Katherine couldn’t be sweeter. When I emailed her for a studio visit she said yes right away and told me she was moving her studio the weekend prior to my visit. If you have a jewelry studio you know how tough it is to move your tools and materials around. If you don’t, just keep your imagination running: it is a lot of work. And usually you don’t want somebody to come snoop around your space while you’re still settling in. Not Katherine, from Rosedale Jewelry. She was more than accommodating and actually changed her plans to go to downtown to the jewelry center to meet me (she sent her boyfriend instead, and there’s more on that story below).
Katherine Kramer is the hands and mind behind Rosedale Jewelry. During an internship in college she worked in a company where she learned how to do jewelry. She started taking wax carving classes and casting her own pieces. Some years later she started an apprenticeship with two jewelry designers that laid the foundation for Rosedale jewelry and for her perfectionism. Katherine is originally from Austin, TX and Rosedale is actually the name of the neighborhood she grew up in. And it’s a very adequate name as well cause everything in Kate’s studio, including the herself and the jewelry feels fresh, beautiful and ethereal just like her brand name.
When I get to Katherine’s studio I’m surprised to find no card box in sight. Everything is perfectly organized and arranged and it feels like she has been working there for quite some time now (ok, the bench was really clean but she cleans it very often). I love the quietness and cleanness of it. There is an inviting chaise long that gives the space a special charm. I’m smitten by Kate’s bench which is big. It’s wide, with lots of organizing drawers and sturdy. We laugh at the story of her new Smith torch that she just got. She loves it now but tells me how she melted some pieces until she found the right tip for her type of work.
I love Katherine’s jewelry. It’s simple, modern and ethereal. The geometrical lines paired with the gorgeous diamonds (the faceted ones, not the rose cut ones that are in fashion now) makes it the perfect piece of jewelry to be passed from generation to generation, in other words, the perfect modern heirloom. Katherine’s is clearly giddy as her boyfriend arrives with the pieces he picked up from the jewelry district. She can hardly wait to see how they turned out and is definitely visible that she wants to sit down at the bench and finish them up.
(The funny story is that the majority of jewelry designers that goes to the downtown jewelry center in LA never knows the number of the buildings where their suppliers are. They do it by heart and remember it on the spot. When you try to give somebody directions it just gets a little bit more complicated…just ask Katherine’s boyfriend J ).
As I’m shooting the studio Kate’s cat Simon is nowhere to be seen. On the other hand, Max, her boyfriends’ cat steals the show away. So if you see a lot of photos of Katherine and Max, blame Max cuteness. Eventually Simon dropped by the studio to smell me but I was of no interest to him, so he just left (and didn’t let me photograph him).
As I’m shooting Kate’s jewelry she tells me how much work a first collection is and how it feels like there are not a lot of pieces. It’s funny because even though there are a considerable amount of different pieces made in gold and set with diamonds, jewelers have this feeling. It’s not how much you do, but the quality of the pieces and the attention to detail. And Rosedale’s jewelry is fabricated by a very talented goldsmith, very hands on and a terrible hard self critic (She’ll kill me, but she’s a perfectionist!).
I look forward to see the new pieces that Katherine is creating. She’s starting to do shows and I wish her all the luck (tradeshows are definitely not easy). I want to thank her for her availability and kindness in receiving me right after moving her studio and for letting me shoot around (and play with Max). Go and check her beautiful jewelry out!
What’s the first thing you do when you get to the studio?
“Tidy my bench! Which is ridiculous because it looks like a bomb went off within 30 minutes of me starting to work.”
What do you like most about your space?
“I moved into my new studio less than a week ago so I’m still getting used to everything but I absolutely love the big windows and having so much light. Plus the trees surrounding the balcony make me feel like I’m on a tree house which is amazing!”
Pick 3 objects in your studio that make it yours:
“My chaise lounge for relaxing when I need time to think, my ostrich photo from an amazing safari trip in Sonoma that my best friend and I took, and my new torch which I’m obsessed with (now that I’ve gotten used to it).”
What’s your favorite spot in the studio?
“Definitely at the bench!”
What do you love & hate doing at the bench?
“I love working on new designs and absolutely hate cleaning castings. During my apprenticeship I spent countless hours cleaning castings for handmade chains they made so now it’s my least favorite thing to do.”
What makes you procrastinate?
“When I feel like I can’t do something as perfectly as I want. It gives me anxiety and then I start to procrastinate. As a perfectionist it can be a hard battle! Sometimes I just have to talk to myself and tell myself that I can do this, you know how to do this and it’s going to be perfect!”
Any pets in the space?
“My lovely cat Simon and my boyfriend’s cat, Max, they just met for the first time last Sunday but they became fast friends and currently enjoy play fighting in my studio while I’m trying to work.”
What piece of jewelry do you always wear?
“I’m always switching it up! I’ll wear certain pieces for weeks on end and then change. Usually two of my necklaces layered together, or my grandmother’s Marco Bicego necklace. And some combination of rings! I can’t help but wear my kite diamond rings they are just so beautiful!”
Currently obsessed with which metal/gemstone?
“I recently made my first few 18k pieces and oh my goodness do I love 18k so much more than 14k, the longer I make jewelry the more expensive the things I want to make become! I’m still completely obsessed with kite diamonds as well, and I’m currently crushing over these teardrop tourmalines I bought.”
Piece of jewelry you’re most proud of?
“Definitely all of the kite diamond pieces. When I began designing them I wasn’t quite sure how to make them work, it was so different from what I had done before, but seeing the final product I am so proud of them. Sometimes I put them on and just stare at how they sparkle, they are just fantastic!”
What’s your dream jewelry piece? (if there were no time and budget restrictions?)
“Ooh that is hard, there are so many things I want to make! There’s a fantastic cuff bracelet that I have been wanting to make that is pave’d to the nines, but I keep holding off because I don’t usually do a ton of pave and it’s a bit different than my norm.”
Worst piece of jewelry you had to design/create?
“Hmmm, one of the first rings I made and cast turned out terribly. The design of it was great and I am planning to remake it, but my skill level at the time was not what it is now and the band of the ring was horrible! Not straight at all, an obscene amount of porosity, it was just terribly made, I can’t wait to redo it correctly!”
The funniest thing a client ever told you?
“I have no idea! Probably just when a client wants to pay for something on two different cards to hide it from her husband, that always makes me laugh but I completely understand it! Men just don’t understand sometimes!”
What’s your favorite tool?
“That depends on the task! For wax carving my kerr tool is my absolute favorite, I use it for everything and I don’t know what I ever did without it! For metal work probably my foredom flex shaft, I never do a high polish on my pieces, I love a beautiful brushed finish so I am constantly using different satin finish wheels to create my desired effect.”
If you weren’t a jeweler/jewelry designer?
“That is hard because there is nothing else I would want to do as a career! Maybe a writer or a graphic designer, it would definitely be something else creative.”