Kelly Baxter: Artist | Jewelry Designer

They say life is like a box of chocolates – or in the case of artist Kelly Baxter, it may be like a box of bright, shiny, candy colored earrings. At Club Car, one thing we value regarding our team is an appreciation for everyone’s individuality and personal gifts, our own “box of chocolates”, if you will. With this in mind, our intuition told us that Kelly Baxter would be a great addition to our team. She’s been part of our family for several months now, and her eye for the smallest detail hasn’t gone unnoticed. While in our business that may translate into her quest for specific wine or ingredient knowledge, or her sensitivity to nuance in guest service, in Kelly’s world as a lifelong artist and jewelry designer, an eye for detail has always been purely essential.

A Southern California native who relocated to Cool with her husband in late in 2011, Kelly Baxter has been designing jewelry for the marketplace since the age of sixteen. Her work has been featured and sold in over 150 boutiques, galleries, and museum shops since 2003.  She has been featured at the industry’s top trade shows, and currently has a collection selling at Auburn’s trendy Ro Sham Bo Boutique, which specializes in contemporary and vintage handpicked clothing and accessories. The current collection is reflective of Kelly’s penchant for working with materials that fall outside of the typical metals and gemstones. It’s a limited edition Lucite collection, fashioned with vintage Lucite that she’s been collecting and utilizing for years.

Tortoise Hoops, Lucite Collection:
by Kelly Metal
Available at Ro-Sham-Bo Boutique, Auburn

“It’s what I call “dead stock,” explains Kelly, “Lucite that was produced between the 40’s and the 80’s. This means that given its age, the quality of my vintage Lucite is amazing since it has never been in circulation. Not to mention, the colors and shapes are intoxicating.”   Kelly also suggests that given the growing appreciation for vintage fashion items in recent years, Lucite accessories have become heavily collected.

While it’s true that Kelly initially learned the art of making jewelry from her father, a jeweler by profession, it’s likely that the most profound influence on her creative nature stems from being born into a family of artists.  In addition to her father’s artistry, Kelly’s mother and grandmother are painters, and her brother is a glass blower. “I remember my first art class,” recalls Kelly, “I was five years old; I sculpted a turtle out of clay. The shell lifts off and to this day I keep small treasures inside.” Kelly recalls helping her father as young as the age of 9, assembling bracelets, and in her teens learning the art of wax carving and jewelry production, and even polishing the rings of customers at her father’s trade shows. This led to Kelly making her own creations and selling them to friends at school, an even door to door. She recalls that she grew up in “an atmosphere of making and selling, a combination that is rare for an artist.” Her father often sought new ideas from the young minds of Kelly and her brother, a way of connecting with the younger generation.

Kelly began her higher education at Pacific Northwest College of Art, Oregon, but when she was told that she couldn’t weld until senior year, she knew it wasn’t the place for her. She transferred to the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, majoring in sculpture and metalworking. Given her experience with metalwork and molds, she was quickly put in charge of bronze pours at their foundry. She likens casting bronze sculptures to “being a big form of making jewelry”, in that wax is sculpted, molds are made, and metal is poured. She explains, “Only in the case of bronze casting, it’s heated underground and pulled up in a huge crucible by an electric hoist”.

Since starting her company, Kelly Metal, in 2003, Kelly has worked with many different materials outside of the mainstream, including steel bracelets that she hand formed using a mallet and anvil, her first of many designs that have been featured in the Orange County Museum of Art Gift Store. Preferring to work with unique materials, Kelly’s passion for Lucite has been a long lasting chapter in her creative career, as she has created and sold hundreds of original and limited edition pieces. Though she’s had great success in the retail marketplace, it sounds like she’s happier limiting her outlets and focusing more on creating to satisfy her inner artist, rather than creating to fulfill orders. She is contemplating developing a carved and cut brass collection in the near future.

Developed in the 1930’s by the DuPont Company, Lucite was first used in the construction of war materials in the 1940’s, but really caught the attention of fashion conscious crowds in the creation of jewelry and handbags in the 50’s and 60’s.
Lucite Collection by Kelly Metal | Available at Ro Sham Bo Boutique, Auburn CA

Kelly is offering a 15% “Club Car” discount on her pieces currently for sale at Ro Sham Bo for the months of November and December. Simply stop by The Club Car & pick up a coupon – then head on down to Ro Sham Bo, a short walk located at 923 Lincoln Way, next to the clock tower.  It’s the perfect way to get a great meal and tackle some holiday shopping!

 Kelly’s online shop can be viewed at:

View her latest designs by liking Kelly Metal on facebook.


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