Novedge: Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.
Kelly Nedderman: Well, I do quite a lot of things. I am a surface/textile designer (mostly commercial work in fashion and home), artist, jewelry designer, and I teach metalsmithing at The Crucible and Academy of Art University. My work has been included in a handful of publications and I have exhibited nationally. I came to the San Francisco Bay Area over a decade ago for school and never left. For the last several years I have been self-employed and really thrive on the multitude of possibilities that it offers with regards to projects and people.
Novedge: What are some of the rewards and challenges of owning your own business?
Kelly Nedderman: Some of the best parts of owning your own business are also the most challenging parts. Schedule flexibility is a huge plus for me. It is also a huge challenge to hold yourself accountable and stay on track. The ability to choose projects is wonderful, but when you are in between things and the paychecks are not rolling in, it can also be nerve racking.
Novedge: What is a recent project that you worked on?
Kelly Nedderman: One of my current projects is a collaboration with a local wallpaper company. The pieces will be for commercial interiors such as restaurants and hotels. While I create repeating imagery every day, this project is a bit different. The patterns will end up being 52” across with no vertical limits, so I can design something to float in the center of the wall or something that is 15 ft tall. It’s exciting.
Novedge: What software do you use?
Kelly Nedderman: In my line of work, I primarily use Photoshop, Illustrator, and Nedgraphics. Nedgraphics is a CAD program specific to textile design that facilitates the development of repeats, wovens and knits. These programs allow me to draw and develop repeating patterns ready to be printed by clients onto thousands of yards of fabric or wallpaper. I also do hand illustrated artwork for graphic t-shirts.
Recently, I took two great courses in Rhino, and am learning to model jewelry designs that would be very difficult to execute in metal, mainly because of their crazy shape and size. I have also been playing around in Hex Fiend, GIMP and Audacity and using them to “break” tiff and jpg files in interesting ways to produce new imagery for my designs.
Novedge: Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Kelly Nedderman: Just about everywhere. Magazines, blogs, photos… even just walking around, but the more offbeat the better. I have a soft spot for silhouettes, textures and magazines from the UK.
Novedge: You are the Co Director of Programs at the San Francisco Bay Area Metal Arts Guild. What is the Guild and what does it do?
Kelly Nedderman: The Metal Arts Guild of The Bay Area is a non-profit organization that focuses on promoting the recognition of metalwork as an art form and offering Bay Area jewelers and metal artists a network of information, education and support. That’s the official answer, but it is so much more than that. It’s a community, support group, and network of friends. We organize artist lectures, museum tours, exhibits and workshops all aimed at inspiring the group. We have around 250 members of all ages and backgrounds. From the student to the retiree and the hobbyist to the large business owner… The guild provides a common ground for all of those who love making and exchanging ideas.
Novedge: How important is it for professionals to be involved with their community?
Kelly Nedderman: I think it’s incredibly important. We were all beginners once. I was very lucky to be able to work with and learn from people making their living doing what their passion was. It had a huge impact on me. I try very hard to encourage students and professionals to get involved. Another great benefit of community is feedback and interaction. Our lives and creativity do not happen in a vacuum... I think people forget that even just being in an office environment is still a community. The office community is the one most people are familiar with, but we need to branch out past that. I have had some amazing brainstorming sessions with new people whom I have met at events and many of my clients have found me through word of mouth and my network. Take the time to get outside of your bubble!
Novedge: How are new technologies changing jewelry design?
Kelly Nedderman: One of the most obvious ways is that a fine jewelry store can have most of its inventory exist digitally now. They will have some great samples that customers can touch and try on, but without having so much money invested up front.
For someone who is more into the sculptural aspect of jewelry, like myself, 3D printing and laser cutting allow for an amazing level of experimentation. Forms that are extremely challenging or maybe impossible to create in metal, can be worked out with relative ease and then manufactured in a huge variety of materials. This grey area where traditional skills and new technologies meet is very exciting right now.