My name is Kelly, and I am the owner and creator behind Midwest Alchemy. I live in a small, historic town in northern Ohio with my wonderfully supportive husband and youngest son; our oldest sons are grown and living on their own. Having lived in the Midwest for most of my life, I have grown to appreciate the slower pace at which life seems to travel here.
I create copper rings and pendants from my home studio, utilizing raw gemstones and minerals. To make my wearable, modern specimens, I use electroforming, which is the process of controlling a metal deposit onto a conductive surface. This process allows me to explore opportunities that may not be feasible with traditional metal-working techniques.
I design each of my pieces so that it feels organic and appears to be emerging directly from the copper. I also strive to create pieces that are accessible but at the same time unique, capturing a piece of natural history and transforming it into a wearable art.
I am intrigued by the exact set of circumstances that surround the formation of particular gemstones and mineral specimens. Lately, I have been researching the history and lore surrounding various specimens, recording cultural references as well as their chemical compositions. My favorites are hemimorphite from China, zincite from Poland, and spinel from Sri Lanka.
I often create what I consider to be storyboards displaying a variety of raw gemstones, organic items and found objects. I find that it is a great way to organize my thoughts into functional designs. As my pieces are being created, I am sometimes struck with vivid visual images: a rose and thicket; a storm rolling over the plains; the barnacle-crusted bow of a boat. They all seem to materialize from pieces that have no direct relation.
Whether you consider yourself a craftsman, artisan or hobbyist, I think it’s important to remember that there is a story behind every object created — a story that elicits a reaction. Now, not everyone is going to relate or react to your story, those who do make a personal connection. I want my products to make that connection, and increase their owners appreciation of the handmade process.
Over the years, I have had to balance being an artist with running an artistic business. I’ve developed an entrepreneurial mindset, constantly researching, learning, adapting and streamlining my process to be most efficient and cost effective while keeping my focus on craftsmanship and artistic expression.
Etsy has been influential in the revival of the handmade movement by offering a platform on which there can be an exchange of products. It has allowed me to produce my work and present it to a global market that is not separated by geographical boundaries. More importantly, Etsy provides the opportunity for buyers and sellers to connect on a personal level.
All photographs by Midwest Alchemy.