Visit and shop Kt Ferris Creations online at ktferriscreations.com
Incorporating crystals, spikes and precious metals Brooklyn-based jewelry designer Kt Ferris creates pieces that are truly unique, beautiful and mysterious. Her work is both luxurious and avant-garde. A quality of darkness reminiscent of childhood nightmares echoes from the intricately detailed hand carved metalwork. Ornate designs inspired by nature encase blinking eyes that seem to be peering out from an alternate universe. Through passion and practiced craftsmanship Kt Ferris connects a bridge from another world to our stark reality. Adding to the charm: when a piece is worn the eyelids gently open and close on their own. The artist sells her work out of the 483 Broadway Market in Soho. Her shop display mimics her unique aesthetic; moss filled orbs, dolls heads, unusual vials and bottles create an atmosphere as mysterious as the pieces themselves.
We visited the talented artist at her studio and found it to be an alluring wonderland of curiosities. Amongst the machinery and tools of her trade lie baby doll remnants, stray eyeballs and peculiar antiques. Sitting on the roof of the building for our interview, it seemed only fitting to her mysterious aesthetic that flashes of heat lightning streaked the sky behind her as she spoke of her artist journey and early beginnings.
Her childhood was spent in upstate New York, she was a curious and mischievous tomboy, she soon found an outlet for her energy in art and fashion. A local vintage shop owner gave her a bucket of broken jewelry to play with, early experiments included melting Barbie doll heads in the microwave and assembling jewelry that, much to her surprise, the vintage shop agreed to sell. In high school she further explored her artistic passions with acrylic paintings of odd, unearthly creatures she lovingly calls Smushes. They were born while working at a restaurant one summer during a particularly emotional and uncertain time.
"I remember waking up one day feeling like - something weird is going to happen today. I feel something strange in the air. In my sketchbook at work I just started doodling these creatures"
"I want to make jewelry that someone can put on and feel like I'm going to rock this date or I'm going to kill this job interview. I want people to put it on and feel cool, it's really as simple as that. I want my work to offer a sense of protection, and a feeling of confidence because everybody struggles with insecurities. Maybe you don't know anyone at the party, but you have this necklace on and it's a conversation starter. "
Her hard work paid off, one of the most intriguing aspects of her work is the extraordinary craftsmanship, her skills give her the ability to turn her imagination into wearable expression. There is an indescribable magic that vibrates from each piece that perhaps can be traced to her discerning preferences for materials. While it would be easier to order doll eyes online in bulk, she opts to scour garage sales and flea markets for discarded used dolls. She needs to feel them with her hands and examine their innate character in person. This sentimentality certainly reflects in the finished pieces, she creates from the heart. She values the hand-made process and is particular about the tools and materials she uses to create. A brick of wax is her blank canvas, she doesn't usually sketch out specific ideas but shapes and carves until the piece begins to come to life. Hand-made is not as appreciated as it once was with fast fashion and assembly line processes, people don't always take the time to consider who made what they are buying. Kt creates a personal connection in modern jewelry making and carefully considers the wearer of her jewelry. The function of the blinking eyes in the jewelry is to offer the wearer protection.
She and her friends would sneak out at 3 in the morning and paste them all over town. The SMUSH creatures started out as weird blobs and through practice and exploration they have evolved into the mesmerizing, beautifully strange creatures they are today, she incorporates them into her jewelry and her paintings. She talks about her creatures and her eyeball jewelry as if they are close friends. They grow together, she gets to know them and they evolve into something more familiar and satisfying with every creation. Satisfaction is what she refers to as the biggest challenge for an artist. Many artists can relate to constantly pushing themselves to create stronger work. Dealing with the ups and downs of the creative process is something that she has slowly learned to deal with over time.
"Inspiration doesn't come all the time, there can be creative dry spells that are incredibly frustrating. I've found that forcing it is worse, I've learned to step back and let it come. When it comes I'll stay up for hours on end, I'll be up to 5 in the morning sleep for 2 and get back to it, it's very intense for me "
After high school her interest in clothing and fashion drove her to apply to the Fashion Institute of Technology, but she was initially devastated to learn she wasn't accepted. Despite an uncertainty on her next life step, the rejection propelled her to focus solely on her love for functional jewelry design. She soon found herself at Studio Jewelers, an intense 6-month jewelry craft and design program in Manhattan. She felt at home, encouraged and motivated at the smaller family run program. She worked part time as a waitress until the owner urged her to quit and work for the school as a wax caster. She spent all her time intensely devoted to learning all aspects of the craft and refining her own work during studio hours.