Honed: Engineering a Wearable Sculpture
It takes mindful intention to do brilliant things simply and to make simple things brilliant.
Upon meeting Claire Kinder of HONED jewelry boutique and atelier, I am transported to her creative world. There is a flow to her dress that reminds me of wisping fog, settling atop the Puget Sound. She begins our meeting by describing the stones that adorn her work as phantasmal. She smiles warmly, her eyes bright, her voice unwavering as she talks of her passions and endeavors. Originally from Vermont, she came of age attending an art school in Brooklyn, NY where she was classically trained as a goldsmith. As a student, she then transitioned into a retail expert, where she developed not only her craft, but also a knack for business and connecting with her customer base.
Much of what she communicates about her vision is specific: she hopes to help people find wearables that speak to both the consumer and the artist.
She shows me the thin finery of her Epée ring, her design, inviting me to test its strength as she discusses her creative process. This particular creation was made from an extremely fine wire, and appeared impossibly delicate.
I hesitate, concerned I will distort the rounded perfection. I pinch enough to indent my fingertips and it doesn't give. So I challenge it a bit more. Firm, shined, though small in my thick hands it is unabashedly bold in its strength.
"Buckminster Fuller discussed designing with triangles for structural soundness." She smiles knowingly and tells Sam and I of her personal philosophy. “Jewelry,” she says, " is [a] design for a lifetime. My description [of it] is micro-architecture that is simple, sensual, enriching."
Our conversation circles to the need for accessible art, introducing the idea of jewelry as sculpture, in its engineering as well as in its precision and design. Claire pauses. We were already sold on her process but the follow-up speaks to what truly matters to her: accessibility.
If the pieces, beautiful, unique, and thoughtfully-made, are so far from affordable, then something was missed in the process. Claire never forgets that. It is a reminder to create pieces at a variety of price points. Art is best when it is accessible to everyone.
Since school, she has been plying her trade to build wholesale relationships and to stabilize her growing business, customizing pieces as consumers ask.
She is visibly excited and cautious about this process. Her colleagues’ experiences make her wary of mistakes, as she notes that something small to one customer may be immeasurably valuable to another. She touches on this only to further elaborate on the importance of understanding materials. The thoughtful creation of commissioned pieces being highly prized.
She is an artist, an engineer, a metallurgist, a skilled craftsperson; someone who wears so many hats inevitably needs support. She describes her desire to make it on her own, but notes how the reality of getting there was only made real by her support network. Family, friends, other artists contributed to make HONED a reality. Building a dream is a communal process, and Claire is humbled by their contributions to her business.
By her side through it all is Charlie, a source of vibrant energy. He buzzed around the shop and spaces allowing her time to sit with us; however when patrons came, he let the maestro explain her work.
It is their easy give-and-take that makes the shop function. Even Stormy, the shop dog, plays a role, greeting people and reminding them that this space is a commitment to the pieces and also the lives lived inside.
In that business workspace, Claire is seeking patrons. We know we will return to be part of that story and acquire her adornments. They are refined sculptures, some no bigger than a ladybug. Each blissfully unique and dazzlingly eye-catching, surely pieces of fascination.
Tuesday - Friday 12:00pm-7:00pm
Saturday - Sunday 11:00am-6:00pm
Contact Honed at +1 (206)497-7434