Boundless Skies with Katy Kyle

Coming up in another week is the opening of “Boundless Skies, A Two Woman Show” a collaboration of paintings by Rebekah Nordstrom and jewelry by Katy Kyle. I wanted to sit down with both of them and talk a little bit about their work and hear from their voice what the show means to them. Working together with these two ladies has been a real treat and something we all have been talking about since last October. I got the opportunity to sit down with Katy Kyle first and visit her home studio where all the magic happens.

Katy in her kitchen getting ready to make some jewelry.

Katy in her kitchen getting ready to make some jewelry.

Katy Kyle currently resides in Flagstaff, AZ and her jewelry can be found at Sage Brush and Will McNabb. She had spent quite a bit of her time learning hands on while working with other jewelers early on such as Mary Margaret Brusard in DC and Thomas Mann in New Orleans. After learning the basics and getting a good understanding of the craft she furthered her knowledge by going to school for jewelry making in Minneapolis. “I always had a little set up in my kitchen and taught myself. Going to school allowed the space to just do the one thing, and focus on jewelry only.” Katy said when talking about her evolution into being a jewelry designer.

When doing upholstery work she was inspired by the velvet fabric from an old chair and experimented with metal and fabric.

When doing upholstery work she was inspired by the velvet fabric from an old chair and experimented with metal and fabric.

The aspect of her work I find so interesting and excited to share with others is Katy’s ability to work with other materials other than metal. She has a deep admiration for the natural world and pushes her boundaries with the different materials she works with such as carving acrylic, coral, wood or just trying different things.

“In my heart of heart I would love to make really crazy pieces, one of a kind and working with others on commission pieces that are special and different.” Katy mentions when discussing the work she loves to create.

Katy has had a multi-faceted career weaving her knowledge with other skilled jobs such as woodworking and furniture reupholstery. These techniques add to her work as a jewelry maker and her abilities to try new things, to expand her horizons.

“You just keep learning and always wanting to make stuff,” says Katy Kyle.

Where does your inspiration come from?

“Boundless skies I feel that has always been something that has been a huge influence on me, the birds, sky and stars,” Being on the road at another point in her life the sky was always there and she found it to be ever interesting. She points out the colors in the sky, “pink skies are amazing.” And nature, a theme she continually brings up “When you are in the city you find the nature wherever you are at. So it doesn’t matter where you are you will always find it, nature.”

A sneak peek at one of Katy’s creations for the show. Turquoise carved into a cloud with rain.

A sneak peek at one of Katy’s creations for the show. Turquoise carved into a cloud with rain.

Tell me a little about Boundless Skies and collaborating with Rebekah Nordstrom.

“Working with Rebekah Nordstrom is always inspiring. I went out with her one time when she went out to paint to see how that all worked. Seeing her being so hard working with her painting is inspiring. It doesn’t really matter if you don’t want to do it, you said you were going to do it so go do it. It really pushes me to do the same, watching other people inspires me to do the same and work the same. It makes me think differently, if the only thing I do today is maybe not the best but I am still doing it.”

Katy has a painting of Rebekah’s in her line of sight at her workbench to remind her.

“When I think about boundless skies, I just keeping thinking clouds. Sketching out tons of ideas, some stick and some don’t. Every piece I am making is from nature, turquoise stone carved into a cloud. I love that it is all of the earth but yet representing the sky. Working with the chosen materials is kind of difficult because they do what they want. So I have to just go with it and understand how I can make that work.”

Katy’s father was a dentist and has some of his old unused drill bits. They are tiny and she uses some of them to work with the coral. “I think my dad would like that, I love that I get to use his tools and makes me feel connected to him.”

An origami crane flying above Katy’s jewelry bench.

An origami crane flying above Katy’s jewelry bench.

Tell me about your love for birds.

I met Katy many years ago and I remember seeing a ring she had made, it was a silver sparrow head wrapped around her finger. It was beautiful and so different. I have heard her talk about birds many times and asked her to expand more on it.

For a big part of her life she had a driving job on the road with a photographer, driving a van. She pointed out when you are on the road for so long there isn’t much continuity except for the sky and birds. “I learned to identify birds and would try to identify them when we would stop. The one thing that made me excited to visit new places was to watch the birds and identify them. How they are at feeders and together, in the sky.

“I was visiting a friend in Monterey and he worked with the condors and I got to see them, amazing and dinosaur like. One of the most amazing things I have ever seen, one flew over my head. There wingspan was incredible. It is never ending about birds, they are always there everywhere you go. Endlessly interesting and accessible.”

Any advice for those wanting to get into jewelry?

“Jump in with two feet, go to school even if it just a tech school. I was always under the impression that when I was young that doing art wasn’t much of a career and your going to struggle. You are going to struggle anyways so do the thing you like. Have confidence, know that you can do it and have the guts to do it. “

To see more of Katy’s work you can visit her on instagram @katykylejewelry.

Stay tuned next week for Part Two featuring Rebekah Nordstrom. Boundless Skies opens at The HeArt Box in downtown Flagstaff on February 1st, 6-9pm, it is going to be a sight to see!