Katinka Kernutt is a photographer, graphic designer and jewellery maker from Victoria, who uses her own photography in her beautiful range of jewellery. Her gorgeous images of eucalyptus leaves and gum blossoms are lovely in their own right, but when carefully printed onto super light aluminium jewellery they become truly special.
Always creative, Katinka has enjoyed a varied career – but photography has always woven its way through her work. After completing a Bachelor of Applied Science at RMIT in Melbourne, specialising in photography - back when students used actual film! - followed by a Masters of Design in Multimedia, Katinka has worked in e-commerce, digital design, graphic design, branding, marketing and website design. Her extensive experience supporting small and large businesses with websites, graphic design, marketing and branding were the perfect base from which to build her own business.
“I have always loved jewellery, and would be that person scouring markets looking for something beautiful and unique – so I’ve long dreamed of combining my love of photography with my love of jewellery” muses Katinka from her home studio.
2015 turned out to be a pivotal year for Katinka, as she welcomed her first son, and discovered a unique technique called sublimation printing, which allows detailed photos to be printed on a variety of surfaces in a durable, high-quality way.
Katinka jokes that Studio Katinka started out as a ‘maternity leave project’ – but quickly become much more. “Studio Katinka was born not long after my son, in 2015. I’ve always loved jewellery and photography, and have been toying with the idea of combining the two - so when I came across sublimation printing I thought “this is it!”
Following a workshop, some training, and much patience, Katinka perfected the technique – initially using her much loved travel photos from overseas holidays.
“I absolutely love my photographs from trips overseas, and in fact the very first pair of earrings I made with a photo of from my trip to Kerala in India is still my favourite pair to this day.”
However, Katinka quickly learnt that customers were looking for something a bit closer to home, pivoting to showcase the natural beauty of her own backyard. The results speak for themselves!
What skill or technique are you most proud of?
“Creating a jewellery range is a clever marriage of creative skills and technical process. Don’t they say you need to complete 10,000 hours to master a skill? I feel like I’ve now completed my 10,000 hours and am much more focused and efficient when creating jewellery pieces. I understand what works – both technically and from a marketing perspective, so it all just flows.”
What challenges you?
“Marketing! I love creating my jewellery – but I don’t really enjoy the selling side of things. Its important, and I know that, but implementing a marketing strategy, rather than creating one for a client, has been a big challenge for me.
Jewellery is an increasingly competitive market, and its also quite a tactile thing: people love to touch the jewellery, get a sense of its weight, how it moves – how it feels. This is all quite hard to get across just online.”
What memorable comments have you had about your creations?
“Generally, I think people really connect with my Australiana range. They speak to the heart. Once, I went to a networking Christmas lunch and a woman was wearing my earrings. She said she’d been doing her research on attendees, came across my earrings and loved them so much she had to buy them!”
What is the favourite thing about where you live?
“I live on the western outskirts of Melbourne – and it wonderful to have space! The kids enjoy the freedom, and I have a dedicated office and studio. We also enjoy visiting the Werribee Open Plains zoo, which isn’t too far away. The kids know it like the back of their hands.”
What tool / item couldn’t you do without?
My camera – it’s the lynch pin to everything! My laptop too – and wifi!
What piece of advice would you give your 18 year-old self?
“Stop watching what others are doing, and do what you want to do – not what you think you should do.”