In addition to spotlighting the history and stories of our community, we are also happy to support our community’s local businesses and business owners! This week, we are featuring Brooke Kanani and her jewelry business!
Please describe your business. What makes your work unique, and what inspires your work?
I create nature inspired pieces – all cast in the lost wax method of casting. Everything I make is hand carved out of wax first with dremel tools, files, etc. A plaster cast is made around the wax (called an investment), this is then put in a kiln where the wax is burned out leaving a negative space, and then molten metal is poured in. I typically work in solid sterling silver and 18K yellow gold mixed with found objects (fossil shark teeth, beach rocks, shells) as well as precious stones.
Many of my inspirations are derived from nature. I grew up on the beach yet also in the forest. Ever since I can remember, I have been collecting natural objects that I viewed as beautiful. I now have a vehicle in which to showcase them. I am intrigued by the anthropomorphic quality of trees, the ripples in the sand that are left behind by the waves or wind, bones, shells, rocks, horseshoe crabs, seedpods, birds, animals, and many other things that we tend to take for granted in our demanding lives.
The juxtaposition of these objects with the refined qualities of precious metals and stones is a way of paying homage to nature in a way that I truly see fit. Everyone can relate to these objects, they are everywhere if we slow down for a moment and take a look around. I’m sure some of you have seen me out of these walks – lapping the neighborhood on a regular basis!
What has been your favorite piece to make? Why?
I really enjoy making the one-of-a-kind fossil shark tooth pendants. Each tooth is so unique and I am amazed that these treasures can be found in such perfect shape after millions of years.
What new pieces can your customers look forward to seeing in the coming months? Which are you most excited for?
I just finished quite a few pieces in my For The Birds Collection which features many birds we see in this area on a daily basis. This collection features the Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle, Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, and Piping Plover.
I am also planning on some found object pendants which will all be one-of-a-kind and feature different sea glass finds from various beaches along the east coast.
How did your college studies shape your art?
I started my college studies as a Marine and Freshwater Biology major and switched to a sculpture major in my junior year. I took metal fabrication/welding, ceramics, painting, printmaking, wood sculpture, and photography – many mediums I still use today. After I graduated from college I apprenticed for 4 years with an old world craftsman from Poland. This is where I learned how to make clasps, hinges, and chains. I kept my sculptural style and learned how to translate that into wearable art.
What nonprofit partnerships are you currently working with, and why did you choose these partners?
I’m currently working with a few non-profits, one of which is OCEARCH. I have been partnered with them since October of 2015 and have been on the ship quite a few times. They are a data centric organization built to help scientists collect previously unattainable data in the ocean while open sourcing their research and explorations. They tag and track all different types of marine life – my favorite being the white sharks and whale sharks. They have an app where you can track the sharks up and down the east coast, as well as STEM educational lesson plans for various age groups.
I respect nature and all that it has to offer. I know that with the pieces I create – they cater to likeminded individuals.
How is the nature of Suffolk reflected in your work?
From birds, to boats, to oyster shells, to various fish species… everything around me is present in my work. My photos showcase some of the scenic local backdrops that we appreciate so much!
For more information, please visit her website: https://www.brookekanani.com/