ARTIST INTERVIEW: Kate Jones of Ursa Major


Ursa Major jewelry was started in NYC by designer, Kate Jones, in 2009.  Currently based in San Francisco, all jewelry is handmade in house using the most careful eye and finest materials. We spoke with Kate about California and creativity. 


What is your background and how have your past experiences fed into your art?
As a kid, my family took off and lived on our sailboat, Ursa Major, for 18 months, island hopping our way through the Caribbean.  Hitting something like 35 islands.  Total freedom: an 8 year old dancing with the locals, entertained by sailors stories, enamored by the water and given proof every day that you could follow whatever dream you had, however hair brained anyone else might think it.  We spent years after that on and off of the boat, and always living on the coast and I think the peace I found from all that time on the water, combined with the barefoot, curious, dreaming boat girl follows me to this day.  I know it does.  It keeps me still when the industry seems too busy, confident to follow the less conventional paths, and clear headed that no matter what, I do this because I love it.


Do you feel that your environment feeds into work and if so, what makes your work distinctively Californian? 
I’ve been an East Coaster for most of my adult life and relocated to CA a few years ago.  It felt like a long time coming- something about the ease that resonated with my Caribbean childhood.  I think California gives me the space to create more freely, but I don’t think my work is distinctly California…what interests me is creating pieces that are specific but obtuse at the same time.  I love that the pieces are different things to different people.  I want them to travel well and carry their own no matter where.  The work will always be the sum of its parts, which, thanks to my traveling parents is already a great many things. But I don’t know that my work is distinctly Californian.  I’m not sure I can claim that yet!


What are your top 3 studio essentials? 
Just 3?  Hmm… Chocolate. Good lighting (clear but enticing enough to make a 1am work night feel cozy). And a comfortable space….I spend a lot of time there.


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