A space explorer and science nerd, Kate Rowland is a Londoner now residing in the countryside, trading the bright lights of the city for the inspiration of actual, visible stars. This Northamptonshire-based illustrator and jewellery designer’s studio is buzzing with ideas that stem from popular culture, TV, movies and science. These ideas soon become wonderful pieces of original jewellery, and are then rolled out via a quirky Etsy shop and all manner of craft markets.
Kate’s jewellery allows us a peek at her personal passions, one of which seems to be science; chemistry beakers bubble away on the end of necklaces and a astronauts bobs about on brooches. Though her aim is for each piece to reflect the personality of the person wearing it, by using her own favourite things as inspiration she draws magpies, curious knowledge-hounds and other pop culture addicts to her.
Each piece is hand-drawn and engraved on to a lightweight poplar plywood which is then laser sculpted in to shape. Depending on the design, Kate’s jewellery is either carefully hand-painted or simply given a touch of shine with a layer of polish. The wood is chosen for its tactile and earthy nature, which perfectly contrasts the astronauts and Breaking Bad meth labs that each piece depicts. Kate’s use of wood as a medium also means, crucially, that no trinket is an exact replica of any other.
While banana earrings and Arrested Development in-jokes are her bread and butter, Rowland has an serious side, too. Inspired by women’s issues, girl power and sailor tats, her range of feminist brooches and pendants are all right-on political statements betwixt ribbons, hearts and floral patterns. It’s stylish, current and we love it.
Kate’s Etsy store channels a wonderfully cute and rustic vibe. Her pieces are displayed perched on wooden benches and among pine cones, balancing on the tips of brogues or overlapping astrology charts. Here, the cool and contemporary contrasts once again with lovely oldy-worldy woodland scenes, charming the hell out of us.
Kate’s work aspires to be playful, funny and affordable, and it hits the nail on the head on all three counts. On top of that, it’s lovable, full of personal quirks and leaves you wanting to be her new best friend. Real thought has gone in to each piece of painstakingly produced jewellery, whether it’s gracing the virtual aisles of Etsy and Not on the High Street or brightening up a Brixton pop-up.
A sneaky peek at Kate’s Instagram feed reveals that this artist has been experimenting with familiar materials and completely new styles, venturing in to using geometrics and our favourite, gold leaf. While we can’t get enough of sugar-skulls, rocket ships trailing puffs of smoke and Ron F*****g Swanson, we’re still pretty excited to see where Kate and her marvellous imagination will take us next.
Find more here
Words: Stef Palmer | @RoboStef