Karin Beij Designs
I'm a generalist with many interests and work experiences (ranging from farming to urban design and transportation planning). I came to art through craft, design and travel.
Years ago (while in school for landscape planning and design) I decided to approach living as an open design inquiry: “What new opportunities, what propitious relationships can be created out of these existing conditions?” This inquiry has gradually become my artistic process, an intuitive dialogue between imagination, intention and materials (conditions). Design questions and relationships can be felt in the body, and good design hums with vital energy. I am intrigued and spurred on by the mysteriousness of this, and am delighted by aberrant outcomes. The more diverse the materials considered in the mix, the more interesting the experience. When all is flowing, I am a humble facilitator, a playful maker poised with hammer between question and being.
I am particularly jazzed by repurposing materials, reconciling differences in object/material character and form, juxtaposing methods, and leaving a tale of markings in the making. I strive to listen to materials and bring out their soulfulness in my artwork, with the belief that when materials are allowed to express their native character they lend their history and essence to the final piece.
My current mixed metal/mixed material jewelry is influenced by nature meets urban, East meets West. Born and raised on a farm in New Hampshire, I traveled extensively from the age of 17—particularly in Himalayan Asia, where in the 1980s I went on an edgy pilgrimage through Western Tibet. The boldness of ornamentation style among the Tibetan nomads still echoes in my work, as does the ornate and primal design of tribal textiles and jewelry I encountered in Peshawar after leaving China. The urban influence is from living full bore in the densely populated San Francisco Bay Area for 18 years. I’ve recently moved back to New Hampshire to help out my elderly parents, and can already see natural element newly influencing my designs.