Jenny Sueyoun Kim is a handcrafted jewelry designer who takes a great deal of pride in making one of a kind jewelry designs using the ancient process called lost wax casting method. She meticulously sculpts each of her pieces out of wax, and then creates a plaster mold around the wax piece, which involves melting the wax to leave a cavity in the mold. That is where the name lost wax comes from. Using the plaster mold, Jenny melts raw silver and pours it into the mold’s cavity. The end result is a beautiful unique piece of jewelry.
The process is intriguing, but not as much as the artist herself. Ms. Kim started out as a federal employee working as a supervisor for the Social Security Administration, but having been influenced to lead a creative life by her grandfather, a professional artist; she felt her life was lacking a creative outlet. In 2004 the artistic longing she was feeling led her to seek out a craft. How she decided on jewelry making is an interesting story.
Jenny has always loved jewelry – especially rings - but is cursed by small hands. She could never find a size 4 ring to fit her delicate fingers and could not afford to have one custom made for her, so she enrolled in a metal arts & jewelry class... just to make herself some rings. Her small hands turned out to be a blessing after all, as it not only led to her career as a jewelry artist, but she can make finely detailed designs incorporating the very small-scale sculpting she does because of them.
That first day of class for Jenny turned out to be a serious turning point in here life. She was excited to be taking an art class for the first time in years, and actually told friends and colleagues that it felt like a "rebirth." Tragically, she found out when she walked out of class that her father had died in an accident. She’s been creating jewelry in honor of his memory ever since.
Three years later, she was so infatuated with making jewelry, she resigned from her government job in order to hone her craft and pursue the jewelry business. Today, Jenny considers herself to be more of a sculptor than a jeweler. She enjoys the entire casting process, but especially loves sculpting her pieces and seeing forms appear in her hands as she works the wax.
One of her signature pieces is her rose rings, which she creates one petal at a time. She is so obsessed with perfection that she will often spend several hours on getting the flowers just right. Currently she is working on sculpting other flowers as well.
Another of Jenny Kim’s signature designs is her key pendants. There's a story behind the keys, again related to her father. Just after his passing, she found that he had been carrying a very old vintage key, along with his house and car keys. Never noticing it before, she hadn't had a chance to ask what it was for. She could only guess that it was for aesthetic or sentimental reasons that he carried the key. This piqued her interest and she began to research old keys out of curiosity, and eventually became enamored by antique and vintage keys and the symbolism of keys in general. Her love of the key pendants is rooted in their veiled subtext... such as opening doors in your life or embarking on new pathways or journeys. Jenny is also fascinated with bridges for a similar reason – they represent the excitement of a journey or embarking on a new pathway. There are eight bridges in the San Francisco Bay area where she makes her home, so it is not surprising that Jenny is often on an adventure.
Although Jenny’s father still remains a major influence in her life, she is also inspired by the color red, the human form, the ocean and birds. To see Jenny in person, you would also be surprised to learn that this petite, sweet woman is a huge fan of hockey and is an avid San Jose Sharks fan.
Visit the Jenny Kim website at www.jennykim.org Purchase her jeweley at her Etsy Shop
Purchase her jeweley at her Etsy Shop
The images used in this article are copyright Jenny Kim, and are used here by permission.