ABOUT K ROBINS DESIGNS
The K Robins Studio is located near Wintergreen Mountain Resort in Nellysford, Virginia. Our homegrown business of family and friends currently resides in the Rockfish Valley Community Center, a thriving community of artists, musicians, farmers, healing practitioners and social activists. We have been here a little over a year as we search for a place for the business and studios to settle down.
Expression through art and craft has been a lifelong companion for me. The images and themes of these designs tell a personal, yet universal story.
The work with symbols began about 30 years ago at a time of extreme upheaval. I changed from making art that was functional to art that was very personal and symbolic. The new work, with symbols and figurative images, gave me comfort, strength and insight. As my life continued to challenge me, symbolic art became a path or practice.
When I design I am looking for the simplest, most direct lines I can find to express my emotion. It is similar to tuning a musical instrument. When the instrument is in tune, it has a magical quality not there when it is not in tune. So it is with working with symbols. So when I get it just right, I say ‘it sings’.
I was born and raised in Virginia and reside there in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The soft green hills and fresh mountain rivers of Nelson County have provided a comforting and nourishing place to raise my three children and build community.
An epiphany of sorts occurred around 1980 and I began to see life in a new way. While my young children played nicely upstairs I would steal away to my basement shop where I normally made furniture, cooking utensils and an assortment of other wooden things. Now to my amazement, out of the wood and sawdust, a series of female figurines was erupting. The original cherry, boxwood, rosewood and ebony symbols and figures have evolved into a line of silver pendants that includes nearly 100 designs.
Family, deep friendships and an array of teachers have been a steady source of inspiration. Their outpouring of talent, courage, and wisdom has profoundly affected my work. Some pieces, such as Aphrodite, Shakti and Changer are visionary, that is, I see them in my mind first. They work as affirmations or visualizations. Others, like Raven, Cerridwen and Vrksasana are attempts to capture qualities that amaze me in people I know and love. Many of the jewelry designs come from my fascination with the language of symbols and how the art of different cultures and times echoes around the world.
All cultures surround themselves with symbols of some sort and naturally pass them reverently from generation to generation. These symbols lift up and guide us through life's interwoven cycles of birth, life, death and rebirth.
In the studio, all of us seek personal /spiritual growth and study the connections between world civilizations past and present. We pursue a variety of spiritual paths such as Japanese Tea Ceremony, Sufism, the Christian tradition, Yoga and others that feed our souls. We share on a daily basis our thoughts, inspirations and prayers. We have many lively exchanges about projects and organizations we want to interface and network with.
To learn more about K Robins and our close staff of family and friends, we invite you to Meet Our Staff.
While working with the famous flute maker, Patrick Olwell , K discovered the process of lost wax casting. Just as Patrick made silver keys for his Renaissance flutes out of wax first, she began to carve wax into the designs she had been carving in wood at home. There are probably around 50 hand carved pieces of wood with inlays (rosewood, boxwood, cherry) that are the beginnings of her jewelry collection.
K often begins carving the wax with little preliminary drawing. She works for weeks, months or sometimes years before a piece completely manifests into being. K searches within the wax, 'finding the lines'. Research, contemplation, emotion and inspiration start the process of carving, adding and removing wax until the qualities she is looking for emerge. K has a unique ability to infuse jewelry with the energy and impact usually reserved for large-scale sculpture. With precision tools and a magnifying visor, K will tease out of the wax the spirit of a warrior, the passion of a mother, or the wisdom of a healer.
Achieving her vision in wax, K will have a master cast in sterling silver. She then works with the silver master, grinding and polishing the finish details. Once the master is perfected, a mold is created and the piece is put into production. When she sits down to write a card about the piece, K uses the same simplification method used with the carving, taking away (not this, not this) until the essence appears (ah, this!).
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Kathryn Ponn-Muhler manages day-to-day operations for K Robins Designs. Her life journey has encompassed a focus on personal growth and development for women. As a yoga instructor for 14 years, she encourages those who study with her to seek peace and beauty within. "K is such a joy to be around... she makes working seem like play. Her gentle spirit and her incredible creative ability translates into designs that touch the essense of one's heart, soul and life."
