We are continuing our artist interview series this month with a spotlight on Katrina LaPenne. One of our long-time favorite designers, Katrina has been with ESQUELETO from the very beginning. We sat down for an interview with Katrina and got all the latest updates on her creative life and newest designs!
Alexis: Hi Katrina! Tell us a bit about how you got your start in jewelry.
Katrina: I went to art school for college and found myself at loose ends and undecided for a major. I started out in illustration, but it just didn't feel right. I had always loved functionally oriented arts, like woodworking and welding, so thought I'd give jewelry a try. I took a class and ended up really loving it. I wanted to make jewelry all the time! I loved using a torch and hammering and sawing, as well as the detailed nature of the work. Jewelry making really just kind of clicked for me. I changed my major and spent the rest of my time there training in metalsmithing. After school I got a job as a goldsmith and a number of years later left that company to start my own business. I've been happily making jewelry ever since.
A: What does a typical day in the studio look like for you?
K: In the morning I sit down with a cup of coffee and organize my day. I return emails, figure out if any castings or supplies need to be ordered, determine what bench work has to be done, and decide if I have any time to work on new pieces. Once I have a clear idea of what needs to get done I sit down and do bench work. That could be finishing up castings, making a custom ring, setting stones or any number of other hands-on work. At the end of the day, I ship any orders that need to go out. Usually at some point towards the end of the week, when I've finished most of my benchwork, I'll go through accounting stuff and try to keep on top of all the bookkeeping (not my favorite job!) as well as any other housekeeping type work- taking photographs of new pieces or dealing with other aspects of the business side of things. And I'm always kind of sketching and working through new ideas, whenever I have a little bit of free time.
A: You are one of ESQUELETO's most popular wedding band designers. What does it mean to be a part of something so meaningful for couples?
K: I love creating wedding bands for couples. It's a pleasure to make something so important that people will treasure and maybe even pass down to future generations one day. I feel honored to be a part of such a special time in people's lives and privileged to be able to make something they will wear every day.
A: What does the idea of adornment mean to you?
K: Adornment, especially personal adornment, has been around forever. Everyone has the need to express themselves outwardly, whether that be through clothing, hairstyle, jewelry etc. The great thing about jewelry is that it is so versatile. It can be something simple and casual, something fancy and formal or something that is lasting and permanent like a wedding band. It's a great challenge and a pleasure to make jewelry that people feel expresses their own personal style and like enough to adorn themselves with.
A: What is on the horizon for you? Any upcoming new designs or projects you’d like to share?
K: I've just had my second child so I'm trying to figure out a good balance between my family life and my work life. I always have ideas and pieces that I'd like to make percolating in the back of my mind, it's just a question of finding the time to make them! Creating new work is really my favorite part of jewelry making so I'd love to expand on some of my current collections, adding some new ring variations and other pieces. I have sketches for a new collection, as well, that I'll (hopefully) be able to start working on soon!