Art is everywhere. It’s sometimes inevitable. In art & craft, in order to see the bigger picture, you need to set eye on the tiniest of detail. That’s what really matters.
At Merak, we love to bring people who work to inspire others, to our spotlight. So, we had the opportunity to have a little chat with the beautiful and talented Kelly, who keeps inspiring a lot of people with her amazing work of art.
Picture Curtesy: Kelly Graham (@celticsmithy)
So, Kelly Graham. What we should know about her?
I’ve been a Jill of many trades most of my adult life, from creating a succulent garden in my front yard which won a local accolade, to doing boards and batten in my home, to being a full-time jeweller operating a website since 2006, to being inspired to make a penny floor from a similar project I saw on the internet.
How long have you been a silversmith?
I started out as an apprentice to a prestigious store in Texas, and then moved to attend one of the best technical schools to learn all facets of jewellery design, from stone setting, lost-wax casting and repair work. I went on to work for a few master jewellers before I decided to take matters in my own hands and sell online my own particular brand and niche.
Have you always been fascinated with crafting Bohemian?
I’m a bohemian soul. It’s always pleased the muse within, as well as Celtic inspired jewellery.
How did it happen?
There’s every day me, who does everyday things like everyone else, but the moment I’m at my bench, and a wave of inspiration settles over me, I let that muse go full force.
From the way I see it, you are balancing out life perfectly. Kids, work, leisure and you even find time to come up with something extraordinary. We would love to hear it from you.
Thank you for seeing it as balanced! Far from it, but when I was designing the penny floor, my kids were quite young, and I had them help me by sorting pennies. No one would help me but them, so I credit them for keeping me slightly more sane during the process!
The penny floor was impressive. Something that went viral for its originality and the breathtakingly beautiful outcome. Be it the initial plan, the design and the execution. We were all ‘floored’. Walk us the history of it please.
Thank you! I saw some penny floors on a few websites perusing Pinterest probably, and I decided I loved it and had to do it. The members of my family were not impressed and told me they weren’t crazy about pennies being scattered on the floor whichever way. I think that initial statement led me to make one anyway, because I’m determined when my mind is made up, but that I’d go a step further and create something they’d end up saying, “Hmmm. Okay. Not bad, then.” which is all I was expecting from it. After the pennies were sorted in groups according to brightness, I began to glue them on the floor. It took a few tries to get the groove going, but, again, that muse popped up and helped me out. I had no pattern set out, I had no math in my head, but because I have an eye for detail and symmetry, I think this helped me get the pattern to how you see it now. Yes, I did the whole thing by eye. I did change the centre a few times because this was a 3 week project and I had time to make changes as I went along, so the photos you see in stages is why they differ a bit.
Brilliant. Speaking of small-scale businesses around the world, how do you find your customers?
Because I have an online business, I have a fairly large reach into the webs and have shipped all over the world. I make each piece of jewellery myself, so nothing is pre-made in advance.
Have you thought of expanding yours?
I haven’t thought about it because it’s important to me the piece reflect love, care, time and patience. Much like the penny floor. I’ve stayed small, but I’m always open for new ideas and challenges!
Has the pandemic affected business in any way?
Yes, business slowed down a bit, but I decided to take a different direction and make face masks to sell in order to help out the general public since none really could be found at the time.
Will you be rivalling the penny floor any sooner?
I have started something on the fireplace mantle and hearth and I have been inspired by a drawing I did that I may make into mosaic tiles and incorporate the tiling with the pennies.
Do you have a project in mind?
Oh, I always have some sort of thought twirling around in my head, much to the chagrin of my family.
Anything else you want to add? May be a few words out to your fans?
My fan base is so supportive! When I went viral, so many reached out to tell me how much they appreciated the time and patience it took to make that floor. They also jumped in to correct other people claiming the floor as their own. They were quick to reference me and I am truly grateful for that kind of support. Artists have each other backs in moments like these! I also tried my best to answer questions from people the best I was humanly able to do so. I believe being a real person reaching out to others makes the penny floor seem to take life because I’m doing my absolute best to reply to people and their questions as a compassionate and artistic person probably should!
It sure is. Thank you so much, Kelly. You gave us your time despite all the difficult things going on around us. You are such a humble person and this interview shows. On behalf of Merak and the entire team, we wish you luck with your life and any future projects you will land on.
Find more about Kelly’s works on her instagram @celticsmithy / Facebook @alternativebridaljewelry and her website.