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Karin Worden Jewelry

Yay! We now have a space to connect between shows and visits.

Whether we met at the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach or my gallery Silver Blue & Gold, if you just discovered my jewelry on Instagram or your love sent you here with a wish list for your upcoming anniversary, I invite you to browse around and reach out with any questions. For now, though, how about if I share what others have asked?

How long have you been making jewelry? Forever! 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, saw my groove and gave me keys to the studio. We are friends still. she says she didn't realize that spending so much time in the studio meant I was skipping other classes! 

Did you flunk out of school then? Nope. I made it to college - 3 of them - and later to Grad School. My first college had a crafts center where I ended up teaching goldsmithing to graduate students — in my freshman year! The second had 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. Look in the Vintage Collection and you’ll see “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 in Downtown Boston by Beacon Hill and the Charles River — on the 36th floor of a high rise! 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 still influence my artistic voice. One is the crispness of contemporary urban architecture — clean lines and surfaces. The other is the feeling of hidden treasures that historic cities contain. There are so many textures to uncover, 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? While the practice is similar, “silversmithing” generally refers to larger objects. (Think Paul Revere Silver, since we have New England on our minds.) Goldsmithing, on the other hand, is the ancient art of crafting small objects in precious metals. The techniques and tools are the same, so it’s still considered to be goldsmithing even if the finished piece is silver.

If the goldsmithing/silversmithing debate isn’t enough for you, after college, my Master of Fine Arts degree was 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 - sawing, hammering, heating, and melting. 

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 to anchor them in 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 - especially representing other studio jewelers. But my purpose in life is to be a maker. There are so many threads of inspiration I want to follow, and I can do that best with with long uninterrupted stretches of deep work. Something rare in retail!

Where do you work now? I'm in the Laguna Canyon Artists complex. Drop your email in the sign-up form and I’ll invite you to 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?

Browse the 4 collections featured on the home page and 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. Check in regularly to see it blossom.

Can you make me something special? Yes. I still do some custom work. I 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?  Why, yes! If I’m not at my bench, chances are I’m under water somewhere or dancing. I am a dedicated “5 Rhythms” dancer with a worldwide community I love to catch up with in beautiful locations — my favorite being Esalen in Big Sur, CA.

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

A jeweler's bench from 1560