Incorporating Art into the Wedding Process with the artist, Kate Furman - Blog by Dorothy Shain
Read Dorothy Shain's full blog post on Kate Furman Jewelry and Art HERE!
In January of 2019, I became engaged to the most handsome, charming, smart and kind Texan, Willy Hendo (as most of you know him on Instagram). After the champagne and celebration had subsided, we knew we needed to get down to the nitty gritty…the planning. I also knew, as an artist, I wanted to incorporate and support other artists and local business in the process. That’s when local, Greenville, SC artist, Kate Furman, landed in my path.
While I knew of Kate and her work, we had yet to cross paths on any projects so I felt excited when she mentioned that she often works with couples to create wedding bands and rings. I instantly jumped at the idea of having her create a custom band for William…..something made locally, made by a Greenvillian, and tied to the city we met / where I grew up. If you don’t already know….I love a story.
It took no convincing before Kate and I were off to the races brainstorming and designing. Aside from being a total joy to work with, Kate listened to our vision, wants and needs and created a perfect, 14 karat gold band. She mentioned that over time, the ring would take on a character of it’s own with bumps and bruises from being nicked and scratched….while it can always be polished out…. I love the narrative those imperfections make.
I thought it would be fun to sit down with Kate and let you get to know her, peek into her studio and see the incredible project we worked on together. My word of wisdom for the newly engaged?! Give her a call. You won’t regret it.
Q & A with Kate Furman
What are some ways you help couples incorporate art into the wedding planning process?
I hand make engagement rings and wedding rings, so that each is a piece of art. There are so many different ways that couples come to me to start the process. Sometimes a partner buys an engagement ring that I already have made, proposes with it and then we work together with the second partner to design the wedding rings. Other times, the couple comes in together, and we do the whole custom process as a team.
My custom process starts with a sketch so we can visualize the design together. I then either source a diamond or gemstone or use an heirloom stone the client already owns (as long as the design calls for stones). I typically then carve a wax model to fit the stone. The client can see it and make sure it is exactly the design they want. I cast the wax into metal, polish the metal and set the stone. The client may be as involved in the steps as they would like to be!
What types of metals do you work in?
My favorite is yellow gold. I typically work in 14k but 18k is also available! I also work in white gold, rose gold, palladium and sterling silver.
What inspires you artistically?
I always say that nature is my biggest inspiration. I love being outside. I love hiking, kayaking, rafting, skiing, biking... Sometimes it just clears my head and lifts my soul. Other times, I find materials that I use in my jewelry. So it's a win-win.
I also love finding a cool, unique gemstone and building around it. I want my jewelry to be meaningful to its new owners, so I put a lot of care and love into what I make. I want it to be unique, quality and special. I hope to make today's heirlooms that are cherished for longer than we are here.
I noticed you have a cute studio assistant....can you tell us a little about him?
That is my Johnny Rose (named for my favorite show on Netflix, Schitt's Creek). He is a Shih Tzu. Every morning he waits by my back door so that he can come to the studio with me, and he is usually so quiet at the studio that I forget he is even there! On the rare day that I don't bring him, I always end up really missing him.
Where can people find your work?
in my studio (547 Perry Avenue), which is open by appointment
Do you have any studio or daily rituals that help your art practice?
Honestly the opposite works for me. Besides going to my studio almost every day, each day within my studio is different. That is what I like about it because it never gets old. Some days I am business planning, grinding metal, turning wood, checking inventory, pricing work, setting a diamond, uploading products to my website, teaching and the list goes on and on. Currently I do almost everything by myself (minus contracting out some things that I am terrible at!), so it is a lot of juggling!
Any other tidbits you want us to know?
I teach drawing and jewelry at GCCA. My studio is located at 547 Perry Avenue in the Village of West Greenville, SC, and I am open by appointment (which you can book through my website). On my website I also have an engagement blog, a jewelry blog, a free downloadable guide to “How to Buy an Alternative Engagement Ring,” tips on buying your man's wedding ring, everything about my custom process for engagement and for other jewelry and the art side of my business. The art side includes my upcoming classes, my illustrated notecards, custom drawings and giclee prints. I recently illustrated my first children’s book for Beth Roberts, an author in Asheville, NC. It will be published soon!