Hello Friend

Karin Worden Jewelry

I am so happy for us to have this space to connect in between shows and studio visits. I’ve been talking about an online store since I closed my gallery. And now it’s a reality! The site will continue to blossom with new jewelry and stories, so swing by often!

Whether we met at the Festival of Arts or Silver Blue & Gold, you just discovered me and my work on Instagram, or someone sent you here with her wish list, I invite you to reach out to me any time if you have any questions. Meanwhile, let me share with you answers to some that others have asked.

How long have you been making jewelry? Always! I found goldsmithing in high school crafts class. We dabbled in many mediums and when we hit silver I was smitten. I think it was the pacing of the saw through metal that made it a meditation for me. My teacher, Ms. B, was my advisor and it was a different era — she saw my groove and gave me keys to the studio. We are Facebook friends now, so I may reach out to ask her if she ever put it together that I just had to be skipping classes to be there so many hours. There were many hours!

Did you flunk out of school then? Nope. Somehow I still managed to make it to college. Three of them, as a matter of fact. The first had a crafts center where I ended up teaching goldsmithing to graduate students — and I was in my freshman year! The second happened to have one of the best metals programs going, with “Living Treasure” Arline Fisch at the helm. And the third was affiliated with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston — a museum whose permanent collection, I am proud to say, now houses one of my pieces. If you look in the Vintage section, you’ll find “Waiting Boats.” It’s a bit of a visual love poem to Boston, my home.

Wait, Don’t you live in Laguna Beach? I do! But Boston will always be my home and a core influence on my aesthetic. I grew up Downtown near Beacon Hill and the Charles River — on the 36th floor of a high rise! Later, in my 20s, I lived and worked with other artists in giant lofts we built out ourselves in old mill buildings overlooking Fort Point Channel.

Two elements from this environment stand out to me as an influence on my artistic voice. One is the crispness of contemporary urban architecture — clean lines and surfaces. The other is the element of hidden treasures in a historic city. There are so many textures to discover, literally and figuratively.

These influences encourage my love of detail in craftsmanship. I strive for clear, intentional lines in my fabrication, and you’ll find traces of ‘the artist’s hand’ in the textures and tool marks I leave behind as a history of the making. Often, my more artsy pieces contain hidden treasures of sorts in unexpected elements, like leaves and boats, that hint at a story one may never know. Just like the “ghost signs” do on the faded facades of Boston’s old brick buildings.

Why do you say “goldsmithing” when you work in silver too? So, speaking of Boston, the image that comes to my mind when I hear the word “silversmith” is Paul Revere. While the practice is similar, “silversmithing” generally refers to larger objects such as kitchenware. “Goldsmithing,” on the other hand, is the ancient art of crafting small objects in precious metals. The techniques and tools are the same for the two, so it’s still considered to be goldsmithing, even if the finished piece is silver.

My training is in both large and small metal arts. And if the goldsmithing/silversmithing debate isn’t enough for you, I earned my Master of Fine Arts degree in — Artisanry! I like this word, artisanry, because in it I hear the ancientness of the craft.

Contemporary studio jewelry often incorporates both gold and silver in a single item. Even in a silver piece, the gemstone settings I make are usually solid 18k and 22k gold. I also like to grind up 22k gold and sprinkle it like pollen on my flowers. Goldsmithing is fun! I get lost in it, spending hours at my jewelry bench playing, grinding, sawing, hammering, heating, and melting. The jewelry is a platform for my play.

Why botanicals? Just as the jewelry is a platform for the goldsmithing, the botanicals are the platform for the jewelry. Think of it as a container, so to speak, for the textures and colors of the precious metals and gemstones.

I am also fed by the the beautiful botanicals I get to see daily while hiking the California nature preserves, strolling the shoreline, and even going past my neighbors’ gardens — you should see what they grow!

I feel a spiritual connection in nature that is hard for me to put into words. When I say it, instead, in a visual language, it feels more true. And I find, then, that it speaks to others’ connections — to the moments they’ve had in nature or other places of knowing.

Who wears Botanical Art Jewelry? The jewelry I craft appeals to strong women with soft hearts who value originality over conformity and timelessness over trend.

At my exhibitions, I witness people find something familiar in the work, a recognition or discovery of something personal. I am always honored when they choose a piece as a touchstone for their own memories and moments.

Sometimes years later I get to revisit a piece and I am struck by how it has taken on a new energy. It becomes its wearer’s rather than maker’s. There is magic and alchemy in metal arts that I cannot explain, but which moves and motivates me daily.

Why did you close your gallery? We loved that store! I loved it too and I especially loved representing other studio jewelers. But my purpose in life is to be a maker. There are so many pieces of art jewelry that I want to make. And I can only do that if I see clients strictly by appointment.

I get lost in my bench work for hours on end — just like those wonderful days in high school. But when I do host you, you’ve got my undivided attention.

Oh, and those fabulous studio jewelers and I are still connected, so if there is ever a piece you would like sourced, just ask and we’ll make it happen.

Where do you work now? These days my workspace and showroom are in the Laguna Canyon Artists Complex with 30 or so other artists. Drop your info in the sign-up form on the home page and I’ll put you on the list for invitations to private events here.

The complex is truly a treasure, with painters, sculptors, ceramists, printmakers and photographers. It remains true to Laguna Beach’s roots as an artists’ colony.

What’s new in the online shop?

When you browse the 4 collections featured on the home page, you’ll find a growing selection of one-of-a-kind art pieces, limited-edition botanicals, and a new “giftable” collection called Laguna Lotus. Also evolving is “Florilegia” — a year-long project that will culminate in an exhibition of 26 collections of fine art jewelry. Check in regularly to see it blossom.

Can you make me something special? Yes, I still do custom work. We can design a special piece for you or a gift that is sure to please. There is a waiting list, so please reach out in plenty of time for your occasion.

Do you ever do anything other than make jewelry? Oh, you know it! If I’m not at my jeweler’s bench, chances are I’m dancing or underwater somewhere. I am a dedicated “5 Rhythms” dancer with a worldwide community with whom I love to catch up in beautiful locations — my favorite being Esalen in Big Sur, CA.

Should I sign up for your VIP list? Yes! How could you possibly read this far and not want to get invitations to exhibitions and receptions, be the first to know when new collections launch, receive birthday cards and little gifts here and there? Please, let’s keep in touch!

A jeweler's bench from 1560