We’re bursting at the seams with awesome artists for the 4th Annual Arts on the Square! Our vendor spots are literally SOLD OUT and we’re so excited to have some amazing new artists to gush over! First up, Kari from AOS Metals! Her simple, classic yet bohemian pieces have us counting down the days until we can shop her booth!
Tell us a little about how AOS Metals was started.
I’m not much of jewelry person oddly enough but Iove those simple pieces that easily go from day to night – something you never have to take off. Unfortunately most of those pieces would also turn your skin green or their color began to flake and fade. I wanted something classic in metal that would last. I started messing around with stamping on washers, the kind you see at the hardware store, and quickly realized how fun it was to smash stuff with a hammer! My obsession began there realizing how I could manipulate metal into beautiful simple designs.
I started investing in other tools, tiny pliers, stamping blocks, saws, dremel, torches, oh man the list goes on and on! Though the first time I used a torch I was so scared I had friend come over and stand next to me with a fire extinguisher ready! Now I have a propane and Oxygen mixed torch, much larger, that feels just like an extension of my hand, so natural. Anyway, with my desire to keep going and friends wanting me to make them things I realized I had invested a lot of money into this and needed to find a way to make money, The Art of Simplicity was born!
I read on your website that you started out in Jackson WY. How did you end up in NEPA?
I started AOS Metals in Jackson, WY which is one of the most wonderful towns to be an artist. Everyone there is completely centered about supporting local and buying local so there were lots of markets for me to participate in. Also as a very outdoors town my concept of simple design with high quality metals that can last the elements took off. As much as I loved Jackson, the 9 months of winter and the isolation of having to drive 4 hours to the nearest city to try and spread my brand got to be a bit much. Growing up in PA the fall was my favorite time of year so I started scheduling shows all around PA and NY to test the market. It was absolutely incredible! I got back and started planning the move. In March I had my very last show for all the people that had supported me and given me the confidence to follow my dreams. One of my favorite clients was a manager at a popular local brew pub and suggested I have it there. I was nervous I couldn’t live up to the hype. By 3:45 there was a line of people and the line did not stop till 7. It was absolutely magical and the highlight of my starting career! I had made tons of extra stuff so I could still sell while I was between studios and they cleaned me out. I had to shut down my online shops for 3 weeks until I could make more product. The community that made me had truly loved me and I was speechless. The Art of Simplicity turned into AOS Metals.
What’s your favorite piece and why?
The question I always get is what is your favorite thing to make? My answer never varies…mistakes. Working with torches and metal you never truly know what is going to happen to a piece. You get distracted for a split second and something doesn’t stamp right or you accidentally melt a piece or saw too far. Something is guaranteed to happen and I refuse to waste so I find a way to make it into something different! That’s of my favorite things because that’s when the creativity really comes into play! To answer the original question I guess I could say my Argentium Silver double feather bangle with turquoise and coral. I wear that a lot!
What’s your favorite aspect of running your own business?
That is a tough one! Of course it’s nice to sometimes be able to change my schedule around without having to ask anyone though I’m usually just switching around studio work and computer work. It’s definitely more than a 40 hour work week! I have days when I get so wrapped up in creating that 10 hours go by and I’ve forgotten to eat all day AND I’m happy! I truly love what I do even when there are words that no one should ever be subject to streaming out of my mouth when I accidentally melt something I’ve been working on for days!
Do you have a design philosophy or overall theme in your work?
I can pretty much sum it up in my mission statement:
Where high quality metals and classic design meet the the art of simplicity for jewelry that will stay in style for generations to come.
I’ve noticed lately that feathers have been featured a lot in my work, to be honest it was nothing intentional. It was just a continuation of one design I made that has flowed into lots of other fun experiments!
Do you have any other upcoming shows or projects?
I’m also participating in The Kickstart Art Challenge so who knows…I could be in Scranton all the time if I win!