Thursday, August 24, 2017

Featured Exhibitor: On Q Designs


On Q Designs boasts beautiful statement jewelry with a twist... Kate Qualley Peterson sculpts them by hand using a unique metallic clay. Each beautiful piece is like wearing a bronze sculpture, and we love that no two pieces are exactly alike. Her colorful compositions are truly wearable works of art!
Who are you and what do you do?

Kate Qualley Peterson, I make bronze jewelry from a relatively new technique known as powdered metallurgy. Aka, metal clay.

What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?

Every year I pick a leaf motif, but this year I’m making pendants of a ladies face I call Katasha—a character from the “Mikado”. She’s not beautiful, but, “she has an elbow that people come miles to see.”

What do your customers love most about your product(s)?

My jewelry is quite organic, colorful and unique. I know of no other artist working in bronze whose work resembles mine. In a world where jewelry makes up a good percentage of the booths in a show, this is very important. I like working large and the bronze allows me to do this and still keep the price reasonable.

Have you always been passionate about art and design?

Yes. I’ve been a maker all my life. I remember staying after school to draw a portrait of my first grade teacher. Whether making my own clothes from my designs or sewing stall curtains for horse shows, designing the house my late husband and I built together or drawing our horses, I always have to be creating something in some form.

Is this a full-time business for you?

Yes, but I’m a retired school teacher. I didn’t start making to sell until I was 55. Like many, I started making jewelry. Then someone would ask me to make one for them, then I started buying materials wholesale and I had all this inventory—I had to find a way to market it and—voila, I was in business.

Why did you start working in this particular craft?

Traditional jewelry techniques left me a little cold—sawing and soldering. But I loved hand built pottery and this is a little like that only in miniature. I like the direct, get my hands dirty, contact of the clay. Mind you, it’s not really clay. It’s only called that because of the texture. It’s really pure metal.

What do you think sets your designs apart from others?

I kiln fire many times to get “raku-like” color. The Midwest is also not a hotbed for metal clay artists. The nature of the material makes the look very different from jewelry made from traditional techniques. One is not better than the other. They are just different.
Check out more of Kate's designs online, and be sure to stop by her booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 3-5, 2017 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!


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