Oct 29 2013
Kay Wang, the artist behind jewelry collection The Things We Keep, is a jack of all trades. Not only is she the creator of a beautiful, architecturally crafted collection but if you’re one of the many who follow her day to day via Instagram you’d know that it’s much more than that. Kay is a lady with an incredible eye, someone who’s regularly on an adventure you wish you were a part of and seems to always be having goods eat with great people. Lucky for us she let us in to her home to check out all her treasures and get the scoop on the jewelry that we can’t wait to get our hands on.
Tell us a little about yourself…
I’m originally from Flushing, Queens, then spent a boatload of time in Seattle, some time in Los Angeles and now finally back in New York. In my former corporate life, I spent nearly nine years working in digital marketing/online advertising but became especially restless in my latter few years; I pooled together what little savings I’d stowed away to start the business and have since made the switch full time to what I do now about a year and a half ago.
Where do you live?
In a studio apartment with my boyfriend, two cats and one dog in the BedStuy area of Brooklyn, New York.
Slowly making my way through 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.
Favorite neighborhood hang:
Cinnamon Girl for coffee, Scratchbread for stoop brunch. Also, our building roof.
When did you start TTWK?
The idea came about in 2010, then became a legally liable entity in 2012.
What’s the story behind the name?
I was contemplating a move out of LA and at the same time entering my late twenties, and got really overwhelmed with the amount of “stuff” I had and the potential nightmare of a cross country move. As I started talking to friends, I realized that so many people around me were shifting focus from quantity, excess, material goods and the like to paring down to only basics, the quality pieces that meant something significant to them, the things they would end up keeping with them always. Thus, The Things We Keep was born.
Can you describe TTWK in 5 words or less?
Well made simple, elegant jewelry.
How long does a piece take from start to finish? Can you tell us about the process?
The entire process is broken down into phases, so it’s really hard to say exactly. A particular piece or style can start to take shape in wax over the course of a half hour or up to a few hours total, and still only be half complete depending on the style, at which point it goes to the casters and comes back to me as a very rough piece in metal. That gets cleaned up, which can take anywhere from a half hour to overnight, and then gets sent back to the casters for a mold and/or a second/third/fourth iteration, which then starts the cleanup process all over again. When all’s said and done, from initial concept to finished piece, shortest case scenario would be a few days, longest case scenario can be around three weeks.
What inspires you?
So many things! Modern and ancient architecture, patterns man-made and natural, especially if it’s serendipitous like the shapes the afternoon light makes through my windows, the textures and surfaces of rocks, and the intrinsic sense of balance in all good sculpture.
You’re a jewelry designer by trade but we’ve heard you dabble in ceramics and woodworking. Can we expect to see some pieces in these mediums from you soon?
I hope so! Being a jeweler takes up quite a bit of my time already as is, but I really love the process of making ceramics and would love to find a way to incorporate more ceramics and woodwork into my product offerings eventually.
I’m currently working on finalizing AW14, so that should be done within the next month or so. I’ll also be starting at a new clay studio soon too, which means I’ll finally be able to pick up my ceramics work again which I’m really looking forward to (and hopefully find ways to incorporate more ceramic work into the mix!).
Thanks, Kay. Shop her collection here.
Photos by Will Foster.