Actress, artist, and farmer Katherine Wallach began her jewelry-designing career almost by accident.
“I used to be in the eyewear business and was at a sales appointment at Barney’s wearing one of my necklaces when the buyer asked, “whose is that?” I said, “mine.” “Don’t be stupid – who made it?” she said. “I did”, I answered. “We’d like to see your line” she responded. That was a Friday and my line was created over the weekend. That was twenty-five years ago.
Truth be told, I’ve been making jewelry since I was a kid. A relative of my dad’s had a bead company on 38th street where I was taken when I was about six. They let me run rampant in the basement where I felt like I was inside a hidden treasure trove, brown paper packages, snakes of beads dripping down miles and miles of floor to ceiling shelves. Exquisite sparkling beads of every shape and size, from all corner’s of the earth, an unlimited supply…I was hooked.”
Now residing in New York, Tuscany and rural Pennsylvania, Katherine continues to create with fearless abandon. Combing flea markets worldwide hunting for the elements that make her jewelry unique. Using anything from the finest hand cut antique coral to a 1960’s plastic Barbie shoe, her work spans centuries and can be naughty, elegant, fanciful, raw, talismanic, but almost always one of a kind.
“I say – I don’t so much design jewelry, as it designs me. Each element guides my aesthetic almost as if I was being channeled by it. I’ve always felt like I was from another era and felt infinitely more comfortable surrounded by anything old, musty even, rather than new or mass-produced. What inspires me most is the history of olden things, their uses outdated by technology, their manufacture so much more labor intensive and simple yet at the same time, infinitely more sophisticated.
My greatest honor is for my work to be worn by people who never buy or wear jewelry. They say they are drawn to my pieces as if they were made only for them, an identifiable talisman of sorts.”
The Katherine Wallach collection can be found in Paul Smith (New York and Los Angeles), JW Cooper (Bal Harbour, Florida), Spruce Design Decor (Rhinebeck, New York) and The Stronghold (Venice, California).