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Jewelry Designer Beth Kukuk Makes Playful, Edgy Wearable Art

Each of Beth’s original pieces are a celebration of individuality. Crafted one-by-one from her home studio in Southern California, each handmade item is nuanced and unique. Her use of natural materials with fluency and clarity makes for bold and beautiful designs that are lightweight and comfortable. 

Beth keeps her creative energies tapped into the culture and makes relevant pieces that align with our collective story. She’s donating a portion of proceeds from her VOTE necklace to When We All Vote. We can’t think of a better reason to treat ourselves to some new accessories!

Beth shares what she’s learned in over 15 years of making art amidst a busy life:

What do you create?

I make tiny works of art that you can wear every day to feel simply beautiful, aka jewelry.

Tell us about making jewelry!

I started making jewelry as a creative outlet when my boys were babies. I had learned all sorts of jewelry making in high school art but just filed that passion away for 12 years. Since I didn’t have access to or space for the tools and equipment I was used to working with, I developed a jewelry line that I could make at my dining room table.

If you didn’t have a creative job, what would you be doing?

In my previous life, before kids, I was a kitchen designer. I had originally gotten a BA in business, then went back to school for interior design. I loved being a designer and helping people plan their kitchens. I thought of it as a place of family nourishment and the center of our busy lives.

What is the best part about what you create?

I love hearing what my jewelry means to the people that buy it. It’s the best part of what I do. It means so much to listen to the special meaning that gals attach to a necklace they’ve picked out for someone important to them. It could be a three heart necklace representing her three children, a two heart necklace sent to a friend that needs some extra support when you can’t be there in person, a tiny star necklace for graduation, and so many others!

How do you stay inspired + avoid creative ruts?

I take time off, find time to be quiet, and allow my mind to wander. Being out in nature does wonders for my creativity. When I’ve had an especially busy time and feel a bit stuck, I find that taking some time to organize my workspace really helps. I usually find bits and pieces of all sorts of projects, and reorganizing them sparks fresh ideas.

Favorite songs for boosting creativity?

I’m a big fan of listening to audiobooks and podcasts while I work, but I switch to music when I need to get those creative juices flowing. I prefer music that I can’t sing along to, sometimes classical, or an instrumental playlist that my son puts together.

How does creativity bring goodness to your life?

I really needed a creative outlet, especially when I first started making jewelry, almost 20 years ago. I felt like I was just reacting to everything around me (three young, active boys!) It felt amazing to have a few moments of quiet time, let an idea come, and then to take the time to experiment and create it. The process is just as important as the outcome!

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I used to want to be an art teacher.

What do people not know about what you do?

People are always surprised that I don’t spend 100% of my time making jewelry. I would say the actual making is less than 20% of my time. Much of my time is spent on other aspects of the business, like social media, marketing, updating my website, email marketing, and photography.

What made you decide to start doing what you do?

My sister got me started. My sister, Colleen, was a jewelry designer, and I loved her line. I started doing jewelry parties to sell her pieces and eventually started having ideas for articles that I wanted to wear. So, I started making some pieces for myself and finally selling them. It really grew very gradually into what it is today. I was a full-time mom with three kids in three different schools and seven different sports, so I was quite busy with carpool, homework, and the like. I was very grateful to be able to work on the jewelry when I could. As the boys grew up and needed me less and less, I was able to put more time into the business.

Do you feel like you have a creative community? If so, how did you find them?

Yes! I rely so heavily on my community. I’ve met most of them through art festivals and trade shows and have been able to stay in touch through Facebook groups.

Let’s be real, what’s the hardest/most frustrating thing about what you do?

Not being able to do it all. I have way more ideas about what I want to accomplish than I can manage. I dream about having a bigger space and hiring an entire staff to do all the things. But, having two kids in college, living in Southern California, and the year 2020 doesn’t allow for making a big investment in my business at the moment!

Have you ever considered throwing in the towel? What stopped you?

I probably think about this once a month, but only for a split second. Thankfully, I have constant reminders of how much I appreciate working for myself and love creating something that brings so much joy to my customers.

What’s your favorite piece?

Typically whatever I just made! I’m always most excited by my newest pieces. I’ve loved to wear my Wildflower Post Earrings for the past several months. They look great with a mask; they’re not too fancy, so I don’t feel overly dressed-up when I’m just running into the grocery store, heading for a walk on the beach, or catching up on Netflix.

You can shop Beth’s collection at Beth-Jewelry.com, and keep up with her on Instagram at @bethjewelry!

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Art, love, family, brunch, t-shirts, tacos or potted plants. Whatever you're using your gifts to create- we are here for it!

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