When you enter Martha Keith’s studio you are struck by the high ceilings and large windows that let the sunlight flood the space. Her studio is part of an industrial complex that accommodates many other businesses, but her space feels like a world apart, as you can feel Martha’s serenity and warmth in her space.
It is a pleasure to find out how well equipped Martha’s studio is. This smiling jeweler in front of me knows particularly well how to make metal bend, react and move the way she precisely wants it to. Martha started as a metalsmith in 1993, switched to blacksmith for some time (yes, blacksmith!) and came back to goldsmithing when she created her own jewelry business: Martha Keith: personal adornment in metals. Every part of the creation process is made in her studio in Charlottesville (casting included). I was already pretty convinced that she knew her metals well, but on top of one of the bookcases lays the MJSA Vision Award that she won in 2008 in the category of reactive metals. And if you are a jeweler, you know how hard it is to win one of those.
Her space has an industrial vibe but is very organized and neat. On top of a tall table where she sits with clients, you can see a sketch book opened with some drawings for a commission that she’s working on. On top of one of the benches, some work in progress awaits its turn: some rings, a cuff and a chain. A lot of files, hammers and burs fill the rest of the space, as well as smart, funny notes sticked to the bench and walls.
Martha started by creating limited edition collections (which she still does) but nowadays she’s working mainly on bespoke pieces. A lot of photos of these one of a kind pieces are on display at the inspiration board that partially covers the walls of her studio, which makes it easy for her client to see her range of work.
I wanted to see the necklace that won the MJSA award, but she sold the necklace (read Martha’s answers to the questionnaire for the full story). Visiting Martha’s studio space was a pleasure as she is always ready for a good laugh, as you can guess from the photos. I want to thank her for being so generous on sharing her studio space with us. And I also want to thank her for having the guts to be the first “official” visit on the site, which is not easy – Thank you Martha!
So go ahead, get to know Martha’s space and go inside her studio, see what inspires her and what makes her space unique.
Martha Keith: personal adornment in metals