Her Chicago kitchen smells like the warmth and glow of family, and her home studio reflects the precious time spent cultivating each piece of her jewelry. It is creatively designed. Karen Gill has created a bit of heaven with a whimsical flair, but she takes the craftsmanship of her jewelry seriously.
My adventure into jewelry design and metal arts began on a quest for a hatpin. With beads found in a jewelry box and some feathers, the first pins were made. Since then I have expanded my knowledge of beading, honed my skill in wire wrapping, and refined my talent and passion for metalwork.
Many things inspire me—nature, a shell laying on the beach, a kite gliding in the sky, the curve of a smile, different cultures, and forms of art. My eyes are constantly seeing the beauty all around us. These “sightings” are expressed visually in the jewelry that I create. Fascinated with shape and form and using centuries-old metalsmithing techniques forging and forming with flame and hammers, hard, flat sheets of metal or wire are transformed into lovely, flowing shapes. Experiencing this transformation, quite simply, delights me. Etching, an important feature in my work, allows me to use my 30 years experience as an award-winning graphic designer.
Drawing original, intricate designs onto the metal and etching them into the surface adds interest and texture to my work. Contrasting highly polished with textured matte finishes captures changes in light and depth and creates the sense of movement that characterizes many of the pieces. Finishing the collection are one of a kind pieces in which unusual gemstones, lustrous pearls, and sparkling crystals are set or wirewrapped, adding the beauty of more color to my palette. -Karen Gill
Gill enjoys deck gardening, is an avid traveler and a fan of jazz. It is easy to find her work online on Karen Joy.com or etsy. You can also meet her at numerous art festivals in Chicago, where her many customers search for her to purchase the pieces they have grown to covet.
Karen Joy Jewelry was established in 2005 with my daughter, Sophia. She has since moved on while my commitment to creating unusual, well-constructed, handcrafted jewelry continues. I thank God for directing me down this path of beauty, art, creativity, and craft and for the wonderful people who have encouraged, taught, and shopped with me. Since making my first hatpin, working at my jeweler’s bench has brought me both joy and peace. It is my hope the wearer of my art feels this joy and peace and treasurers the experience.