I met Janis in 2009 in Philadelphia, on my second trade show just as I started my business. Me being a novice and she being a jeweler legend, she struck me as a strong, determined woman, very straight forward and an insanely talented jeweler. Fast forwarding to 2014 it’s a gorgeous sunny day in Montreal, Canada. And guess what, I’m visiting Janis Kerman Design studio.
Janis Kerman is a veteran in the jewelry world. When I say that she’s been there and done that I’m not kidding. She started Janis Kerman Design in 1977 and for 13 years she developed her brand creating limited edition collections and detailing for fashion accessories. As her business grew so did a desire to create unique pieces, using precious metals and gemstones with alternative materials. In 1988 Janis turned her focus to one of a kind jewelry pieces that are a beautiful mix between fine art and design and that in turn became staples at the best jewelry galleries around North America.
I was extremely lucky because I was able to see superb craftsmanship being created while visiting Janis studio. There is a huge attention to detail for each piece being created and a fluid dialogue across the team on the creation process. Janis is a master that creates wonderful juxtapositions between geometric shapes and organic forms, that result in beautiful pieces of jewelry. And she’s pretty laid-back about it, which is just as wonderful as seeing her pieces come to life.
As a woman ahead of her time and being “cool” before everybody else was doing it, Janis co-founded Bande des Quatres in 2011 with her daughter Erin Wahed. Each piece of this new boutique jewelry line is made to order and represents a rich history influenced by the Bauhaus masters, world renowned architects and abstract photographers. To summarize, it’s a really cool, avant-garde jewelry with a very modern vibe.
It was real treat and pleasure to visit Janis Kerman Design studio. It’s always wonderful to see a very talented jewelry designer that still has an enormous love for the art of jewelry making after so many years in business. The same essence that Janis uses to describe the philosophy of her work, totally applies to her jewelry life in general. As she put it: balance, not symmetry.
Janis Kerman Design
What’s your favorite spot in your studio?
“The view from my bench into the garden, except in the dead of the winter when all I can see is a huge snow pile.”
What attracts you to jewelry?
“I like how it adorns and enhances and is so personal. That I am asked to participate in that in each piece I design and make is a privilege.”
What makes you procrastinate at the bench?
“Paperwork takes up bench time.- I don’t want to procrastinate- It just happens."
What makes your studio unique?
“I work out of a coach house in my garden and it just feels like a gingerbread cottage – it feels magical.”
What’s your favorite tool:
“My visor – AKA “my eyes”. Couldn’t do anything without them anymore!”
What piece of jewelry do you always wear?
“My platinum 3mm round wire wedding band and two white gold huggies!”
What’s the best thing a client ever told you?
” I made an engagement ring for a young men to give to his future bride. He had not been treated well at the shops he had gone to and was referred to me. I walked him through the process with the only promise that I be the second call after their parents were called. When she said yes, he called me tearful and thanked me for being so kind, respectful and helpful. He said I made him feel like a million bucks!”
If you weren’t a Jewelry designer?
“I guess a designer of some kind – something artistic”
What do you love & hate doing at the bench?
” I love setting as long as it’s going well – I hate breaking stones!”
Pick 3 objects in your studio that make your space yours:
” 1) A sequined red slipper on my window ledge; 2) Gumby, Pokey and other plastic friends and 3) A needlepoint done by my former stringer – a good friend.”