Artist Interview: Katie Elderkin of Star Native

Katie Elderkin is a jewelry designer who's craft is centered around the moon and the many stars in the sky. The crystals in her silver jewelry are reflective of these elements with their sparkle and luminescence. Back in the days of what I fondly like to refer to as our 'bohemian blogging circle' I stumbled across the Star Native blog. I was instantly attracted to her work. I still wear my simple brass arrowhead necklace from Star Native all the time! Its one of my favorites. I was so happy to be able to spotlight Katie and her amazing designs in this artist interview. 

I can’t even remember for how long I have been following you, its been years! It was nice to be able to connect with a fellow metal smith and moon child. I am so glad to be interviewing you today!

Thank you for interviewing me Ally! I feel honored! I've loved watching you evolve through out the years. I find you very inspiring!

What would you say is your greatest inspiration? I know you use a lot of moon shapes in your pieces. These are some of my personal favorites of yours. Are the moon and stars a big part of your inspiration? The cosmos….

I've always been enamored by the moon and stars. As a young girl, my mom used to read this fairy tale to me called The Moon Ribbon. I'm not sure if that sparked my love affair with the moon but I definitely remember the feeling I had listening to that story. I still have the book to this day! Designing with a moon shape is definitely my favorite! I have so much fun designing with a crescent moon. I don't know what it is about that shape but it just feels good and works well into any design. So I would say the cosmos definitely is a huge influence in my work and even my name and branding. The name Star Native comes from the belief that we came from the stars and will return to the stars one day.

What are some of your favorite stones to work with? I know Ive seen a lot of moonstone and labradorite in your pieces as of late, are those two of your favorites?

Moonstone and labradorite are definitely favorites! I fall in love with anything that plays with light. It doesn't have to just be the flash of moonstone or labradorite. The angles of a raw quartz reflecting light or the sparkle of a druzy also have my heart! Lapis is another favorite. I love how the pyrite shimmers in the light. I also love anything in my favorite colors, purple or teal.

What is the process behind your work? Do you draw everything out or sort of just let the stones dictate your designs?

I usually always draw something out. I put the stone down on paper, outline it and draw around it. But most times, the design begins in my mind first. I will just see a design in my minds eye and then go sketch it down so I don't forget. This happens a lot as I'm trying to fall asleep. I don't usually start making anything until I have an idea of what I'm doing but as I'm in the making process, sometimes the design morphs a little.

Are you self taught or is metal smithing something you studied in school?

I didn't study metal smithing in school but I did take classes at the local rec department when I was living in Florida. I learned all the basics there and then slowly bought the equipment to have a home studio. A lot of the jewelry I make now is trail and error. Once you know the basics, you can figure out a lot on your own. I do want to take more classes to learn more advanced techniques that I can't quite wrap my head around.

I have really loved seeing the progression in your work since I started following you. What are some of your favorite new pieces?

I think every new piece I make is my new favorite! I love the moon necklaces with wire that I've been making lately. I think some of my all time favorites are my shield rings.

What are some of your other favorite jewelry designers?

Aurora Shadow is definitely a fave! I have several of her pieces. Mania Mania, Pamela Love and Lady Grey are some of my other favorites.

Do you have any other artistic endeavors? I know your boyfriend (I mean fiance!) Is a talented wood worker. You guys are like the artistic power duo! What are some of your other artistic hobbies?

Aww thanks! Yes, I'm so proud of him and his wood working. When he had more time, he was learning lapidary. I'd love for him to get back to that so he can be my stone supplier! But I'm not sure that is in the cards any time soon. But eventually, I'd love for us to get the equipment to cut all our own stones. I'd like to learn how to do that too. Other than that, I just do silly crafts or rework old furniture for our home. I used to draw a lot but can't seem to find the time these days. One day I'd like to learn how to paint. I have a massive blank canvas and it has been intimidating me for years! One day I will tackle it!

I always love to ask, is there any exciting new projects in the works? Is there anything you can share with us?

As soon as I find my wedding dress, I am going to make some fancy jewelry to wear on the big day. Depending on the dress, it might be a jeweled belt, shoulder harness, arm bands, foot/ankle jewelry. I'm not sure yet! But I want to get creative with that and who knows, maybe that will be my next jewelry line!


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