MiVT: Jennifer Kahn Jewelry
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Jennifer Kahn has been making distinct and beautiful jewelry for more than 20 years.
“People say it has great energy which is so nice,” she said.
After studying art at the University of Vermont, Kahn was trying to figure out which way to go with her career.
“My senior year I worked at Frog Hollow on Church Street and met jewelry artist Celie Fago,” she said. At that time, Fago was one of very few artists using Precious Metal Clay or PMC. It’s worked as a clay before being kiln-fired, where it turns into metal.
“When I first started out, when I was in school I kind of loved everything and I couldn’t figure out what I was going to work with. I loved clay the most, the working properties of clay. So when this kind of fell in my lap, I’m like, I’m 21, how can I not move forward on this path?” Kahn said.
After a nine-year apprenticeship, Kahn began to find her own voice and started selling her work at artists markets in Burlington. Since then, she’s seen nothing but growth. You can find Jennifer Kahn Jewelry at 80 stores across the United States and online.
“In order to do that, I have a wonderful team now. I have three amazing production assistants that help with hammering and heating and assembly,” she said. She also credits her brother for a great deal of help.
Kahn describes her jewelry as rustic, with a primitive aesthetic. Part of that comes from the materials she uses for her products.
“People all feel like we could use protection and to feel more like, empowered and to have more of a warrior spirit. I mean I hear this from my customers, and that’s what I feel when I wear it,” Kahn explained.
Using that spirit, Kahn uses her talents to fundraise for causes and organizations she cares about. In 2011, it was Hurricane Irene. Nowadays, it’s children in Ukraine, the ACLU or Planned Parenthood.
“It keeps my hands busy, it keeps my mind focused, and it’s an anchor kind of for me so that I can say what is it that I can do? How can I give back,” Kahn said.
Whether it’s jewelry for a cause or not, there’s something to be said about work this recognizable.
“I hear from a lot of my customers how many friends they make because it’s an icebreaker when they see like, ‘Oh, you’ve got Jen Kahn Jewelry.’ I’ve been asked like, ‘Oh, I love your Jen Kahn Jewelry,’ and I’m like, ‘Thanks, I made it!’”
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