Story Behind the Artist - Kelly Curtis

 Kelly Curtis Designs - Seaglass Stacking Cuff Bracelets

There is something about the raw beauty and unforgiving truth of nature that speaks to our soul. Whether it be the colors of a sunrise filling the sky with pure magnificence or the harsh truth that some trees’ leaves must all die and fall off in the winter in order for an abundance of new ones to grow again in the spring, nature has a way of holding up a mirror to our own lives and forces us to reflect on “the big picture”.

Then when you hold a piece of nature in your hand, whether it be a wildflower picked from the ground or water that flows through your fingers at the beach, you can’t help but feel a part of that “big picture” and know that you have your own role to play as well. 

When it comes to connecting with nature and immersing yourself in all that it has to offer, Kelly Curtis with Kelly Curtis Designs is leaving no stone unturned. (Pun intended!)

 Kelly Curtis Designs - Seaglass Ring

(Sea Glass from Nome, Alaska)

Kelly has lived in a number of places throughout her life, from Florida to Colorado and now currently in Alaska where she soaks up all the essences of summer with hiking, fishing, stunning mountain views, fresh wildflowers, and more than enough scenery to inspire her for another year of creating.

 Kelly Curtis Designs - Crow Pass Trail Girdwood, Alaska

(Crow Pass Trail Girdwood, Alaska photo by Kelly)


Speaking of creating, Kelly has been making jewelry for over 15 years. Back when a friend introduced her to resin and she would make scrabble tile pendants with design paper on the front and the scrabble letters showing on the back. “I remember just loving sitting around and creating. Some of my friends and family would purchase my pieces too, which was an amazing feeling. A coworker/friend of mine was taking metalsmithing classes at this time, and I would ask her every day at work what she learned the night prior. I was so excited to hear all about her classes!” Kelly tells us.

Life stepped in and Kelly had to put her jewelry making on hold. But fast forward to today, a career change, a huge move to Alaska, meeting the love of her life, and having to be out of work for almost 2 years due to health issues, she became reunited with her love of art again.

Kelly Curtis Designs - Alcohol Ink

(Alcohol Ink Art 2019)

“Whether it was stone carving in college, photoshop, photography, Alcohol Ink, I even remember etching mirrors in high school… all of those art mediums I was coming across were leading me to making jewelry again using resin. Then I started playing with wire wrapping sea glass I found, which I still love to make! I wanted to take my sea glass jewelry to the next level, and metal smithing finally entered my life 15 years later! Now I am creating one-of-a-kind pieces with genuine sea glass* (more info below) from Alaska, ethically sourced stones such as Guatemalan Jadeite, Turquoise, Jaspers, and many others,” Kelly describes.

Kelly Curtis Designs - Stone Rings

“A lot of my inspiration comes from the beautiful scenery from all the places I see, it's the feeling that these places give me. The emotional connection to nature. It's pure, raw and unforgiving. When I sit down with a stone to start creating, it leads me in a direction. I try out different designs, and it's usually a hard no, or yes on whether it feels 'right'. I don't sketch out designs, I sit with the stone and let my feelings take charge. I'm a pretty emotional person, and for me creating this way is the absolute best!”

Kelly Curtis Designs - Stone Necklaces

Kelly’s favorite place to create right now is her workbench in their garage in Alaska, but she is also working on building a travel bench that she can take with them in her camper when they go on longer trips. “This winter I hope to be set up and will be sharing about my traveling and creating on the road. Be sure to follow me on IG (@kellycurtisdesigns) for those updates!”

So far in her creative journey, one of her favorite pieces is the birthday ring she created for herself this year. “I have worn [it] every day. I truly love it! I will be creating more of them with gold-filled half wrap, rose gold half wrap, and of course sterling silver half wrap [too]! I also loved the two rings I created with old stock 1970’s Turquoise mountain turquoise. It’s hard to get your hands on old stock (mined) stones, and it’s always a privilege to create with them!”

 Kelly Curtis Designs - Half Moon Ring

We don’t know about you but her goal is to live life as a jewelry maker, with rescue dogs at her feet, traveling around the country making jewelry and seeing more, new, beautiful sceneries everyday sounds pretty dreamy to us. Until that day comes, she takes note of the beautiful scenery she sees at her job as a flight attendant.

 Kelly Curtis Designs - Airplane View

(Sunset over Kenai Peninsula taken by Kelly)

Thank you for letting us live vicariously through you Kelly! We can’t wait to see where you travel to or what you make next!

Kelly Curtis Designs - Seaglass Necklace 


*Genuine Sea Glass: Naturally produced sea glass ("genuine sea glass") originates as pieces of glass from broken bottles, broken tableware, or even shipwrecks, which are rolled and tumbled in the ocean for years until all of their edges are rounded off, and the slickness of the glass has been worn to a frosted appearance.


**Editor’s note: This article was composed as a joint effort between the Made By Her staff and Kelly herself. You can find her work listed in her online booth, Kelly Curtis Designs.


**Editor’s note: This article was composed as a joint effort between the Made By Her staff and Kelly herself. You can find her work listed in her online booth, Kelly Curtis Designs.

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