On Monday I introduced you to jewelry artist Kerin Rose, who turned my old, unworn jewelry into fabulous new pieces I love. I asked Kerin to share the story of her path from working as a classically trained jeweler to the environmental awareness that shapes her work today. Here’s Kerin’s story.
On Authenticity…My journey
It’s been a bit of a journey to the work I am doing now. A bunch of things converged to bring me to this place. Once upon a time, I was a classically trained metalsmith. I had been taught how to make jewelry by a nationally known enamellist-jeweler and, as a teenager, worked as her apprentice after school every day. Let’s just say, I was “on a path!” I made jewelry as I was taught to, never thinking twice about my materials and where they came from.
I got older and I started thinking a lot about bigger ideas in life, like many of us….you know, where am I going, why am I here? (yeah, I am pretty crunchy! :). I wanted to make an impact with my art, but I became aware that what I was doing was not aligned with other values I had grown into…things like thinking about the environment, not being such a consumer, compassionate living, veganism. It became more and more difficult for me to rationalize where the raw materials for my art form were coming from.
Mining, in all its forms, is detrimental. I could talk for days about that alone, but suffice it to say that digging holes in the earth to procure stones or metal creates environmental unbalance, pollutes waterways, and promotes human suffering in some parts of the world. I read somewhere that if we never pulled another bit of precious metal out of the ground we would have enough to last 125 years! Some mining is “necessary,” I suppose, in our industrialized society, but personal embellishment definitely isn’t, and I wanted no part of it. I put down my tools for almost a decade. I loved making jewelry, but in my heart, I simply could not justify a way to feel good about it.
Flash forward…a move to Vermont, a place that is deeply agricultural. People’s connection to the land is palpable here, as so many rely on it for their livelihoods. And the rest of us here take our stewardship pretty seriously! I grow a lot of my own food. And my sister is a beekeeper. Her “golden girls” produce delicious honey and also make wax. I began to play around with it and….corny as it sounds, the rest is history!
So I found myself making jewelry again, this time its on my own terms. I carve wax from the bees, recycle metals (I love that this is now so much more commonplace) and make work that is , for the most part, absent of stones. I am making the work that feels authentically mine, and I am loving it!
Getting to this place was a process, a journey, an evolution. I had to get to know myself better and choose to move through the world in alignment with that knowledge as best I could…and here is the biggie…without apologies. My journey is not unique. I believe that this is the journey of being an artist…working to distill things down to what is uniquely “you.”
When we create on my own terms, I think it’s the work that speaks the loudest. My jewelry is not for everybody, and I don’t need it to be. I know that what I make now is more deeply felt, and that is what matters.
Authenticity is speaking the truth of your heart, without all the “shoulds” or paying attention to what others are doing. It’s playing by your own rules. It’s communicating from your heart-space, soul-space and intellectual truth. And trusting that what you have to say, will turn into a conversation.
You can find out more about working with metal in Thomas Mann’s book, Metal Artist’s Workbench.
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