The Story of a Jeweler: Kate Ellen

Kate Ellen is the 30 year-old self-taught goldsmith behind Kate Ellen Metals, named the San Francisco Best Jewelry Designer 2010 by 7×7 Magazine. Kate Ellen studied social work and public health and worked for years as an educator and case-manager, and was surprised to find her creative calling while taking a basic metalsmithing class; on the very first day she discovered that her hands just seemed to know what to do.

“I always felt like there was this creative part of me that hadn’t yet turned on. I spent lots of time daydreaming about being a singer, a painter, a dancer, but none of those things really came very natural to me. When I found jewelry design, I was instantly in a groove. I’m comfortable using tools, I enjoy the excitement and danger involved with wielding torches and hammers, and I found that once I got started, my hands couldn’t keep up with all the ideas I wanted to try out.”

Kate Ellen invested in a small studio space and equipment and set about creating a business that would support her new-found creative love. She began selling in boutiques, at juried craft shows, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art trunk show, and in late 2011 opened up her flagship boutique, Crown Nine, located in Old Oakland, California as a member of an innovative urban project called Popuphood.

Kate Ellen’s designs are simple and organic with a slightly industrial edge. She fabricates in mostly gold and silver, but also sometimes incorporates found objects like steel nails and brass. “I try to design things I want to wear–things that have enduring style and are well crafted. It is the best feeling when someone else sees my work and relates to it, wants to wear it too. It’s like finding a member of your own tribe.”

VIA: Kate Ellen Metals.

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