Meet artist Katie Wood

As part of an emerging workshop series at the studio, we have invited Katie Wood, metalsmith, to offer her workshop on designing heirloom jewelry. You can learn more about the workshop and register on our website. Recently, Jai sat down with Katie to learn more about her and her work.



Jai: Tell us a little bit about yourself

Katie: Raised near Chicago, I was instilled with a spirit of curiosity from a young age, constantly encouraged by my family to explore and learn. My journey into the realm of art began with clay; a passion cultivated since childhood. In 2008, an exciting opportunity led my husband, our three children, and me to England. It was there that I embarked on a new artistic adventure, delving into the world of metalsmithing. Over four years, I honed my skills and let my creativity grow in metalsmithing. Now, settled in Greencastle with my husband and our standard poodle named Windsor, I find myself deeply rooted in both my personal and artistic endeavors. Alongside my artistic pursuits, I am also actively engaged in volunteer work within the Greencastle community, seeking to give back and make a positive impact wherever I can.

J: Working with heirloom pieces is not something everyone does. How were you drawn to this practice?

K: One day, while admiring the intricate design of a casserole dish, inspiration struck me. I envisioned those elegant patterns adorning a beautiful bracelet, transforming an unused item into a cherished piece of jewelry. The challenge was irresistible, and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to bring this vision to life. Simultaneously, my volunteer work at a local thrift store exposed me to a reality: the sight of cherished family heirlooms being donated instead of treasured saddened me. It stirred a desire within me to preserve not just the physical objects, but the memories and legacies they held. Driven by this passion, I set out to find a meaningful solution. I wanted to offer people a way to hold onto their family’s history in a tangible and wearable form. Whether it’s creating earrings, bracelets, bookmarks, or necklaces, my aim is to transform these sentimental treasures into pieces that can be cherished and worn, keeping memories alive and close to the heart.

J: It seems like there might be some intersections between your work and mine as a Grief Coach and Grief Educator. How do you encounter grief when you are working with someone who wants to create a piece from a special family artifact?

K: Often, I find myself listening to the heartfelt stories shared by individuals about their beloved family members. Some stories are filled with laughter, others steeped in history, and some tinged with sorrow. Yet a common thread emerges – the realization of the fleeting nature of memories and the profound need to preserve them before they fade away. However, the joy that fills the room when these individuals open the jewelry box and behold a stunning piece crafted from a cherished family treasure is immeasurable. In that moment, the initial grief is transformed into a beautiful celebration of love, connection, and remembrance.

J: Talk a little about this workshop. I don’t consider myself artistic and so I can’t imagine creating anything beautiful. How will I be a part of the creative process?

K: We will embark on this journey together to find the beauty within your treasured possessions. During our time together, we’ll explore the intricate surface designs of your heirloom, seeking out elements that speak to you on a personal level. Whether it’s a particular section that catches your eye or a specific motif that resonates with your style, our goal is to identify the essence of what makes your heirloom special to you. As we delve into the design process, we’ll talk about your preferences and vision for transforming your heirloom into a timeless piece of modern jewelry. Whether you envision a delicate necklace, a statement bracelet, or a pair of elegant earrings, your input will guide the creation of your unique heirloom jewelry. Following our workshop, I’ll return to my studio to bring your vision to life, crafting a one-of-a-kind piece that reflects the beauty and sentiment of your family heirloom. Please note that the pricing for the finished jewelry starts at $50, and the final cost will depend on the complexity of the design and materials used. It’s important to understand that in the process of creating your jewelry, I’ll need to deconstruct the heirloom piece. While it won’t be returned in its original form, any unused pieces can be returned to you, if desired.

J: Anything else you would like to share?

K: Thank you for entrusting me with the privilege of transforming your cherished heirloom into a modern heirloom that will be cherished for generations to come.

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