Kayla: Hi Kimberlin! Welcome to the ESQUELETO family. We're so excited to showcase a collection of your work. For those who don't know much about you as a designer yet, can you talk a little bit about how you got into jewelry design and making?
Kimberlin Brown: So happy to be a part of the family! As long as I can remember I have always loved art and creating. As a young girl I had a big imagination, I still do! I was either drawing, making up stories or scavenger hunting bits of nature along the seashore and woods in Connecticut where I grew up. When I reflect back I understand this was all the beginning for my work now: creating stories with natural elements and imagination.
I earned a BFA in fine arts from The Maryland Institute College of Art and The Chicago Art Institute with a focus on sculpture and film. My college roommates (who I am still dear friend with now) studied abroad for a semester in Florence where they took a jewelry course, upon their return we set up a studio in our basement and I was hooked. I applied all the techniques of larger sculpture but on a smaller scale — welding was now soldering and the casting techniques were the same. After college while living in Italy I had the great privileged of meetings and becoming friends with artist and jeweler Manfred Bischoff; he moved from the Black Forest in Germany to ‘find the light’ in Tuscany which he did beautifully in 24 carat gold. He taught jewelry in Florence so it was very kismet and full circle. His best advice was ‘If it is close to your heart it will be good’ which resonated with me as this had always been my approach to my work (and life)—when it is from the heart and with passion it will be authentic and uniquely yours.
Kayla: Wow, I love your story - I can see the scene of you and your roommates creating a studio and learning/growing/creating together. That's such a special, energetic time in life and friendship. Your work is good (to say the least!), so you must be following Manfred Bischoff's advice. What is close to your heart that inspires your work?
Kimberlin: My reverence for nature. I have always gravitated towards the beauty in nature - especially the sea. It’s sound, it’s shape and the perfection that lies in the wake of its waves are a constant source of inspiration. Growing up I spent the long endless days of summer by the seashore. My signature ‘Sea Anemone’ and ‘Coral’ collections reflect this time and also where I am still most at peace - by the sea.
Kayla: And I read that now you're living and working out of New York City, is that right? Can you tell us a bit about your studio space and design process?
Kimberlin: Yes, I live in NYC, it has been my home for many years and for many years I had my jeweler's bench — and all that goes with it — in my Chelsea apartment. Seven years ago I met my soulmate and nearly four years ago we welcomed our baby boy, so separating the work space from home was integral. I now have a wonderful spacious studio with high ceilings and great light in Dumbo Brooklyn.
My design process often begins with an exceptional stone; a beautiful pearl; an evocative idea then working directly with metal or wax to highlight the natural elements and bring the idea to life.