Kim Kolkow

Kim Kolkow


Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
In beautiful Southern Oregon!

Describe your artistic style.
Vintage pieces mixed with natural components and a hint of Steampunk style. Yes, I like to mix it up. Anything you put in front of me can be incorporated into a jewelry or accessory piece.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
I can be inspired by almost anything. A specific shape or color may be all it takes for an idea to form and from there it takes off running full tilt into a finished design. I am that person that gets an idea, and does it.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Metal. Metal chain, any metal wires and any vintage metal pieces. Love metal. I also love natural components. Gemstones, shells and pearls give a nice natural appeal to soften up that metal look just enough.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Time-to-Shine Sparkling Bridal Bouquet

What inspired this design?
Almost every bride makes a decision regarding their bouquet. What kinds of flowers, how big and for how much money. My friend and co-worker Traci was pondering the outcome of her floral arrangement and what it was she wanted. You see, Traci loves crystals and flowers. Unfortunately for her, she has an aversion to natural flowers thanks to allergies. We were browsing different styles of bouquets online and she happened across some crystal bouquets she thought were the perfect amount of sparkle for her big day. She looked at me and said, "Can you do it?" And I said, "Sure, why not!" From there the ideas started to roll. The bridesmaids bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages were soon to follow.

How did it come together?
I drew out (remember I don't draw so it was more like stick figures) the bouquet on paper for a basic design base. Then I drew the rest of the bridesmaids bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages. Once I had all of the components, it came together in a snap. This was one of those designs that defined itself as I went along and ended up being perfect for the bride.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I started with macramé in high school. I used to beach-comb and would weave bits of shell with cord and wire wrap interesting rocks. I then became a frequent flyer of the local bead shop.

Who introduced you to beading?
A friend's mom was an avid seed beader and would weave the most amazing bracelets, chokers and tapestries. One day she handed me a spool of hemp, gave me a pile of beads and some brief instructions. Voila ... a designer was born.

Do you have an artistic background?
If you were to hand me a paint pallet, graphite or charcoal pencils and asked me to paint or draw you something, you may be sorely disappointed. You'd be lucky to get stick figure drawings. However, hand me some beads, wire or string and the fun begins!

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
Moving to a new community, I needed a job. I saw a banner outside of Fire Mountain saying "Now Hiring." I figured, "Hey, why not?" I walked into the front office and was immediately impressed by the assortment of gemstone items placed around the lobby, not to mention the enticing Fire Mountain Gems and Beads catalog open on the coffee table for anyone to peruse while waiting for assistance. I spent more time looking at the catalog than I did filling out my application. That was in 2002. The rest is history.

What other hobbies do you have?
I have many! Among the favorites are collecting and reading books. I love to read. And, having adventures with my family. That is even better than designing.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
I don't belong to any groups, but I will tell you that this hobby has become a fun part of family time at our home. My mom now loves to tinker with beads and components and our kids absolutely love to see the latest items that I bring home.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
I get satisfaction in creating something unique to my style or helping someone create something that is unique to them. I get to work with people all around the world that love to design jewelry. You could say in a way, this is my full-time career.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I don't market myself a whole lot. Mostly, people will approach me because of something I am wearing or through word of mouth. I lean more towards custom one-of-a-kind pieces.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
Sharing anything that benefits another in a positive way is always charitable. I don't belong to any organizations or causes, but do believe in giving back to your community and encouraging others to do the same.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
If you have discovered jewelry-making, then you already have the basics: beads, components, findings and a spark of creativity. The best advice may be to stay organized. You never know when your idea will turn into a sudden need to create. The last thing you want is to sift through boxes and totes of items to find what it is you are looking for. Doodle out your ideas on paper so they don't float away with other distractions throughout your day. And last, but not least, be yourself.

View all of Kim's designs in the Gallery of Designs.