Meet the Maker Profile

I had the absolute pleasure of being interviewed by Marissa at The DIME Store in Denton as the featured maker for their blog!

“Ironically, growing up, I couldn’t wait to get out and live in a larger city. I didn’t expect to miss Denton, and certainly did not imagine moving back here until I realized how special of a community it is.”


DIME Handmade Harvest time!

It’s almost that time again - the local fall handmade market put together by the lovely folks at The DIME Store! Come by and check out all of the vendors, get a jump on holiday shopping, and support your local makers with quality handmade goods!! New venue this year at the Denton Convention Center at the Embassy Suites hotel.

Website will be updated after the market with all remaining new work.


I'm not a writer!

Wow!  Has it really been over a year since I posted an 'update'?!  I guess it has indeed been a busy year...

Here's the deal.  I'm not a writer!  Love, love, love to read (see library as evidence below) and appreciate those that do write creatively, but it's just not my thing.  I tried the whole diary business when I was young.  Tried journaling and stream of consciousness writing for various reasons in college and as a young adult.  About the only time I was marginally successful with it was during a 5 month backpacking trip I took after college, where I took one book to read, Ulysses, (and actually read it), and wrote a bit in my sketchbook about the experiences along the way.

partial view of the library, my favorite room in the house

partial view of the library, my favorite room in the house

It's always been a bit of a struggle (OK, actually a tremendous struggle) writing about my work as well.  In art school, I was of the belief that as a visual artist, if you had to EXPLAIN your piece, then the piece probably wasn't successful.  Visual art should be enjoyed visually, right?!  What really irritated me back then was if the explanation was a cop out for putting actual effort into the piece.  I saw it too many times where bad art (in my opinion) was justified with a lengthy explanation.  The critiques of these pieces were simply painful.  While there is certainly room for a deeper understanding by hearing the inspiration and motivation of the artist behind the piece, there is a line where the justification becomes more interesting than the work itself.

Most of the time, when I sit down to compose something new, even just a caption for an Instagram post (or a blog post like this one) it takes WAY longer than it should because I write it, delete, re-write and sometimes just abandon the idea and go an entirely different direction.  It's not that I don't have plenty of thoughts going through my head, things that I'd like to communicate, it's just translating them out of my head and into actual sentences in a compelling way, that becomes the challenge.  Second guessing my grammatical choices is also a constant nag.  I definitely don't follow ALL the rules...

I'm going to try to loosen up a little from here.  Maybe no one really cares to read these updates (and that's totally cool) but if this provides an additional window into the creative thought process from my perspective, or even just the process of making itself, then I think this could be a place to do that.  Maybe I'll actually figure out how to work this section of the website in order to make it more visually compelling as well (like the fact that I FINALLY figured out how to add a freaking picture to the post!!!!!)  If you're not already following me on Instagram, that's the place I'm most active with new work and actual updates that are timely!  You can find me @kkbmetalstudio there.

I feel like it's worth adding the disclaimer/reminder that the studio is a very part-time endeavor for me as I do work full-time and have two children, and a house still needing lots of love...  While I would like to do quick turn-arounds and accept tons of custom orders, it just isn't realistic.  Thanks for being here, it's a pleasure to be able to share my work and I'm truly grateful for the support!  The second anniversary of KKB METAL STUDIO is coming up, so stay tuned for details around that as well!

safety pin musings...

I realize this section of my page has been woefully neglected so this seems like a reasonably good time to dust it off and add a little update.  In all honesty, writing is not my passion, making is.  So when I sit down to write something, I'm often at a loss, or I delete and re-write the same passage multiple times, only to push the button and wish it said something more witty or profound.  But this week has been different.  I'm encouraged by the unity and support I see in many, many people that I have come into contact with through the challenges of the current state of our country.  On the other hand, I'm terribly saddened and disheartened by the public display of outright discrimination and hate that has come forth from this election.  I choose to focus on the positive, now that I'm over my original shock and dismay that this is our reality, I feel compelled to share a bit more.

Now about those safety pins...

