I had the great pleasure of visiting artist and jewelry designer, Kathleen Whitaker, last week in her beautiful Echo Park home and studio. I was first introduced to Kathleen’s work by my friend, Joanna Williams of Kneeland Co Mercado , and I’ve been coveting her earrings ever since I laid my eyes on them. Kathleen’s collection is so delicate and simple and has just the right amount of edge that makes them each so perfect. I was thrilled to have a morning with her in her home and studio and bear witness to the beautiful design aesthetic that is the world around her and the influence on her designs.
I really loved the interior design of Kathleen’s place and the color palette was so calm and soothing while still using a beautiful rich palette of purples and pinks. Her sensibility rang so true to me after seeing her place and I totally connected her jewelry designs with the items she chose to place in her home. Everything was minimal and natural but also with a sense of tradition and classicism. There was a subtle luxury to her space in moments of porcelain and gold, very reminiscent of her gold jewelry designs.
Kathleen grew up in NYC and worked in the PR side of the financial world for a large portion of her career before she moved to Los Angeles in 2002. After arriving on the west coast, she decided to take various art classes at Otis College of Design to re-connect with her undergraduate studies in Ceramics at Tulane University. One of the classes she took was jewelry fabrication and she soon started to experiment with designs for her friends and herself. One night at a party, actress Whitney Cummings spotted her jewelry and asked if she could show it to her friend and Editor of Lucky magazine, Marlien Rentmeester. The rest as they say…is history. She soon started to design on the side and transitioned into full time designing in 2009.
Kathleen’s 30 piece collection includes both earrings and rings and is made of 14k and 18k gold from her own wax castings. She has become most famous for her beautiful individual earrings that can be mixed and matched as well as worn in multiples for those with several piercings. It is so hard to decide which are my favorites as each one of them is so beautiful and elegant. These are the earrings that you wear everyday and don’t take off. The simple earrings that you want to wear with everything, all the time. The subtleties of her pieces are beyond beautiful and her ethos is completely in line with my love of classic design and handmade artisanal quality.
Of course, I had to try on several of my favorites and ended up leaving with two amazing pairs! One gifted to me by Kathleen for my recent 40th bday, and the other a bday treat to myself. I’ve been switching between the two pairs since I got them and everyday it is hard to figure out which one to leave the house in! All of the earrings range in price between $30 to $450 for each individual earring.
Kathleen is doing amazing with her collection and is in some of the top boutiques and online stores around the world including Tomorrowland, La Garconne, Beautiful Dreamers, Cul de Paris, Gravel and Gold, Chay, Tenoversix, Super A Market and Maryam Nassir Zadeh to name but a few.
Be sure and check out Kathleen’s website and see more of her daily snapshots on instagram @kathleenwhitaker
And for those of you in the Los Angeles area, you can meet her and check out her collection at The Echo Park Craft Fair on May 11th and 12th.