In conversation with Kate Furman

Interview  /  Artists   BehindTheScenes
Published: 13.05.2015
In conversation with Kate Furman.
Sanna Svedestedt
Edited by:
Edited at:
Kate Furman. Necklace: Ballast, 2015. Wood, brass, suede. 55.9 x 15.2 x 6.4 cm. Photo by: Eli Warren. Kate Furman
Necklace: Ballast, 2015
Wood, brass, suede
55.9 x 15.2 x 6.4 cm
Photo by: Eli Warren
© By the author. Read Copyright.

It has been a while since we last checked in with artist Kate Furman. Here she talks about her recent work, interest in wood and takes us with her into the workshop. Enjoy!
Hi Kate!

You are a jeweler based in South Carolina, USA. We are curious to know more about how you work. What kind of studio you have?

I was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina.  I left for several years and have now returned as a working artist and jeweler. Currently, my main studio is in my house.  I often work in my studio at night, so it is easier being right at home.  In it, I have a few wood working tools, a large table to compose on, my jewelry bench and a soldering area.  It is small, but it works.  I just began renting a studio at Greenville’s brand new art center as well.  It is called Greenville Center for Creative Arts.  I hope that it becomes a secondary studio that allows me to be involved in our local art scene and to expose people to contemporary jewelry.

Can you take us through a regular day at work?
I work full time for another jeweler in Greenville, so a full work day on my own art is hard to come by! I try to work in my studio weekends, nights and any other free moments I have.  I love it though. I love creating and spending my time there.
I try to have several pieces in progress at a time.  I usually cut or hammer wood into chunks, slices or slivers.  Next, I arrange them and begin experimenting with materials and connections.  My body is very important not only to physically gather and cut the branches, but also to consider with the interaction of the final piece as a wearable sculpture or drawing.
I don’t really have a set schedule.  I experiment, makes samples and respond.  Each day is different, and that helps keep me excited.

Studio shot Kate Furman

Since your graduation from Rhode Island School of Design in 2012 you have been working predominately with wood as the main material. What is your approach and connection to wood?
I love being outside. I whitewater raft guide, kayak, hike and ski.  I lived in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a while where I was able to do these activities for my job. As a material, wood is something I find beautiful. I can cut it quickly and respond to form before I have to slow down and create junctions with metal.  I gather wood while I am outside doing the things I love.  I then am able to bring bits of nature into my studio and continue interacting with it.  I have many personal connections to it but also feel that my highlighting its beauty allows people to slow down and look closer.  In that way, I am hoping to give back to the outside world or at least show my appreciation.

Your recent work include a series of larger neckpieces, can you talk about your thoughts behind these jewels?
I try to work in various scales.  Some pieces are delicate and small, whiles others are bold and large.  Scale is just a response to the bark or twigs I find and how I work with them.

Studio shot Kate Furman

Do you have any strategy that you use to boost your creativity?
I have found that when I get stuck, I need to work quickly and without too much thought.  I go through a sample phase, where I deconstruct and reconstruct many pieces quickly and responsively.  I then evaluate what I have made and expand the new ideas.

What is next for you in the future?
I will continue developing my art jewelry and exhibiting it nationally and internationally.  I want to get it in as many places as I can. I sell through Charon Kransen Arts in New York City, so keeping my work fresh for him is important to me.  Being involved in my local arts scene is important to me too.  I am currently in a local group exhibition called Defining She.  We hope to make this show an annual event.  I will be teaching jewelry classes at Greenville Center for Creative Arts as well.  On a personal note, I am building my first house and am engaged to be married, so this upcoming year will be full of excitement and transitions!