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About Kate

katequenchprofile5.jpgThere is a tilting old building in the heart of Vancouver. If you visit there, you will be welcomed with cups of tea or tumblers of wine or mugs of water. Your eyes will feast on stacked stones and woodpiles, glittering metals and shells and books, ideas and images. This is the studio of artisan Kate Barazzuol and one of the many creative muses for her work.

Kate has been captivated by texture and colour since her early childhood. Explorations through the forest in her backyard and along the beaches of Nova Scotia where she grew up instilled a deep sense of curiosity about the intricate nature of the organic world. Her work is a truly unique interpretation of the beautiful objects and patterns we find in the elemental world around us. Renderings of images from nature, and ideas from her inner and outer explorations – if you ask her where her inspiration comes from, she will tell you she breathes it in, and each of these unique pieces is the way it flows through her.

Kate's jewelry embodies boundlessness with antique patinas, rugged, sophisticated simplicity and wearable design. To put one of these pieces against your skin is to feel warmth against your body, a smooth stone in your palm, wood smoke, juniper, a salty breeze, and a cool morning mist.

 

ARTIST STATEMENT

Creative Process/Artist Statement

I am a Vancouver, BC metal artisan. I create non-traditional, stunning and unique jewelry including wedding rings, pendants, cuffs and earrings that express the elements of our natural world. This fosters a sense that my clients are collaborating in the creation of a one of-a-kind ‘heirloom in the making’. Just for them.

I am a creator. I love to make things and always have. My inspiration: Nature and the endless unfolding blueprint that makes up every single thing we know on this planet. I love how the veins of a delicate leaf can look just like the dendrites in our brain, or that the aged grain of driftwood can convince you it is a fingerprint. Patterns in nature resonate with us deeply at a wordless level. It is a joy to find these patterns in my everyday life and translate them into pieces of art that people want to hold close to their bodies. My creations are talismans of the natural world. Touchstones that remind people that they are connected to something larger.

My materials of choice are copper and sterling silver. Both are beautiful and have unique qualities. I love silver for the beautiful way it lends itself to all kinds of patinas; purples, reds, greens, blues . . . pretty much every colour of the rainbow flows from silver. It is also lovely to work with – I feel the metal itself has a “knowing” quality about it. And copper –well, it’s simply delicious. Warm and malleable, it has a friendly, happy quality to it. Humans have been using it for thousands of years because of its beauty and its healing qualities.

For me, the artistry and beauty in a well-crafted piece of jewelry has a healing power, reflecting magnificence back into the world. I have collected jewelry for as long as I can remember, commemorating every major life event or journey with a piece of jewelry. Even after I started to make jewelry in 2001, I remained a collector. I also collect stones, shells, leaves, branches – prized treasures from the forests and ocean around me. Over the past two years, these treasures have been guiding me, inspiring me to recreate their patters in the cast copper and silver jewelry I’ve been making. I no longer feel as though I ‘make’ jewelry, it’s more that inspiration from my environment flows through me into each piece. These seemingly ancient pieces of fossilized rainforest – fern fronds, salal leaves, sea urchins – are as ingrained in me as they are molded into the metal.

My process is constantly and subtly evolving as I add layers of knowledge, ideas and practice onto a foundation I’ve built from the teachings of many guides. Jewelry making is steeped in tradition. There are established methods and practices. Because of this, when I’ve been seeking a solution or pursuing a design idea I have often heard the response ‘that can’t be done’ or ‘that isn’t how it’s done.’ While I’m not irreverent to the learned history of my art, I do push back against the boundaries of convention. For example, nobody else I’ve come across is casting in copper right now, not because it’s impossible or yields a poor result, but because ‘it isn’t done.’ I break the rules. The result is a shimmering archeology of west coast nature reminiscent of the forests and beaches where it is created – part rugged and storied, part refined and elegant. Beautiful jewelry – for happy people.