The safety pin movement, that has gained traction in our country following the outright displays of hate and bigotry, has been extremely encouraging.  As a visible cue to those around you, a safety pin can signify that you are a safe ally, and under the most trying circumstances, you are also indicating you will step up to defend any potential injustices as well.  The safety pin earrings are an original KKB Metal Studio design that I personally wear virtually every day.  Now they carry a greater symbolism.  Due to this, I make it a point that any time I go out in public, they are on.  

This week, I revisited a design for a safety pin brooch.  I had created a larger scarf pin earlier in the year, but wasn't fully satisfied with the proportion and therefore functionality.  As a prototype, it was very cool, but it has been a design I've been wanting to get back to resolving.  This week, after returning home from a business trip, I sat down at the bench and simply HAD to spend that time addressing the safety pin design again.  Sizing it down to around 5 cm, it is larger than the earrings, yet not overwhelming.  I first tried the traditional spring closure.  It was nice, but not really different enough from an actual safety pin, and once I flattened out the wire, the shape was distorted too much.  Going back to the simple and modern shape of the earrings, the bumps were added to function as a stop on the open side of the pin, and as a design element balanced on the closed side of the pin.  The pair of bumps signifies the ally as well, from one human being to another, we will be by your side to support each other.

As a small gesture of positivity, the prototype was offered as a give-away on my Instagram feed.  I asked followers to simply comment with what they would do to support and be positive in this challenging time, or to otherwise be an ally to those in need.  It was such a wonderful experience to read everyone's contributions and truly helped lift me up emotionally as well.  Tomorrow I send that pin out to the recipient, and I could not be more excited to get back to the bench, wrap up a couple of orders, and get cranking on more of these safety pins!  I've listed the earrings at a sale price for the time being as well.  Although the fabrication is super-fiddly, and each pair take quite a while to get shaped, and with the right amount of spring in the metal, it feels like one thing I can do to create more positivity around this movement.

One last disclosure, and it's just the fact of my life and reality.  This is my part-time/weekend gig.  I work a full-time job that involves travel most weeks, and I have two children that I've committed to saying "yes" to more (ages 11 and 6).  So please bear with me on the production turn-around.  I wish I could have an extra set of hands, or an 8th day in the week, but it is just me and my two hands doing the absolute best that we can!

A note about the logo...

As I've just uploaded the official logo for KKB Metal Studio, I wanted to share a little of the story behind not only the use of my initials for the business name, but also the incorporation of the heart image into the logo.

Years ago, a co-worker decided that my full name was simply too long to say and write.  There was also often another Kristen working within the same channel of business, so I was referred to as KKB from that point forward.  What can I say, it stuck.  Onto the logo...

During a doodle session, I discovered that when my initials were abstracted, they came together to form a heart.  Heart imagery has frequently been a subject matter that I've explored in my art, and given my prior health issues, it resonated deeply.

You see, I was born with a heart birth defect.  It went undiagnosed until I was four months old.  Once confirmed, I was able to have corrective surgery, and I've been very fortunate to not have ongoing heart issues since.  This did, however, mean my children would also have an increased risk for heart defects.  Fortunately, I have two amazing and healthy children, but our middle child passed away shortly after birth due to multiple birth defects, including those of the heart.  The way I see it, I'm pretty darn lucky to be alive, especially given the fact that medical imagery didn't offer very many options back in the mid-70's.

So after many months and iterations of the various combinations of initials, I landed on a design that I was happy with and it was time to move forward with creating the logo.  I'm incredibly grateful to the team at The Matchbox Studio in Dallas for taking my very rough sketch and transforming it into the logo you see here, as well as helping pull together a comprehensive brand vision that I'm very excited to share soon.


Welcome to KKB Metal Studio

Thank you so much for stopping by!  I'm thrilled to have published the site this week and look forward to creating metal for you soon!!

Currently, the site features a gallery of images showing various examples of the work I've made.  Some of these pieces will be listed once the shop features go live, while others are samples from my personal collection.  

Primarily the inventory listed will be available to ship within 5 days.  Select items will offer sizing options, which will be made-to-order. Please understand that this could take a few weeks (depending on workload) and I will keep in touch with you throughout the process to ensure you are aware of the timeframe.

Each piece is handcrafted in my studio and will have subtle variations.  

Stay tuned for further updates regarding the timing of the shop going live.  Please feel free to like my page on Facebook, as I will post there as well.