Hello Everyone!! I am so delighted to introduce this month to Kendra Brockmann. She's a jewelry designer that creates beautiful one-of-a-kind jewelry using silversmithing and soldering techniques. We met though a monthly master business class. Let's get to know more about Kendra and what inspires her to create her jewelry designs.
-Please tell us about yourself.
I am Kendra Brockmann, the owner and designer of The Bent Alkhemist. I currently live in North Liberty, Iowa with my husband Jesse and our bunny, Oliver. I love creating art in many different forms. I enjoy painting, photography, sketching, sewing, assemblage art and jewelry making. My primary focus and the heart of my business is metalsmithing. I create sterling silver, bronze and copper jewelry.
My studio is at our home, so I am able to be home and work in a cozy space. My husband has always supported my endeavors in jewelry making and he turned a room in our house into a studio for me. He installed a range hood over my bench and has helped me buy the tools and supplies I needed. I couldn't do it without him. He always has my back!
-How did you get started doing what you love? Tell us about your journey.
I have always been a creative person and I started making jewelry in high school. I started out making beaded jewelry and then I moved on to Assemblage and Steampunk jewelry. I would take antique or vintage items and turn them into wearable art. My husband and I collect antique pocket watches and clocks and I have always loved gears and old watches. After a couple years of making Steampunk jewelry, I realized I had a connection with my grandfather, Kenneth, who made clocks. We had never met as he was killed in a car accident when my mother was 7 months pregnant with me. Yet we had this connection of loving clocks. So, making Steampunk jewelry really got me into metalsmithing and the love of jewelry making. In 2013, I decided to take a metalsmithing class to expand my skills. A couple of Master of Fine Arts graduate students from the University of Iowa were teaching a class and I signed up. I learned about cold connections, textures, saw piercing and riveting. It really opened a whole new world of jewelry design for me. Then last year I took a 6-month metalsmithing course from the amazing Susan Lenart Kazmer. I learned silversmithing and soldering techniques that brought me to where I am now. She taught me to work authentically, pulling out meaning and intention from deep within myself and putting it into my creations. I was lucky enough to take a Master Class at her studio in Ohio where I met her and several other artists, developing new friendships. It was really an amazing experience that changed me and helped propel my business.
-What is it that you want to share with us, what do you love to do?
I love everything and have many, many hobbies. I love nature and one of my favorite things to do is to be in the woods. I am a photographer and I enjoy taking nature photos on my hikes. I like to get closeups of plants and look at the textures and colors. Being out in the woods really grounds me and helps me reset my mind when I need to. I am crazy about Halloween and enjoy decorating. I play the flute and piccolo but I don't practice as much as I should! I make handmade cards and even sell them from time to time. I really love to play video games on my Playstation when I need a break. I also belong to the Society for Creative Anachronism, a Medieval reenactment society. I have a 16th century Persian persona and an alternate Norse persona. I sew my own historical clothing and learn medieval skills such as sewing, cooking, dancing, and the scribal arts. In the society I am a Scribe and I paint medieval illuminations and awards that are given to recipients in the Kingdom. I love learning about Medieval history.
-Is there something that you are currently learning to amplify what you love to do?
I am currently learning to work with different metals. I primarily work in silver but have started working with bronze and copper. I am learning repouseé and sand casting. I am also learning to use steel dies to create new designs in metal. I am constantly learning new skills and new ways of working with metal, forever expanding my knowledge and love of jewelry.
-What inspires your work?
Honestly, it depends on the day, my emotions, the world around me. Therefore I chose the name, The Bent Alkhemist. I am the crazy creator. I create in different styles depending on what has inspired me that day, week, month...it changes all the time. I don't believe an artist has to stick with one particular style and I like to change things up from time to time. I am very inspired by historical jewelry. Since I have a love of Medieval history, I have studied historical jewelry and learned a great deal from it. I particularly like Berber and Tuareg jewelry as well as Tibetan, Roman, Etruscan, Scythian and Persian. I am certainly inspired by history and how they created textures and styles with minimal tools. Lately my work has been reflecting more tribal styles.
-How do you share what you love to do with the world?
I like to teach and inspire others to create art. I have been working on creating my online presence so I can reach a wide variety of people. I enjoy sharing metalsmithing tips and techniques with other artists. I share my work on Instagram, Facebook and through my website. Next year, I will start teaching basic metalsmithing locally. I hope to get more people interested in metalsmithing and teach them that you don't need a lot of expensive tools to get started.
-Where can we find you?
I am on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Shopify and I have my own website. I also show my work at Mount Vernon Creates in Mount Vernon, Iowa. It's a wonderful gallery with many talented artists. Unfortunately, all of my fine arts shows were cancelled this year due to the pandemic. So hopefully next year I will be able to attend shows. I will post a calendar of events on my website once I start to book shows.
Website and Shop: https://the-bent-alkhemist.myshopify.com/
-Do you do this full time or is it more of hobby?
I am a full-time metalsmith. I left my administrator job in 2019 to pursue my jewelry business full time. It's wonderful to be able to create jewelry every day!
-What do you wish to accomplish by sharing what you love to do?
I hope that I can inspire others to get out there and create. Take the leap and go for it! Life isn't just about the daily grind and office jobs. You can take what you love and turn it into a business if you have the drive and the dream.
JUST FOR FUN
-Where are you originally from?
-Your spirit animal would be?
A peacock. Pretty on the outside but when it opens its mouth... HAHAHA. I actually swear A LOT. Trying to work on that. Peacocks love social situations, parties, they like appreciation, a pat on the back and to inspire others. I think we all seek appreciation in some form. The peacock also helps one to use their past as a lesson and a teacher... not a burden that holds one down. We can use the past and its lessons as a guide that can assist in creating a brighter future for ourselves.The peacock is also a symbol of happiness, laughter, and having a kind heart.
-What is the most important thing in your life?
Gratitude. Constantly reminding myself to be thankful for what and who I have in my life.
-Your personal or business motto is?
I have two mottos.
*Give up being perfect for being authentic.
*If you can't beat the fear, just do it scared.
Here are some beautiful jewelry made by Kendra:
Kendra makes the most amazing jewelry and I’m happy to own some of her amazing one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry 🦋🦋🦋 See pictures below. I absolutely love them!!
Thank you everyone for stopping by my blog today. Subscribe to my newsletter to get the latest news and specials happening at Jennifer Sher Art.
Love + Light
Jenn Sher ⚛️🌀💟