We had the good fortune of connecting with Karin Worden and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Karin, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
Outsiders, or just the general public, are often unaware of how their jewelry is made. It’s funny that such an intimate and ubiquitous possession can be a mystery to many. Traditional goldsmithing, working by hand, is a craft that has changed little in millennia. The artist works the metal almost like one could work clay, only it’s much slower and takes the addition of steel tools. Precious metals can also be melted and poured like liquid before solidifying to be worked further. And modern technology now has us designing in 3d on the computer and printing models to be cast. In each of these scenarios, there’s a lot that goes into it. It’s always funny to me when a client says something about ‘gluing a stone on’ or wants a custom piece same day.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art is contemporary studio jewelry with a botanical influence. I’m an artist in love with goldsmithing. I grew up in an urban environment and now I live among nature and by the ocean in Laguna Beach. These influences combine in my work. I draw on the leaves and flowers and colors that I see in my beautiful surroundings here, and then I hand fabricate in silver and gold, paying great attention to craftsmanship and details like texture, line and form. I also love to include colored natural gemstones. I get a real spiritual boost in nature. And I find that when I translate that well in the metals, the resulting jewelry speaks to people who’ve had their own deep connects. I’m always honored when women choose my work as a talisman to connect them to their meaningful moments. Something about hand fabricating, as opposed to casting or computer manufacturing puts the energy of the intention into a piece in a way that people can feel it. And what’s super interesting to me is that once a woman has lived with a piece for a while, her own energy gets imbued into it. Sometimes I get to revisit a piece years later and I barely recognize it. It’s become its wearer’s. My Botanical Art Jewelry appeals to strong women with soft hearts who value originality over conformity and timelessness over trend.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This one is easy. We’d rent a convertible, drive the couple blocks to PCH, take a right and continue north for as many days as we had. I love Big Sur with all my heart and make 2 or 3 pilgrimages there a year. So many great stops along the way, with Santa Ynez being my new favorite. It’s a tiny little town north of Santa Barbara with fabulous restaurants, cafes, and wine tasting. After hot springs and hiking along the coast we could hit Monterey. I lived there a few years before moving to Laguna Beach. I moved there after getting my Master of Fine Arts back east. I worked laying out pages for the newspaper before saving up money for my jeweler’s bench. I bought the best one I could find, installed it in my studio apartment, and gave my notice without ever looking back.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my landlord, Riggie, here at Laguna Canyon Artists. She’s put together a unique community of 30 artists. Not only do I love my studio, but I get to work in community during this time of isolation. Being inspired by others is such a gift.
Hugh Foster, Sara Rey, Ghazal Nasseri