Kate Maller, Founder, Kate Maller Sustainable Fine Jewelry
“I’m a Scorpio, so the number one way to ensure I do something is to tell me I can’t!”
“From the moment I sat behind a Jeweler’s bench at my first metalsmithing class, I knew I had found something special.” Kate Maller was in her final year of her dual Master’s degree program, and dipping her toes into metalsmithing for the first time. She remembers sitting behind the bench sawing through silver, overcome with a feeling of complete satisfaction, amazement, and intense curiosity. She became enamored with the tactile process of making.
Flash forward a handful of years, and Kate is now in full pursuit of jewelry making as her sole vocation.
As a jewelry maker, Kate draws inspiration from her surroundings, experiences, and travels. A recent trip to Bali for a wedding has catalyzed her newest creative endeavor: A bridal line of alternative engagement rings and wedding bands. The line will be made of high-karat gold paired with reclaimed opaque and brilliant diamonds; all materials will be fair-mined, recycled, and/or reclaimed. She finds a distinct joy in creating wearable objects imbued with such intense and special meaning.
Kate’s favorite part of her every day: Sharing her work with others. She draws a profound humbleness from creating pieces that cause others to “light up”, knowing she’s created something that they will treasure for a lifetime. By offering a line of engagement rings in addition to her custom work, she can lower the cost on select items, making her pieces more accessible to many who want to purchase and wear her designs.
Kate describes her work as highly process-driven, hands on, and opportunistic. She often sketches and deliberates design, but allows the real magic to emerge when she begins playing with the material, giving it a new life and form.
Her overall design aesthetic is born from this intuitive, playful, and very much improvised process.
When it comes to her style, Kate prefers to celebrate the beauty of imperfection. While she has an innate sensibility for useful design concepts such as composition, color, scale, and order, she prefers to break tradition, and attributes her success to the uniqueness of her designs. For all intents and purposes, Kate Maller is a rule breaker, and does not intend to stop. “I love making,” she states, “It satisfies my soul, and makes me feel both grounded and alive.”
Aside from jewelry making, Kate has a deep and profound passion for preservation and sustainability. This longstanding commitment to environmental and social justice has shaped Kate’s emphasis on sustainability, and has led her to promote sustainable initiatives through her craft. “I knew I couldn’t source materials, or employ business practices that were harmful to the environment”, she recalls, and has stayed true to that belief throughout her evolution.
Even her dream projects involve this commitment to the environment, including her dream of creating a one-of-a-kind run for her mother, her biggest fan. “I would use gold, hands down, it’s my favorite material to work with”, she notes, specifying: “18k and 22k yellow, alloyed by me, and recycled of course.”
As an entrepreneur and a maker, Kate is constantly challenged, excited, and rewarded by her work. “When I look back at when I started 3.5 years ago, and even 1 year ago, I have come so far”, she says, with the eagerness of a woman watching her business grow and flourish.