We had the good fortune of connecting with Dorie Kerr and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dorie, how do you think about risk?
Generally speaking, I am risk-averse. But doing what I love makes it much easier to dive in to new projects and experiment with different materials. . I’ve learned to accept that not every creative venture will be successful in the traditional sense. But, these experiences challenge the way I see things and, ultimately, lead to growth. Several years ago, I added a line of handmade silver jewelry from Laos to my collection. I risked diluting my brand but fell in love with the work and the story behind it. This very old and traditional art complements my work and adds another dimension to my business.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I work with silver, gold, gemstones, and fiber to create intricate and delicate jewelry. Each piece is handmade and one-of-a-kind. Often I will include an antique component or something interesting/unusual. I want each piece to tell a story and resonate with the wearer. I am always grateful for the opportunity to make jewelry for a meaningful occasion such as a wedding, anniversary, or bat mitzvah. To be trusted to create such a personal piece is humbling as well as rewarding. I started my business 18 years ago with a few strands of beads, some basic tools and a desire to create. My very first show was hosted by friends and has evolved into a studio business with a busy schedule. My biggest show of the year – one that I help organize – is the annual Height Holiday Market (facebook.com/houstonheightsholidaymarket) which highlights 25+ local artists. There are a lot of moving parts but it is a rewarding and fun experience. The professional journey has had its challenges, for sure. Balancing work with family is constant. The creative process requires uninterrupted stretches of time and focus, which were, at the start, hard to achieve with the competing needs of small children. Now that my kids are grown, it is much easier to spend that time in the studio. In addition, I sometimes struggle to see myself as an artist and value my work as such. But the support of my artist community and the validation from my customers are affirming and inspire me to keep creating. I’d like for people to know that each piece of my jewelry is made with careful thought and close attention to detail. When I am working on a necklace, I consider the story that piece has to share and I send it out to the wearer with love and gratitude.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Wow! I’m a little rusty after a year with COVID. Houston has so much to offer: food, art, live music, sports, etc. I’d definitely take my friend to some amazing restaurants – Nancy’s Hustle, The Original Ninfa’s, Better Luck Tomorrow, Irma’s, and indianola For dinner at home, I’d pick up some fresh seafood from Airline Seafood. Bars to visit: Anvil or Pastry War (cocktails) Hay Merchant or St. Arnold’s (for beer) and Mijo (container Mezcal bar) Outdoors: the Eastern Glades at Memorial Park, the Cistern, Buffalo Bayou hike and bike trail Art: Menil, MFA, street art in EADO Music: porch concerts in the Heights, Heights Theater Sports: Astros at Minute Maid Park Depending on the time of year, there are many festivals and art markets worth seeing.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am fortunate to have so many supportive people in my life but I’d have to say that my dear friend, Katie Jernigan, has been the most instrumental in getting me where I am today. She nudged me to dip my toe in the creative pool many years ago. Every step of the way, she has offered her advice, insight and experience as an art dealer.