Jewelry designer Kristine Schroeder creates intricate Victorian jewelry . She shares her inspiration and her story.
ABI: What first got you interested in designing jewelry?
KS: After receiving a beaded necklace as a gift in 1999, I thought I might be able to create jewelry too. I headed straight for the bookstore intending to buy some beading books. So there I am, browsing through the crafting section, when – BAM! I saw it. It was the old classic, “Making Wire Jewelry” by Helen Clegg and Mary Larom. The graceful, fluid jewelry designs on the cover just grabbed my attention, and my imagination. That book started my whole crazy journey, from my first fumbling attempts with craft wire and the wrong pliers, to learning to sculpt wire.
Years ago, I came to a creative crossroads: Shall I learn how to use a torch? Shall I learn how to solder? The answer: No. Instead, I decided to challenge myself by remaining solder-free, torch-free, and casting-free. I push the envelope of what’s possible in wire jewelry by engineering, sculpting, and weaving ever more complicated and intricate pieces, using fine-gauge wire for embroidering and beading my sculptures. I’ve wept tears of joy over a great piece, and I’ve hurled half-finished work across the room in frustration – but I’ve never, ever, been bored with wire.
ABI: What fuels your interest in Victorian design?
KS: My parents became interested in antique furniture and china in the early 70s, and they began collecting pieces as our household budget allowed, so I spent a lot of time in antique shops and shows from age 7. I still have a clear memory of the day we acquired Mom’s first piece – an ornate, quarter-sawn octagon table she rescued from someone’s leaky front porch. (She still has it.) All those Victorian-era designs and motifs soaked into my brain, heavily influencing my style. The ’90s and the 2000s were pretty lonely for us Victorian-heads, until Steampunk came along!
ABI: Explain how your work can cross into several different markets.
KS: Because I view my art jewelry as more than just fashion, and because I am on a quest to push the boundaries of what wire jewelry can be, I allow myself to explore: How can I incorporate the mechanical look of Steampunk, or the magical dreamscape of Fantasy? Just lately I’ve been fascinated with what happens when nature reclaims an abandoned building – sparking my foray into Art-Nouveau.
Anything creative, whether it be art, music, writing, etc., has always been influenced by, or borrowed from, what came before. For example, rock and roll grew out of blues, which grew out of spirituals. My work crosses over because of the continuum of influences: medieval into renaissance, into Victorian, branching into Art Nouveau, and so on.
ABI: Your website is well done and very complete. Do you have suggestions for other artists who want to create a website?
KS: Thank you! I heartily recommend:
- WordPress – to artists, or really anyone, who wishes to easily create an attractive site
- Elegant Themes – for a nominal yearly fee, you get access to every one of their WordPress themes, which include some great theme choices for artists. I use the “Chameleon” theme because I love the big attention-getting slideshow on the homepage.