Betsy Greenleaf (on the right) is our bookkeeper and office assistant. Besides keeping us straight with the books, Betsy is a mother, wife, landscape designer and herbalist. She also is a cranial sacral student and involved with co-housing development in the Charlottesville area. "K is my tennis buddy and I love whooping up on her. She, Kathryn, Kelsey and I have fun in the office together and I do not cuss as much as I did at first."
Sidney Lockaby, our webmistress, is K's sister and lives in North Carolina, where she spends much of her free time volunteering with Mecklenburg Ministries, an organization that strives to build bridges across religious, racial, and ethnic differences. "K and I are very different.
She is the artist with a spatial mind and a gentle spirit - I am the 'project manager'. K has always loved design and art. This love, combined with her searching, inquisitive mind, is expressed in her wonderful symbolic jewelry creations. I believe in K's work, particularly when I see the 'spirit' it awakens in those who wear and give it."
Kelsey Vergin has worked with us all of the summer of 2007,2008,2010 helping with packaging and shipping. She is off to school again, attending Guilford College in North Carolina where she studies environmental science.
Kelsey, chowing down on some serious cake from our favorite local restaurant...
Melissa Luce started working with K in 2010 after a serendipitous event brought her into the realm of K's studio. "Laughter brought me here, inspiration keeps me interested. I can't help but be constantly inspired by K. Her free-flowing thought process gets me going and I keep coming up with more and more ideas." Besides helping out with the many duties around the office, Melissa is discovering her own artistic creativity. As an apprentice, her work is included in the K Robins Designs Collection.
Apprentices 2007 and 2008
Jessica Roelof - "Jessica is my latest apprentice, who shows so much potential I hardly know what to do with her.
I am delighted to find someone with the patience, determination and skill to carve wax, which is rare in today's environment.
To top it off, Jessica and I appear to be in sync with our vision of the world. We are currently offering two of her designs - Matzu and Butterfly.
Jessica is currently enrolled in the School of Nursing at the University of Virginia but she continues to work with us in the summers." K
Ailey Greig worked with us during the summer of 2007 and left to attend Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan in the fall.
Eli Chanin is studying Reike along with other esoteric arts and is currently on retreat at the Meher Baba Center in South Carolina. We hope to have him back in the shop doing finishing this fall.
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Our Past Staff
Deborah Justice (Justice) has moved on to pursue her own career in art. Her experience as a professional artist and a craftswoman is reflected on our website and in our designs from 2006 (Namaskara Mudra, Gratitude, Shou Butterfly and Trigram Turtle). These designs are collaborations between K and Justice. Her keen eye for art and enthusiasm for this business is already missed. Keep an eye out for progressive and visionary art from Justice Galactica. Find out more about Justice..
Gerry Riddick-Bernard has been an inspiration to the business, helping out with overall office management and many, many projects. She has taken a teaching job in the school system and is no longer here except in spirit. Many of you have spoken with her over the years as our in-house representative. Gerry and K have shared a long-time friendship immersed in the wonderful abundance and community of Nelson County. We are keeping her on staff as advisor.
" The fact that K’s jewelry touches a deep core of empowerment - reminding people of aspects of themselves (and verily all life) that they wish to celebrate, evoke, and multiply - is a delight. The spring of ancient symbols, women’s spirituality, nature, archetypes, and creative vision echos the divine. "
Freya Ritchie and
Hayley Osborne and Kendra Lansing
Cristina Webster - "Cristina was one of my first office assistants. As a young bright business woman, she pushed me to be more 'business oriented' and I am sure I frustrated her much of the time. We spent many hours on the chat couch talking about life, philosophy, addictions and business. I miss her enthusiasm and vision. She is off and running with her career - check her out if you can find her. I luvya Cristina!" K
Cristina Webster (on the right) and
Kendra Lansing - a rare photo opportunity.
K and Sidney's Mother
February 25, 1914 - July 27, 2009
Mom's exquisite sense of design, beauty, and style and her guiding principles of honesty, hard work, generosity, and family love have been an integral part of K's evolving business.
Mom left her earthly existence on July 27, 2009, but she is evermore with K, Sidney, and Clark.
|The satellite studio in Richmond, Virginia, was built by K's brother, Clark Robins . The Japanese-style studio sits serenely in the backyard of Lillian Robins and allowed K and Sidney a beautiful place to work on the business while visiting and watching over their mom in her last years.
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