We had the good fortune of connecting with Dorothee Kumpe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dorothee, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I was born in Lauterbach, Germany and raised in the countrysides of Hessen. Growing up in a village in the countryside is beautiful and very different from what most people know and understand to be every day life. I enjoyed daily hiking and exploring. Seeing wildlife in ancient forests and discovering plants and bugs. I loved this part of my childhood.
In stark contrast, I later came to South Florida with my family. Here I embraced the sunshine and all the marvels that the ocean had to offer: seashells and crab life; floating seeds, and fish. These things were so fascinating and inspiring to me.
My father was a world traveler and he always had an affinity for art and culture. A huge part of this was jewelry and traditional artfully artisan made pieces. He would always get off the plane with some sort of something for us: a crystal point or a strand of hand made beads. After my father passed away a few years back, I went through boxes of his things that I had stored and found a treasure trove of beads, shells, and other jewelry chachkis from that time. This transported me to my childhood and I remembered sitting at the long table and simply creating and allowing the natural creative energy to flow: how I longed for that in my life now!
And so it begun in late 2020, I put all my years of drawing and designing and collecting of odds and ends to use. I created Deep Purpose jewelry. Through copper forming, carving, plating, wrapping, and assembling, I have tapped back into the very beautiful memories of my childhood and finally had the freedom to showcase my art. Many of the pieces have organic centers: the scorpions are real encased scorpions; the leaves and shells are all real and mostly collected and re-purposed for a deeper purpose in the jewelry. A second life: not just for the re-worked objects, but also for the copper remnants I use, and lastly, for me: as the droning of everyday life and endless hours of working for others, this finally enabled me to have and create for myself in a way that helped me bring beauty and health and love to others.
This is Deep Purpose.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve always had a very strong creative streak: acrylic painting, mixed media large scale pieces, and later, I translated my affinity for art and artifice into collecting vintage clothing and leather goods. I’ve had this creative outlet of a side hustle selling the aforementioned for the better part of 20 years. It was only in the recent years that I started creating and selling my jewelry.
Copper fascinates me: it has such a rich history throughout all world cultures and is said to have amazing effects on joints and muscles. It is said that those that worked in Copper mines never had arthritis or serious inflammatory issues. The way that copper can be formed, wrapped, plated, etc made it the perfect material to give my pieces a second life. I was able to completely copper form organic pieces to preserve their form and in essence, their power.
The biggest challenge was moving away from working non-stop jobs for other people. In the beginning of 2021, I was clocking between 60-100+ hours a week while juggling 5 jobs: absolute insanity. After understandable burn out,I needed something that my inner child and soul could feel good about, working on my jewelry and creating was the only answer. This was all made possible with support from my family and loved ones.
I am not able (yet) to totally rely on my jewelry to support the bills, and I enjoy that it is something I do out of love, not out of pressure and need, that keeps my spirits up and my journey moving forward.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When I have family visiting from Germany, we tend to take bicycles and ride everywhere that looks like a path less traveled. We see local fresh markets and cook together. We hike with my 3 dogs and always look to enjoy the fresh air and great people watching
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family: my mother Sigrid and brother Daniel have always been supportive and my biggest cheerleaders! They wear my jewelry and always push me to do more. My mother frequently joins me at vendor markets. My romantic partner Michal is also key: he is ever supportive and helps as well on the weekends at the markets. It is to him I owe the spark of starting it all as he saw my creative passion and need to create. He gifted me a rectifier to start my copper forming for Christmas which launched it all into reality.