Katy Beh Jewelry

I love my new studio!

I love my new studio!

My happy place.

I just created my own slice of heaven in my new apartment.
My jewelry studio is almost complete and it's dream come true!
Keep reading to learn how I made it perfect.

New Orleans studio of jewelry designer Katy Beh

Bright, sunny, white and homey. That is my recipe for the perfect art studio. I found it in a classic home in Uptown New Orleans. Making my "happy place" was priority one when I moved this summer. It took several months to get it both functional and comfortable. I still have a few things to do, but over all my jewelry studio is exactly how I have always wanted it.

Martha Stewart Craft furniture in New Orleans jewelry designer Katy Beh's studio

I invested in cabinets and work tables from the Martha Stewart Craft Space Collection sold through Homedecorators.com. I live in a New Orleans house that’s over a hundred years old.  Heart of pine floors, fourteen foot ceilings, transom windows, crown molding...the works.  The aesthetic of the Martha Stewart collection works beautifully with the original historic details of my apartment.

New Orleans studio of jewelry designer Katy Beh

I bought or painted everything white (I still have a few pieces to attack). My go-to white spray paint is Rust-Oleum Universal. That's my new Llasa Apso in her bed under my work table.  Birdie is THE. CUTEST. dog you've ever seen.

Colored gemstone yellow gold jewelry by New Orleans designer Katy Beh

Natural light comes in through the transom window and French doors that open to the balcony.  For an easy window covering, I hung Quick Fix Shades.  Later on, I am going to make frames covered in super sheer white fabric for the permanent solution.

Soldering set up of New Orleans jewelry designer Katy Beh

Reading glasses are everywhere.  Most of them are orange.   Turning forty + wearing contacts + being a jeweler has my near vision very confused.  I usually have three pairs on my head when I am working...2's, 3's and 4's.  Yeah, it's that bad.  The little snapshot on my soldering bench is me and my son at Graceland several years ago.  The OMG on his face is authentic.

New Orleans studio of jewelry designer Katy Beh has blown glass vase

I made it mine with my own drawings, keepsakes and photographs. I have a lovely collection of French Ivory (sometimes called celluloid) vanity boxes.  I keep all kinds of treasures in them like my son's first pair of shoes.  Those red Keds were the first of ten pairs.  The blown glass vase is by Scott Benefield while at Studio Inferno back when I managed RHINO Gallery.  My mom and dad's wedding photo, a little watercolor I did when I lived in New York and Sam's awesome pouty school picture line up the mantle.

Cat cartoon by New Orleans artist Katy Beh  

My rolling mill is the Bomb.  I use it to roll the ingots of 22k yellow gold I alloy into flat sheet or different gauges of wire.  Above it is a little watercolor drawing I did many moons ago.

RISD jewelry by alumni Katy Beh in New Orleans studio

I put out some of the crazy jewelry I made at RISD.  My senior year, my work exploded with color and sass. I tried to enamel, but it takes SO LONG, so I grabbed my acrylic paints. The illustration style you see came about after taking a book making class during Wintersession.  I wrote, illustrated and created a literary masterpiece entitled 10,000 Flushes.  Stop over and see it on my coffee table. Bring wine.  

New Orleans studio in shotgun home of jewelry designer Katy Beh

My apartment has a classic New Orleans shotgun floorplan. My studio is in the dining room on the flightpath to the kitchen (traditionally in the back of the house). Putting my studio here was a no-brainer since we eat in my living room most of the time. I used the FLOR squares from my jewelry booth in the kitchen. The aluminum mirror on the left is Ikea and from my store.

Drawings by New Orleans jewelry designer Katy Beh and Fifi Mahoney headpiece.

It was very important that my studio felt like part of my home; not an afterthought. It is the heart of my home after all. On top of the cabinet hutch is the Fifi Mahoney's headpiece I am saving for the day my birthday is on Mardi Gras again!  Those little gray drawers are from Ikea.  I get a lot of my jewelry equipment and supplies from Rio Grande.  That's an Ott lamp.  Love them.

