We had the good fortune of connecting with Karen Edgerly and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Karen, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
My work-life balance has dramatically changed over time. I never really thought about it when I was working and raising my kids. I was a “yes” girl and loaded my plate until it overflowed; work, kids, family, travel and socializing. I was stopped in my tracks about 10 years ago when a serious health issue changed my life. Ever since then, I stop to think about my work-life balance on a weekly basis. I ask myself these questions: what do I want to add to my workload? What travel makes sense and what will stress me out? How can I be more present? It’s ongoing, but I am glad that it is part of my weekly thought process.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
There is a saying in Japan, wabi-sabi, meaning there is beauty in the imperfect. I love jewelry that is slightly off-centered either by stone setting or just a little bend in the metal. When designing a piece I always look for a way to make it slightly imperfect. I want people wearing my jewelry to feel they own a piece that no one else does, and one the feels like is has been especially made for them. Each piece holds its own story in either the stones, glass, rust or just the design. Having majored in geology and art, I love all types of stones and rocks – knowing their science along with their art form, makes working with stones particularly fun. I got where I am today by following my passions. Having majored in both art and science has allowed me to take two different paths at different times in my life. I was a science teacher for 20 years and 10 years ago I left that career to follow my other passion of silversmithing. Since I was 17, I wanted to make jewelry full-time. I took silversmithing in high school and all through college and then on and off while I taught. But 10 years ago I put all my energy into being a full-time silversmith and starting KarenEdgeStudio. Was it easy? It has flowed and I have had to learn how to sell my wares. I would say that I have met great people along the way, that have been so helpful both in improving my skills and helping me sell. I would like the world to know that passion is key and also grit. The willingness to learn from others is so helpful. My jewelry embraces the fine craft of silversmithing using various techniques and plays with mixing silver with other metals and always adding the sparkling aspect of faceted stones. And yes there is imperfection in beautiful jewelry.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am an outside girl at heart. So, I would take them camping and mountain biking in western Colorado. We would stop on our way and eat great Mexican food and drink margaritas. Then for a couple days we would check out different mountain bike trails, especially ones along the Colorado River. Then other friends would join us and camp in the desert. We would have big campfires at night with friends playing their instruments and serenading us. Then toward the end of the week, we would all do a float trip on the river. That night we would cook up a big Greek dinner at the campsite; lamp on the grill, Greek Salad, and risotto. Also, just for fun we would all dress up in fun costumes to celebrate life.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Yes, I would like to dedicate my shoutout to Boulder Metalsmithing Association (BoMA) and my mom. I was on the board of BoMA eight years ago and presented an idea about training art teachers with silversmithing skills. The president of the board jumped at the idea and we wrote a grant. We have successfully run the program now for six years and it’s growing. The program had been an idea in my head for some years and I am so thankful that it came to fruition and that BoMA made it happen. I’d also like to send a shoutout to my mom. Who originally when I was younger and wanted to be a silversmith discouraged me, but when I left my teaching career of 20 years to be a silversmith, she was all in. She went and found a fantastic gem shop in San Francisco that she would take me to and buy gems for my birthday and holiday gifts. She was so excited to see my business grow and couldn’t have been prouder.