African, some findings)

I write two ongoing blogs:

And … Birch Bay Kay can be followed on Facebook

8 comments:

Izzy said...

Your jewelry is amazing. Thanks so much for visiting with us today!

Artisan Beads Plus said...

Wow! Not only are your pieces incredibly creative, but this post is too! I loved reading this. As a resource teacher in a middle school, I also was touched by what you did with your son. It sounds like it was a great experience for both of you and one that will always be there. My middle son loves creating and when he was creating beads for me and eventually jewelry, that bond was special. I found that our work together was natural. Thanks for such an interesting post!
MaryAnn

Julie Holmes said...

What a wonderful post! First of all, your jewelry is amazing. It has a soulful quality to it and feels personal and unique. Your love for it shines through as does your love for your son. When I started to feel I was losing my youngest in High School, I started playing World of Warcraft with him. What we won't do for our kids! Thanks so much for blogging for us today!

stacilouise said...

I love when an artist can take you on a journey with them, and you did in this post! thanks for writing for us. Your work is amaing as well.

when I began selling my jewlery, I made the very creative and different stuff for me, and sold what others wanted. I floundered. Not until I began to make and sell what was in my soul did my business start to grow. I think you have to be true to yourself, and that shows in your work when you are!!!!

Stacie Florer said...

Your work is most assuredly one of a kind, and I love way your eye for design works! Making something with one's hands is great therapy for a whole host of issues...using my hands led me to my heart. Great post and thank you for sharing with us your amazing jewelry and soul!

Gallery 13 - Lela Bouse-McCracken said...

Love all the wonderful lines in your pieces created with wire. So inventive and modern.

"I know what flips my skirt" Love that quote. :D

And I also love that you're true to your artistic inclinations instead of mass production. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I look forward to seeing more of your work.

-Lela
Gallery 13

Barbara said...

I LOVE. your style! It has a such a rustic and unexpected quality to it. It flows so nicely. Thanks for sharing your work!

mairedodd said...

thank you so much for sharing your wonderful work and this terrific article!

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