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Where does a psychotherapist turn when she needs a form of personal therapy? One woman transforms the trauma she witnesses in her patients into the concrete beauty and joy of Art To Wear. Welcome to SheSpark’s Designer Spotlight.
Kat, the Minnesota-based designer behind KATROX, found a creative outlet that resonates with women looking for OOAK (one of a kind) pieces that have something to say. I discovered her five-star rated Etsy store and spent over an hour browsing and reading about the 800+ pieces she listed. They’re dramatic, colorful, sometimes shocking, but never average. Choosing one favorite is almost impossible.
What appeals most to me is that KATROX offers an alternative to the delicate, mass-produced jewelry that recently overwhelms department store and chain catalogs. The mixture of vintage materials with tribal and modern touches have multi-cultural appeal that celebrates diversity.
In her own words, Kat shares the inspiration for her work and the creative process for SheSpark’s Designer Spotlight.
HOW KAT STARTED DESIGNING
I originally got involved in making jewelry as my own personal therapy to cope with vicarious traumatization hearing many patient’s stories of soul wrenching abuse and neglect in my profession as a psychotherapist. Having born witness to this kind
of ugly, evil pain and suffering, I needed a concrete outlet to create beauty and find joy.
I had accumulated hoard of bling, gemstones, feathers, rhinestones, rocks, shells and crystals which I began assembling purely for my own hedonistic pleasure. I thought the pieces were simply too outlandish, gaudy, and over-the-top for anything other than my private, personal adornment. So I used and enjoyed them…
I would describe my style as indescribable with a flair toward the wild-exotic and whimsical-eccentric-theatrical. I currently find myself drawn to the ancient energy of other cultures such as Miao, Tibet, India, the Middle East and all of Africa. My only rule is to not be bound by rules… If I find myself with the thought “I can’t,” that is a sign to me that “I must.” Other jewelry designers I admire include Larry VRBA, Chris Moans, Masha Archer, Sally Bass and the MONIES line. I love anything and everything art deco and believe myself to be a reincarnated flapper-moll!
One day I decided to sell a piece just ” to see what happens.” After my third sale I began thinking I may have some talent so KATROX was born and my pieces became increasingly outlandish. I have always been inspired by the wild, exotic, and avant garde/haute couture stylings of Versace, Cavalli, McQueen and Galliano. But more importantly, I draw from the transformative places my patients touch in my psyche through their soulful vulnerability. I do believe there is a fine line between madness and creativity, which I try to walk when creating my OOAK Art to Wear. I remain uncertain if I could birth these creations were it not for the tragedy I witness daily….
Depending upon the complexity of the piece it can take anywhere from one hour to several days. I never start with a design. As crazy as it sounds, the materials intuitively guide me and tell me what to do with them. If a component does not speak to me it is not yet their time. Each piece is OOAK but if I receive a custom request I will try to recreate a facsimile with enough of a twist to ensure it is still unique. I buy my supplies from a variety of sources and give the time, effort and learning curve in building these relationships. This is propriety knowledge… If I told you, I would have to kill you…..
HOW TO WEAR KATROX
Oftentimes my client’s send me photo’s wearing my pieces. I think it is either best to pair the piece with something elegant, dramatic, body conscious, and sensuous (think Donna Karan) or something completely kooky and over the top!! Conservative does not really work for me, but some of my best clients make it work for them. Lady Gaga is always a good source…LOL!!
ABOUT SELLING ON ETSY
At the present time I do not sell in any brick and mortar stores. Several boutiques have taken an interest in consigning my work but that is not something I am currently pursuing. I sell on Etsy since this venue caters to those with artistic inclinations and allows me to be fluid in customizing the selling and buying process so that most can afford my work.
ADVICE FOR ASPIRING DESIGNERS
If I had to give advice to other women who have an interest in making jewelry, I would simply say Believe in Yourself. Be bold and take risks. Please yourself first. Authenticity sells. Feel the energy. Be the love.
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