You might not recognize her immediately by name, but you’ll never forget your experience with this friendly, warm and larger-than-life personality. Kaye Barnett welcomes everyone into Adorned as they have just step foot into her home after a long and arduous journey. With her soft southern drawl she quickly helps each guest discover they’ve encountered an old friend who encourages you to ‘take a load off’ and ‘stay awhile’. Her genuine, giving nature makes you instantly feel at ease and you truly understand this isn’t an act: Kaye wants you to leave the store happy.
Never far behind her is Kaye’s trusty sidekick, Ringo. This furry ‘lil angel is an infamous hit amongst Boulder’s younger community. His sweet greeting is friendly and patient as he lets the little ones make their introductions in due time. He always rewards their efforts with a small wet kiss. If he’s disgruntled by all the fur ruffling its unbeknownst to us as his gentle spirit allows for all sorts of childlike play. He makes a fantastic companion for our customers of the smaller variety while mom and dad get to enjoy a distraction-free shopping experience.
I finally got the opportunity to sit Kaye down to chat. Not only is she the ‘hostess with the mostess’, but she also happens to be a resident artist crafting bold baubles in vibrant colors. Her jewelry is almost as buoyant as her personality and I had so much fun getting to know one of Adorned’s most important players.
When did you become a jewelry designer? What sparked your interest in the craft?
I first apprenticed as a jewelry designer twelve years ago when a friend needed some help with her jewelry business. I’ve always adored wearing jewelry and admiring it on others, so it was a no-brainer when my friend asked for assistance!
What is your favorite piece you’ve created and why?
My favorite piece I’ve created is a trio of turquoise and sterling silver necklaces made as a custom piece for a customer who admired what I was wearing. Together with my team at Adorned and Nomad, we put together a similar concoction of beads and had it ready for Georgia in a matter of hours. She was so delighted I thought she might take flight!
If you weren’t a jewelry designer what is another profession that appeals to you? Why is that?
If I weren’t a jewelry designer I would be painting,designing with textiles, or writing. I have a background in watercolor, acrylic painting and fiber artistry, as well as journalism. I find that I am my best self when I am being creative, especially in one of these fields!
What inspires your work?
My jewelry designs are inspired by my love of nature. For example, I use blue topaz to capture the ocean waves or orange carnelian for fall leaves. I also adore bright color combinations like blue and pink to signify fun, fun,fun! Additionally, I’m always inspired by other artists. I like to study their composition and construction and then build pieces with my own unique conception.
What is your favorite gemstone? Why does it speak to you?
My very favorite gemstone, although I adore them all, is amethyst. Purple has always been my favorite color and it also happens to be the stone of sobriety.
Could you please share an experience with a customer that you find meaningful?
I was very touched when a customer admired a pink chalcedony bracelet of mine, but after much deliberation she did not buy it. She was searching for a special piece to wear to her son’s wedding. I was disappointed, but alas, two days later one of my colleagues reported with glee that she had returned. The customer had sent special instructions to me that she felt it was a coup de foudre (francais for love at first sight), and that she had to have it! I was to say, at the least, ecstatic!
What interests you most about the art of fine jewelry and bead work?
I love the art of jewelry-making and bead work because I glean good energy from working with the stones. It gives me both pleasure and excitement! When I am creating jewelry I go into the gap where time doesn’t exist and I lose myself in the process. This is my definition of following my bliss!
What motivated you to become part of the Adorned family?
Nomad Beads has been a part of my heart for over ten years. I always made sure to stop by the store when I was visiting Boulder. Two years ago, when I moved into town, I became a regular and took some classes which helped me develop new skills. It also gave me the opportunity to get acquainted with the awesome owners and staff. So much so, that it inspired me to become part of that team! I submitted my resume and was over the moon when Catherine Philips, the owner, asked me to work at Adorned, the sister store of Nomad. It’s such a pleasure to be there, it is not work at all, it is play for me!
Why do you think Adorned is Boulder’s best gift shop?
I think Adorned is Boulder’s best gift store because it offers unique one-of-a-kind gorgeous jewelry creations with a wide price range (from $15 to $5000) created only by local artists. In addition to all the beautiful jewelry we carry, the shop also offers adornments for the home, from essential oil candles to kitchen, such as dining items created from Provençal fabrics. Most importantly, our staff is always helpful with finding just the right thing for each client. It feels like family and that’s what any good gift shop should be. A piece of love from us to you to be brought back to someone special.