Today I am so excited to introduce you all to a local jewelry designer, Kate Furman. She designs some incredible pieces of jewelry and I instantly fell in love with her pieces once I saw them. She is very talented in her craft and I thought you all would love her pieces just as much as I do.
I recently met with Kate and played with her jewelry, which is all fabulous. I have prepared an interview with her to share with you all and please check out her website! Trust me, you won’t be let down by what you see. Also, please stay tuned for a blog post featuring some of her pieces.
1) Tell the readers a little about yourself, including what you do and
how you got there.
I am an art jeweler. I design and make conceptual, wearable art, as
well as fashion and fine jewelry. I began making jewelry at
Greenville’s Fine Arts Center in high school. Then, I received my
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jewelry and Metalworking from the University
of Georgia. Finally, I received my Master of Fine Arts in Jewelry +
Metalsmithing from Rhode Island School of Design. I have worked for
established jewelers in New York City, Georgia and South Carolina and
take continuing education classes through New Approach School for
Jewelers and Fashion Institute of Technology. I have taught jewelry
and art classes in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Providence, Rhode Island.
Currently, I teach jewelry and am a studio artist at Greenville Center
for Creative Arts here in Greenville, South Carolina. In the near
future, I am opening a permanent production studio in the Village of
West Greenville and am participating in Artisphere 2016 as one of the
two “Emerging Festival Artist Winners.” Stay tuned as those ventures
2) Describe your design style. What makes it unique compared to others
in the world of jewelry?
My designs are rooted in my background as a conceptual artist and a
craftsman. I was taught to think outside of the box, to give my
creations content and to let my experiences come through. Expressing
myself is initially more important than making a piece wearable.
Wearability is reexamined for a unique flare. My jewelry is influenced
by my love of nature and experiences as a whitewater raft guide.
Strong lines and my appreciation for drawing are also very evident. I
like designs that are sophisticated, often minimal and unique. Being
aware of other artists working similarly to myself is important in
order to continue creating definition in my work versus theirs. I am
constantly experimenting, making and thinking through my process to be
sure I have my own voice in the heavily saturated world of jewelry.
3) What kind of person wears your design style?
I have several jewelry lines, which cater to slightly different
audiences. My large wooden pieces are worn by edgy, bold, confident
and forward-thinking women. This line is fashionable and appreciated
for its content. I primarily sell these to art collectors through
Charon Kransen Arts in New York City. My fashion line is more
everyday and accessible. Sophisticated, bohemian women often wear
them, as well as the woman who is nostalgic for summer shell
collecting and who appreciates simple moments in nature and the
natural, simple beauty of themselves.
4) Who in the industry do you consider your inspiration?
Lola Brooks, my former RISD professor, is one of my all time
favorites. She makes both conceptually driven, well crafted, wearable
art but also alternative fine jewelry. It is hard to find balance
between making art and making a living, and she does it.
5) When you see someone wearing your pieces, what is your initial reaction?
I am honored every time I see someone wearing my jewelry because that
means they like it enough to put it on their body and to let it help
define them in their community. Out of all of the jewelry they own
and buy, I see that they want to wear something I made. Jewelry is so
personal. While working in jewelry stores, I have often seen people
brought to tears while talking about what a piece of jewelry means to
them. To create something that can potentially mean that much to
someone is an amazing task and something to strive for everyday in my
6) What is your favorite piece that you have created?
I love my brooch named “Reconciled.” It was part of my thesis body of
work in graduate school. I remember where I found the branch that
made it and every step in the process. I made that brooch in a
pivotal moment in my career. It is simple, comfortable, bold, and in
my eyes, perfect. As far as my fashion and fine jewelry, I really like
my twig wrapping rings and bracelets. They are linear and can relate
to anyone who has picked up and kept a piece of the forest just
because they thought it was beautiful. There are no jewelry mechanisms
to distract you. They are just cast metal twigs that form around you
and allow you to take that moment in nature with you.
7) What are the trends that you are seeing in jewelry design/production?
CAD 3-D renderings and prints are very important in much jewelry
production today. I am experimenting with it in several of my new
designs, including my flower rings and earrings in colored plastics
and steel. I don’t see it ever taking over my process though. I
prefer the imperfections of handmade jewelry. I like the occasional
melted corner, file scratch or other evidence of the person who made
8) Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to pursue jewelry
design as a career?
You have to love it in order to be able to work hard enough to make it
happen and become successful. In that way, you are successful in your
happiness of doing what you love and in the ability to make things
that others will love just as much as you do.