Maker Spotlight: This Jewelry Maker Lets Her Art Take the Lead
Alloyd Studio frontwoman Sarah Kuehn has let her talent and interest in being an artist lead her path in life. Kuehn’s interest in art started at a young age declaring, “it’s the only thing I ever pictured myself being”.
Creating handmade items satisfies Kuehn most, and she appreciates traditional techniques while being inspired by worldly designs and patterns. Read below how Kuehn’s personal story shows what happens when we let our childhood dreams come true:
How does being a maker, artist or business owner inspire you?
Well, I've actually dreamt of being an artist since I was a little girl. My entire life, that's the only thing I ever pictured myself being. As I got older, the realities of that dream started to feel more like a fantasy and I struggled to find my path. I experimented with so many different art forms over the years but nothing ever really stuck. Eventually, I basically gave up on my art and focused on building a career for myself. Then one day, literally out of the blue, I felt inspired to learn how to make jewelry. I bought a few books and dove right in, and started to teach myself things after work and on the weekends. Within a month I was completely obsessed and its all I could think about.
When I first started making jewelry, I never thought it would turn into a career for me. I just did it because it made me happy and I seriously couldn't stop. I had never felt this passionate about anything before, and that was incredibly exciting. After about a year of this, my business had grown to a point where I was now practically working two full time jobs, and it was killing me. It was at this point that I realized I actually had a real shot at being a full time artist and could be my own boss. It took me a little while to build up the courage to leave my career and work on my brand full-time, but it was the best thing I've ever done for myself. I still can't believe this is my life and feel incredibly grateful to have found my passion and path in life.
How has your background influenced your work?
I've been studying fine art since I was in high school and I definitely think my art education has a huge influence on my work. I was lucky to go to a very good art magnet school at the age of 16. It was in this school that I really found my passion for the arts, and got an incredible education and foundation. For a long time I actually thought I wanted to be a fashion designer, but after just one semester studying Fashion Design in New York City, I realized that’s not the industry I want to be in. I ended up getting my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from FAU, in FL. Over the course of about 10 years, I studied several different art forms including printmaking, painting, figure drawing, sculpture, ceramics, fashion design, graphic design and photography. I think that I draw inspiration from all of these different art forms when i approach jewelry making.
Are there communities that have been instrumental in the development of your work?
Well, One of my biggest inspirations is ancient cultures from all around the world. I've always been fascinated by ancient times; the people, the beliefs and of course, the art! When I'm designing jewelry, I often like to draw inspiration from these ancient cultures and mix some of that aesthetic into my work, without being too literal.
What mediums do you use most? Is there a significant technique you use and is there a history behind your technique?
Currently I create most of my work from wax and then have is cast in either sterling silver or bronze using the lost wax casting technique. I've grown to absolutely love working with wax. One thing I've always loved to do, is to sculpt things with my hands. I've never loved the more traditional jewelry fabrication techniques which involve forming metal sheet and wire. With wax, I feel more free and can create organic shapes and forms. I am still learning and evolving as an artist, so it’s a very exciting time!
Do you incorporate ethics of production or sustainability within your work and business?
Are there choices you have to make that are affected by these topics? One thing that I'm very proud to say, is that all of my jewelry is cast from recycled metals! When I was searching for a casting company to partner with, this was important to me and I'm very happy with the recycled metals I've gotten to work with. As I continue to grow and expand, I hope to discover other ways to incorporate sustainability into my brand and process.
To create is to connect, what is the impact that you hope to make with your work?
I just want to make people feel beautiful, special and unique in this world. Fashion and jewelry has the power to do that! Jewelry becomes very sentimental to most people, and if one of my pieces can put a smile on someone’s face, then I feel like I have done my job.
Alloyd Studios features pieces of jewelry with a variety of stone pieces that emphasize their natural textures and patterns. Her jewelry can be found in Ardent at Stoneridge Mall, or online at her Etsy shop.