Friday Interview: Kim Clark! June 01, 2012 10:58

This week I'd like to introduce you to local artist Kim Clark, the creative force behind LuckyBird Studio. Local peeps may also know Kim as the founder of Craftopia, the popular indie craft show that happens twice a year in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Read on to learn more about Kim and the inspiration behind her jewelry collection. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your handmade business.
I’m Kim Turner Clark and I make fun, colorful, affordably frivolous jewelry under the name LuckyBird Studio.


Describe your studio for us.
Heaven, plain and simple. It’s a huge space in a restored mill in Pawtucket, with high ceilings, a gorgeous brick wall, and the two best studio-mates I could ever want or find. The lovely Voz of Fishcakes and Carrie of SepiaLepus, in case you were wondering, {and their silly dogs too}. Our building houses a winter farmer’s market every Saturday from November through May, so we get to swing our doors open and sell our work in the nicest atmosphere you could ever want {other than Craftland, of course}.


What is the process like for you when you're working on your jewelry collection?
It’s the zen of repetitive labor. I’m always trying to figure out clever ways of making my work more cost effective because I really like making inexpensive items that people can easily afford. I’m also always forcing myself to focus, as there are always other projects in whose direction I'm wanting to wander off, but I’m trying very hard to get my work to be cohesive and marketable, cause a girl's got to make a living.


You work on LuckyBird full time, and are also the mom of two teenage boys, how do you balance it all?
It’s true, I have two gorgeous boys, one nearly 17 and one 11 -- a student/athlete, and a quirky, adorable, film-maker. It was never easy to balance because I’m a crazy involved mom who loves nothing more than her kids. But last year I became a single mother and six months later was diagnosed with a very aggressive, less common form of breast cancer. I’ve been in constant, all consuming {often debilitating} treatment for seven solid months and have a ways to go, so at this point, the boys come first and that’s all there is too it. I’m trying really hard to have LuckyBird remain alive through this period and I’m incredibly grateful to Craftland and many local crafters who’s support has been unwavering and incredibly relevant.

What is it about Rhode Island that makes it a place to thrive for crafters and artists?
Rhode Island is small and quirky place which thrives on interpersonal connections, everyone knows everyone. I think that dynamic makes people really understand community and keeping it local. Folks sincerely want to buy local and handmade {and appreciate the opportunities to do so} because it makes what they’re buying more personal and they want to support their community and the people in it. We’re a big, small town and we like it that way.


What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade means creating something out of nothing. Taking run of the mill components and techniques and birthing something that is unique to the maker, that will have value to someone else. The beauty of simplicity. Making things by hand has always been done and always will be. From our hands to yours. Handmade items are empowering as opposed to exploitative and people working in the handmade realm get to be the master’s of their own destiny. There will always be people who appreciate craftsmanship over soulless mass production. Handmade is human, small scale, community.

How did you first become involved with Craftland?
Hmmmm, I believe I applied for the holiday show just like most folks. Being at Craftland was always a goal for me because I love the store and its origin story. I knew it would be a good fit because people buying my jewelry would constantly say “you should sell this at Craftland”, so I hung in there and didn’t take it personally when my first few applications were rejected. And sure enough, once I got in, it’s been a wonderful relationship {at least for me, I can’t speak for you guys}.


Little known fun fact about you?
I’m terrified of inchworms, and can’t even look at a gummy worm, blech. Anything squirmy gives me fits and nightmares, but big snakes, bugs and spiders are fine. Also that my new love is writing which I think fits in with why I love handmade, it’s making something out of nothing. You start with a blank page and go from there, it’s all up to you. I started a blog when I was diagnosed and it’s been the most cathartic, natural, easy endeavor for me. While it’s sometimes funny and sometimes a tad dark, I’ve gotten more positive feedback on my blog than anything I’ve ever done in my life and that’s been a great joy in a difficult time.