Posted on August 22 2016
Kimberly has been a maker at OG for 4 years now. She’s one of our favorite people to work with because her products directly reflect where she is in life. We sat her down (again!) to tap into that authentic creativity that seems to come so naturally to her.
Who: Kimberly Huestis
What: Ceramic jewelry
Where: Boston, MA
When: Since August of 2012
What got you started in your trade?—why jewelry?
I got started making my own jewelry probably right around high school. I couldn’t find jewelry that I would wear that looked different and that I wouldn’t react to since nickel allergies weren’t as apparent back then… I always wanted something unique, or funky… something that no one else would be able to just buy easily. […] I wanted something that was unseen before. So, I obviously had to make it! Even after I graduated college, I still enjoyed seeking out the not-so-often seen fashions. […]
Your website says that you are dedicated to the “coastal lifestyle.” What does the “coastal lifestyle” mean to you and how does it tie in with the products that you make?
Ah yes! The coastal lifestyle… I love the sense of feeling connected to both land and water. The smell of crisp and salty adventure in the ocean or even a lakefront, ideally with mountains at your back (swoon)! I grew up in Vermont and our dad would frequently take my sisters and I down to the lake shore just to skip rocks on a lazy Sunday afternoon. […]
The Vermont coastal lake scene has always been my upbringing, framed by mountains. But, I have always been frightened and fascinated by the ocean and the beautiful and strong things that hide underneath its dark canvas of thick water.
I take inspiration from the coastal lifestyle and use that to influence my product designs. In many cases it may be a simple design nod in the general direction with nautical ideas or a hint at the ocean waves, etc. Rarely, I might make a very literal design, as with the uni necklace, created a few years back. It’s a classic design that holds fascination for so many of us and is a beautiful nature-made design. So much of nature and the urban environment can hold inspiration, and I believe that’s why makers and artists are so frequently influenced by the things we love and surround ourselves with. […]
You focus on the porcelain jewelry market—what drew you to porcelain as opposed to other materials for making your products?
Ceramic clay was this beautiful medium that I had always worked with (even before I began rock carving). I have loved the strength of porcelain as it is the strongest of all the ceramic bodies. […] The material choice for porcelain was easy, since I would never have an allergy reaction to clay, it was the perfect choice to create sculptural jewelry. I came from making hemp woven necklaces long-long ago and at some point, you just want to grow-up and have something lovely and special. That to me is porcelain because of it’s heirloom quality. It is a beautiful recipe of the earth and combines well with gold for classic, family heritage beauty to easily pass down to the next generation. It has been the original hard jewelry for man-kind starting with bones and rock; and when crushed and combined… you begin to create a ceramic body with varying minerals and clays.
What is one of your favorite pieces that you’ve made and why?
One of my favorite pieces that I have made is the Nautical Yoke Necklace because it was one of the very first designs I made that constantly got Porcelain and Stone recognized in the beginning. It was my show-piece that I intended to present as an education item to show off porcelains great strengths. Not many folks were yet aware that porcelain could be a jewelry item that could be worn outside of a museum gallery setting. I would wear it around town and more than a handful of times be yelled at by waitstaff, bartenders, or folks walking out of a local sandwich shop who just wanted to know what I was wearing. The porcelain jewelry market was basically non-existent in 2012 so that’s when I made it my goal to get it on the map. I wanted to change the perception and expectations that people had about ceramics being only good for beads and basic stringing (always beautiful, can’t knock it). But for me, it was about honoring the greatness of porcelain and how highly it has always been regarded for centuries as a collectible. It is part of my heritage. I wanted to bring a higher integrity to help redefine porcelain as the white gold of the mainstream jewelry world. What better way than to pair it with real 22k gold?
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the female-owned small business industry?
Enjoy the ride because it’s unpredictable… Keep your mind on goals you want to reach for your business, and map out milestones that might help you get there. Follow it, and you’ll land where you need to be….. Always be moving forward. When you get down, step sideways and do something creatively different from your specialty. Get outside of yourself and look at the world around you. Don’t stress too much, or if you must, celebrate in it and then move on to living and being a functioning part of awesome. Sketch out ideas and remember that just because you can make something doesn’t mean it’s a good design or worthy of your time. Making good decisions is a choice, and well… highly subjective.
Interview by: Hillary Bautch