Hey there! I am Kim O'Brien, maker of shiny objects with dashes of color.
When/how did you start your business?
My business started in 2009 when I signed up for my first series of craft shows and started stumbling my way through the craft world. After moving closer to Providence in the fall of that year I met many more artists and started to get a better grasp of what fairs to sign up for and what stores to consign with. My business really took off in 2010 when I moved into my current studio and out of my father in law's basement. It is amazing how your surroundings can inspire you.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I spend time with my adorable bernese mountain dog and my equally adorable husband. This family of three loves to explore Providence, have dinner with friends, play games and cuddle up to watch movies in our cute bungalow apartment.
What first made you want to become an artist?
When I was little I was either drawing or reading. My grandmother signed me up for drawing lessons for my 11th birthday. I soon realized there were drawing tools other than crayons and settled into a world of charcoal, pastels, pencils and gummy erasers. I carried my drawing tools everywhere with me. In high school I couldn't fit art classes into my schedule for the first year and I missed getting my hands dirty. Once I started art classes my sophomore year I rarely surfaced from the art room again. With my teacher's encouragement I knew I needed to apply to art school and make it my goal to make stuff for a living.
Nature, it's always nature. Shapes, textures and colors from plants, flowers and trees find their way onto my sheets of silver. I am forever exploring new ideas b y taking pictures of dried weeds, pods and little flowers in bloom. My phone has thousands of photographs on it and I use it as a diary of sorts to refer back to. Lately my shapes are simplified and more like gestures of what I discover outdoors. One day I will get back to realism, I miss the painstaking planning of near perfect recreation.
What's your favorite thing about your craft?
My tools. I collect old hammers and other odd tools. I may not have an immediate plan for the tools I collect, but I know that texture on an old rusty hammer will be just perfect for one project or another down the road. And I love wielding a torch, it makes the greatest sound when I strike the flint to get it going and then hisses with flame. All of these loud, rusty objects used by my hands result in delicate pieces of silver jewelry. To me, it is making beauty out of chaos.
At my jeweler's bench in my mill building space. My bench is a hunk of thick wood which my grandfather "borrowed" while working at the university I later attended. (I love that he has a part in my work space.) And I love that I am surrounded by white painted brick walls and windows. Such a luxury after starting off in a basement studio.
What's your favorite music to listen to while you work?
I often listen to NPR, books on tape or loud music. Mostly Beastie Boys, Rage Against the Machine or the Juno soundtrack. (I am currently taking suggestions as my playlist is getting a little old.) But one of my favorite sounds is when the fellow do wnstairs is tuning his steel drums. It is quite peaceful.
Homemade peanut butter cups. They are divine! I just got into making juice too. We will see where that goes; it is terribly new for me.
If you could have one wish for the craft community, what would it be?
Universal healthcare! And for every last one of us to have a special someone to help carry those dreadful tent weights. One more thing, for no one to ever be asked again, "did you make all of this?"
You can check out all of Kim's work in her Etsy shop