Artists ~ Karen Parker ~ Warwick

Artist’s name: Karen Parker
Shop name: K&T Jewelry & Accessories
Twitter: @karenktj
Facebook: pinswithpersonality/facebook

1. Tell us about your work
My focus is using mixed metals of brass, copper and silver to create theme oriented pins, barrettes and ponytail holders.

2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
I always say the wind blew me in this direction. I inherited creative ability from my father. He drew stunning portraits in pastels of old time movie stars such as Mary Pickford, Buddy Rogers and May West to name a few that I can remember. My mother made jewelry at home at the kitchen table to make "milk money". I come from a family of 8 kids and back then many women made jewelry at home to help support the family. As far back as I can remember I sat with my mother and sister and linked, looped, glued, bagged, tagged, wrapped, etc. So I guess I learned a trade early on and together with artistic ability, jewelry became my career.

Hence, the wind blew me into the jewelry business.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration?
People, nature and humor for the most part. My jewelry tends to focus on peoples interests, mother nature and fun stuff rather than glitz and glamour.

4. What’s your favorite item to create?
As far as favorite things to create, my hobbies are anything other than jewelry. I love gardening, decorative sewing, stained glass, woodwork, decorating. I love tools and work that men usually do. I have a small tool room in my basement with a chop saw, table saw, wet saw etc. and I will take on any project I think I can do or at least give it a try.

My back yard is my favorite place on earth and a hosta sanctuary. I love planting and digging.

I attended a class on how to cut glass and then spent months and months making a door, roman numeral clock face table tops, coffee tables that I either sold or gave away, and a bird feeder using copper, glass and wood.

If an idea pops into my head as far as fancy bed pillows, I start sewing.

My home studio had no windows and felt like a box, so I made 3 large fake window out of wood and plexiglass with black paint behind the plexiglass so it looks like night time all the time but it feels like a real room instead of a box in the basement.

In 1999 my sister and I and her son John landscaped her whole back yard. We laid 2 brick patios, carved out 2 staircases on the slopes, built 7 retaining walls and 2 cobblestone lined, crushed stone filled pathways.

After installing a marble floor in my loft/balcony area, I discovered that marble tiles have mirror images. I spent 2 weeks in my garage sifting through 600 sq feet of marble tiles, finding the mirror images, laying out a triple diamond pattern that is the center design on the living room floor. This was the biggest, toughest project ever that took about a month. I loved every minute of it.

I am sorry if I am rambling, but creating things other than jewelry is exciting and challenging and also an escape from work. No matter how much people enjoy their jobs, its what happens after 5:00 and on weekends that we all look forward to. Work had, play hard. For some people its golf, for me its anything using my hands that is creative and challenging.

5. What’s your best seller?
There is no single hot item that is a best seller. Animal lovers buy what they love, whether its a pin, a barrette or a ponytail holder. I think cats, horses and dragonflies come out on top.

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
All my life.

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
The 4 seasons, great food and its cozy. Family and friends are always right around the corner. We get a perfect split of all four seasons, 3 months of each and each season is beautiful. Now I know there was entirely too much snow this year, but we all love a snowy Christmas, everything come to life in the spring, we have beaches everywhere in the summer, and all the colors of annual flowers and leaves turning from green to everything but green are on display during the fall, my favorite season.


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