My name is Katie Johansson and I’m the creator, metalsmith artist and designer for Dollybird. I just relocated my studio from the big city lights of Chicago, Illinois to a small, tree-lined town nearby called Barrington.
Dollybird is about rare ornaments to cherish – works to be collected in a hunt for the genuine. My jewelry is for anyone looking for a one-of-a-kind statement, or for the collector with a creative mind that is dissatisfied with today’s mass-produced society. It’s about timeless design, made for those who take pride in each piece being as genuine as the personality that wears it.
My process as a metalsmith has been built with tons of obsessive practice and perseverance. It begins with a hunt to find something special for my customer, which can be an ardent design from my own imagination, or a rare gem. From that point, each piece is made by hand – built and framed from sterling sheet and bezel wire, then hand-fitted, filed, soldered, torched and buffed for the grand finale of a finished piece. None of my pieces are cast.
I’m not afraid of hard work and change; I believe hard work and ambition feeds your dreams. I got into metalsmithing when I was looking to transition out of my interior design career and find something more to do with fashion. I landed a new job drafting and spec’ing jewelry for a wholesale company, and my architectural skills quickly transformed into fashion as a trend designer. Frustrated with mass production of inexpensive jewelry, I enrolled in classes for basic metalsmithing. It didn’t take long before I realized that I had found something I would never tire of. It’s been over 10 years with Dollybird and I’m still going strong. There’s always something new to learn and a fire to create something greater than before.
For me, Etsy represents the ethos of the American dream: an opportunity for prosperity and success that is achieved through a sense of freedom and hard work. It also means getting the chance to be global with my business. Because of Etsy, I have a fan base all over the world and in every corner of the U.S. I would like to send a heartfelt thank you to my customers and loyal collectors that have made Dollybird a true symbol of an eclectic independent brand surviving all these years. In the future, I’d love for Dollybird to keep growing strong with quality, one-of-a-kind jewelry that stands out from the crowd.
All photographs by Dollybird.