Thursday, September 29, 2022

INTERESTING FOLKS: Karin White, a Renaissance woman

“Karin White sees the beauty in the discarded.” / Photo Credit: MB Journe 2022

Karin White is a Renaissance woman who transforms the old into new by combining a love of art with a passion for recycling old things. As defined by Merriam-Webster, a Renaissance woman “is interested in and knows a lot about many things.” Indeed, she has managed to combine her successes in art with a successful business to enrich her family and friends. 

White is a jewelry artist, working with semi-precious metals, gemstones and a variety of discarded items. She incorporates found objects, natural gemstones, silver and silverware, copper and bronze. When inspiration strikes, she gathers some items at garage sales and creates beautiful, one-of-a-kind jewelry using recycled and natural materials. Her work can be seen at Gallery 23 in Blairstown. They have an online store at www.Gallery23.net.

She said she’s met many people selling her art at music festivals and street fairs. Her work has been sold at stores, home parties and she has taught jewelry making.

White is also well known for selling real estate. She currently works for Burgdorf Real Estate ERA in Hope, New Jersey.  She was the secretary for the Warren County Board of Realtors for many years. White has won the NJAR Circle of Excellence Award for the past five years. This prestigious award recognizes realtors who are experts in their field.   

“I have real estate customers who have bought jewelry from me in the past” said White.  “I have sold my jewelry at music festivals. This was ideal, enjoying the music while working and dancing to my favorite bands. I have met so many people with this career. The same people who bought a spoon bracelet from me, trusted me and wanted me to help them buy or sell their home.” 

In 2020, White’s love of antiques spurred her to buy a neglected historic home in Hardwick. Known to be constructed by a Wheelwright, named Wildrick, over 200 years ago, she’s been dutifully restoring its quaint charm and structural integrity of the three-story barn.

A stay-at-home mom for 15 years, White has three children – Daniel, Michael and Grace; each of whom she’s raised to be creative and compassionate. Her daughter Grace has her mother’s artistic talent, making stunning illustrations of animals. White’s involvement in the lives of her children and our community is extensive. She was the president of her PTA for many years. 

A philanthropic woman, she was asked to design spoon bracelets for a church organization to raise money to aid refugees in Africa. Several hundred spoon bracelets were created and sold to support the people in need.

White is always willing to lend a hand. She volunteered at her children’s school and is a longtime member of the Blairstown Historic Preservation Communitee. Many have been enriched by her willingness to serve.

White grew up in an artistic family. Her childhood home was filled with paintings, sculptures and photography reflecting generations of family artists. White’s mom and grandmother inspired her to paint. Her great grandfather worked in copper and metal. Her father repurposed and built beautiful furniture and household items.   

“I grew up going to estate sales and flea markets. My mom would pick things off the side of the road,” White giggled. “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. This was before garbage picking was cool.”

“I decided to take my mom to a bead store for a jewelry making class for Mother’s Day. This outing jump started my jewelry business,” she reminisced. 

Together they learned the technique of metal clay jewelry. The process involves metal clay that is stamped with a design from an antique button collection. The clay is fired in a kiln which transforms the clay into a silver pendant. The pendants are high quality – 999 silver. Each participant went home with a completed necklace. 

White was hooked. She started making gifts for family and friends. Soon many of her acquaintances wanted to buy her work.  

She is a graduate of Montclair State University with a major in art and photography. Her formal training in the arts and her family background transformed her life as a Renaissance woman of today.   

White recalls fondly, “Being a stay-at-home mom, I had the time to make presents for friends. It was very encouraging that my hobby was appreciated. This built my confidence.” 

“I love making jewelry and it was fun selling my line. My spoon bracelets were my signature piece, it was fun buying heirloom spoons and repurposing them into bracelets,” said White. 

Her father passed away after a long illness.  At the same time, her marriage of many years was coming to an end. She credits her art with helping her heal in these trying times.   

White is truly a Renaissance woman, dovetailing all her gifts and talents into a phenomenal artistic lifestyle thus adding rich color and texture to the local environment and providing a valuable service to others. 

White’s unique creations / Photo Credit: MB Journe 4/2022
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