Jill Kathleen Designs are bold, feminine, comfortable, and intended for everyday wear. Jill crafts each piece by hand out of ethically sourced materials such as Fairmined gold, recycled silver and Fair Trade gems. Creating jewelry responsibly is at the forefront of the brand and great care is taken to insure that every material used is ethically sourced. Jill is inspired by crochet and lace patterns, and is drawn to historical decoration and ornamentation from the Baroque and Victorian periods. She captures the sentiment of these inspirations, yet translates them in unique, contemporary, and understated ways. Jill often chooses a matte finish and leaves hammer marks and marks of the handmade as visible attributes in the work.
Jill believes that jewelry is much more than metal and gemstones; jewelry evokes and connects the wearer to memories, symbolizes loved ones, and can stand for life's milestones. She has strong memories of exploring her mother's and grandmother's jewelry boxes and repeatedly trying on the sparkly treasures. Jill’s goal is to create heirloom quality jewelry that can create memories, connections, and will be passed down for generations.
Jill currently resides and has a studio near Madison, WI. She recently gave up her secure academic teaching position at a university in New Jersey to pursue her artistic dreams and live closer to family. With a formal education culminating in a bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Arizona State University, her work is a result of years of technical training, experience, and knowledge of art history, contemporary art, and craft. She is originally from the Chicago area and has been making jewelry since she was a child.
In addition to her fine jewelry collection, Jill has exhibited her one of a kind studio jewelry and sculpture nationwide under the name Jill Baker Gower: www.jillbakergower.com. This work has been published in Metalsmith magazine, the book CAST, and is in the permanent collections of The Metal Museum, The Enamel Arts Foundation, and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. In 2015, Jill was a recipient of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG).
When she isn't creating jewelry or metalwork or teaching others to create jewelry or metalwork, Jill enjoys riding her bicycle all over Wisconsin and loves spending time with her husband, two young boys, dog, and two cats. She occasionally enjoys sleeping.