Kristin Wornson: Travel, Adventure & Far Away Places

What made you decide to get into jewelry making?

I have always loved jewelry. I was fascinated by my mother’s jewelry as a child – pieces she wore & collected during travels. My dad also traveled a lot for work, growing up – and he always brought my mom & I a piece of jewelry from every place he went. When my grandmother used to visit, the first thing she always did when she walked in the door was hand me her bag of jewelry. I would dump it all over the bed and then put on every piece she owned.  I liked that they represented travel & adventure & far away places. I liked that when you put a piece on, it had a way of connecting you to that person, that place & that story. 

What are some of the places you travel and do you have a favorite?

I am fortunate, because I have also always loved to travel & I get to travel all over the country with my work. My favorites fall into categories: shows that are economically rewarding & shows that are emotionally rewarding. The best are those that can do a little of both, as both are important if you are going to be able to love what you do & survive doing what you do. 

How has your jewelry design evolved over the years?

When I look back to pieces that my brother & I made 10 years ago, it looks completely different to me. I think it would be easy to look at what I do & think that it hasn't changed much - glass pendants, with flowers. But it's evolved in really subtle ways. After 10 years, your techniques get much more refined - the soldering much cleaner, the lines much more exact. The designs have also become much more abstract. I work a lot more with tiny shapes that I've cut out of petals, stamens I've removed from the center of flowers, seeds I've extracted, leaves. 

I have been working on converting some of my glass/botanical jewelry designs into 2-D. I have a photographer who takes macro photographs of pieces that can then be expanded and printed on paper, bamboo, tile. I've had some of the images printed on various types of fabric and the result is really beautiful - these tiny 1" designs take on a whole new visual element when magnified. I would love to make clothing and scarves and housewares items. I need a million more hours in every day.

Have you always been creative?

I don't even know if I am creative. I certainly don't consider myself more creative than anyone else. I have always enjoyed making things. I've always loved working with my hands & my mind never shuts off when it comes to thinking of different things to create. I suppose I also have an ability to really focus that helps when it comes to creating.

What do you in the winter months?

I work on the business all year round. I have shows that go up until December and start again in March. But the past several years I've been fortunate to be able to work on an expedition ship that goes to Antarctica. I teach a marine science & education program to the kids of families who are traveling on the ship. It's almost a month long & we travel to South Georgia & the Falkland Islands, and up the Antarctic peninsula. It's an absolutely incredible experience that I still pinch myself to think about. I teach a squid dissection, and fish printing - with specimens that are donated from the Falkland Island Fisheries Department. I coordinate with the naturalists on board, who give the kids lectures on everything from climate change to deep sea creatures.

Meet Kristin in person at one of her upcoming events: 
Nov. 1 - Walker Art Center Jewelry Mart 
Nov. 8 & 9 - Bachman's Garden Center - Lyndale Ave. 

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Interview by Jennifer Sandquist

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