Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Designer Spotlight: Smart Glass Recycled Jewelry

Kathleen Plate, the talented designer behind Smart Glass Jewelry, has always loved to create beautiful things. Her creative passion was inspired in part by a childhood spent working on projects with her mother who taught her how to solder and work with stained glass. Smart Glass Jewelry was born while Kathleen was in graduate school at Georgia State University, working on a Master’s in American Literature. Kathleen needed a gift for a friend’s birthday so she made a pair of earrings out of stained glass. Her friends raved so she decided to take her product to local festivals and craft shows. The move proved to be a promising start for the unknown artist.

Kathleen started selling to small boutiques in the 1990’s and then hit it big when Aveda placed an enormous order after seeing a necklace made from one of their product bottles. In June of 2006, Coca-Cola commissioned her to create a line of jewelry using their signature bottles. Despite her commercial success, she remains dedicated to her craft and still loves each day of “work” in her Atlanta studio. In more than 17 years as a professional designer, the demand for her unique glass and sterling pieces has grown from the Southeast to the East Coast and now nationwide.

Kathleen was born and raised in Cathlamet, a small town in Washington. While she has called Atlanta home for more than 20 years, her small-town roots are evident in her unique design philosophy, “keep it simple.” She has never had any formal training in business or jewelry making and attributes the success of Smart Glass to her own intuitive sense of how a business should be run. Her design aesthetic and commitment to quality have helped Smart Glass grow out of its modest beginnings in her kitchen, into an urban-organic business and an exciting collaboration with one of the largest corporations in the world.

Kathleen lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her dog Belle and her two cats, Sammie and Tiger. She holds a Master of Arts degree in American Literature from Georgia State University and is always looking to learn new things. She loves to travel and has visited every country in Latin America and is currently learning Spanish.

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