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The Adelaide Jeweller Hand Crafting Beautiful Bespoke Pieces

Kate Sutherland
Photos: Naomi Giatas

In our series on South Australian creators, Fritz ventures into the Jam Factory studio of Adelaide jeweller Kate Sutherland. There is something special about having an item crafted for you by hand. It has a feel, an intention, a story that makes it stand out from the mass produced crowd.

“I sat down at that jewellery bench, everything just clicked for me.”

The clean lines and carefully crafted edges of Kate Sutherland’s creations speak of considered precision and passion – which makes it all the more surprising that she came to jewellery design by accident.

Kate Sutherland

“I wanted to do figure drawing. So I went to uni and did a foundation course in visual arts and literally the second I sat down at that jewellery bench, everything just clicked for me.”

After an apprenticeship with Matthew Hogben in the Edments building, Kate has been steadfastly working to carve a place for herself in Adelaide’s creative community with her beautiful bespoke pieces.

When a position in the associate program at the Jam Factory came up five years ago, she jumped at the chance.

“I like my work to have a nice flow to it.”

“I love being a creator in Adelaide because the community here is very, very supportive. I feel very lucky to have spent the time within Jam Factory that I have because I’ve learned so much from being around other creative people and seeing how they run their practices.”

Kate Sutherland

Part of that learning curve included changing how she thought about her designs and the way they interact with the body.

“I think in the beginning; I didn’t pay as much attention to what would happen when you wore the piece. And that’s something I definitely take into consideration now; the weight, how it’s going to sit on the body. Without knowing what better word to use, I like my work to have a nice flow to it.”

“When you hand that piece over at the end and they open the box up, it’s just magic.”

Running her own business, and all the challenges and pitfalls that come it has been a learning experience. One that has come to inform her day-to-day life.

Kate Sutherland

“Learning that things take time and also the idea that if something’s not working, just put it down and walk away. Have some time to think about it and come back. And that’s something that I’m still learning now. To learn to stop pushing when it’s time to stop pushing. And I think for a maker, that’s a really important aspect to learn in general life.”

But there is one moment that makes all the challenges worth it.

Kate Sutherland

“When you hand that piece over at the end and they open the box up. It’s just magic. It doesn’t matter how traumatic making the piece has been, when that happens, all of that just gets washed away.”

Kate Sutherland

You can find Kate’s designs at katesutherland.com.au, via her Facebook or Instagram account. 

Do you have a favourite bespoke creator in South Australia? Tell us about them in the comments, below.

Smiley Fritz

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