ARTIST INTERVIEW: Kathleen Whitaker
Kathleen was a ceramics in undergrad, so her jewelry is influenced by work in another medium that ranges from sculptural to functional, and adheres to similar minimalist aesthetics. She started her jewelry business in 2003, and went full time in 2008, making the current styles and collection. The collection is intentionally limited and the designs are evergreen (there are no seasonally-produced pieces or collections), with the aim of making them timeless, trendless and enduring. She works only in pure metals (solid 14K or sterling) and has begun to incorporate gemstones into new one-of-a-kind designs. Kathleen is one of the original 10 vendors to participate in the first, and every subsequent, Echo Park Craft Fair. We spoke to her about creativity and inspiration.
What is your background and how have your past experiences fed into your art?
I’ve had disparate career paths with whole chapters in financial services, public relations, museum administration, studio art and consulting in a variety of locales — New York City, New Orleans, London, Los Angeles. I’ve landed currently in a role that brings these experiences together. Owning and running your own business is a crucible for all you’ve learned.
Do you feel that your environment feeds into work and if so, what makes your work distinctively Californian?
I was born and raised in New York City but I’ve lived now in Los Angeles for 14 years. So the scales are getting to be more balanced in terms of time. Los Angeles afforded me a freedom to explore in unfettered, unburdened, unrushed conditions. And a migration to jewelry design evolved organically — in a way that maybe only Los Angeles could accommodate.
What are your top 3 studio essentials?
Camaraderie, organization, lattes.