Katy Beh Jewelry studio in New OrleansFreakin' fireplace in my studio. Yeah, I'm that girl. That mirror above the mantle was there when I moved in. SCORE! In addition to making my jewelry, I also do all of my own photography. The set-up is front of the window to take advantage of the natural light. I use several different kits designed for jewelry photography such as Cloud Dome and Light Case.

  New Orleans studio of jewelry designer Katy Beh RISD alumni

I tucked my flat screen computer into my grandmother’s chinoiserie secretary. My dad brought the desk to New Orleans forever ago when he was visiting for Thanksgiving.  I am so psyched to have it, but at the time I couldn't believe my dad thought I was adult enough to have family heirlooms. On top is a French Ivory tray with a bunch of jewelry I made while at RISD. That's me and my dad on graduation day. Favorite shots of Sam.

Sunny studio of New Orleans jewelry designer Katy Beh

My sweet Birdie-Girl is usually at my feet...that is if she's not chasing my cats. I adopted her from Zeus' Place in New Orleans. Sometimes she gets chewing on her leg and turns off the power strip right there. Goof. The French doors go out to one of two balconies. The rolling chair is from Target.  It used to be orange before I came at it with a can of spray paint. I shoved my printer on the foot rail under the desk.

Katy Beh New Jewelry Studio New Orleans Custom Gemstone Yellow Gold

I held onto two Ikea cases from my retail store. The long photograph propped on top is by Karen Strohbeen, my son's cousin. She's a super awesome artist living and working with her husband Bill Luchsinger in central Iowa...my home state. The portrait of my son is by Nicole Finger. I need to get better lighting for the cases.  Right now though, a couple of chrome desk lamps work great with the Philips LED bulbs in Daylight.  LOVE the Daylight bulbs.

Shopify POS app used by Katy Beh Jewelry New Orleans

The foyer into the studio is a great spot for showcasing my jewelry. I sell my jewelry on my website, at home shows and private appointments. The photo on the left of my son playing with his grandparents Christmas toy collection is also by Karen Strohbeen. The photo of the two of us and David the Cat is by Theresa Cassagne from a feature in New Orleans Magazine. I use Shopify for my website and their Shopify POS app on my iPad Mini when I meet with clients in person. The floating shelf is a SECRET DRAWER SHELF (shhhhhh) made by Top Secret Furniture! Totally cool. I'll write more about it next month.

Jewelers bench of Katy Beh New Orleans

The little gallery nook is right before you walk into my studio. I love to show my clients how their pieces are made. I keep my gemstones in trays so I can drool over them all at once. Once a piece is complete, I sketch a little drawing of it with Pantone Colored Pencils on an index card.

Scarlett Earrings by New Orleans jewelry designer Katy Beh with rhodalite fire opal, apatite sepentine blue topaz

I design my pieces on the fly, that is I dive straight in and just start making something. Usually, it's an amazing stone combination that gets me going. I love playing with all my rocks. Arranging, pairing, juxtaposition the colors, shapes and textures can occupy me for hours.

Jewelry studio of New Orleans designer Katy Beh

From there, I use the sheet and wire I made to hand fabricate the piece. I was pretty stoked after soldering the earring you see above because I soldered all the bezels and wires to the back sheet in ONE SHOT. So what did I do? Post it on Facebook, of course!

New Orleans jewelry designer Katy Beh bezel set Mexican Fire Opal in 22k yellow gold ring.

Once all the gold work is complete, I set the stones by hand. Wait. I always forget one step...weighing the piece before the stones are set. I measure the gold by pennyweight (dwt). Then I set the stones (after weighing and measuring them, too).

22k yellow gold classical goldsmithing New Orleans artist Katy Beh

Once complete, I sign each piece with a hand engraver and "22KYG" to identify the gold's purity.

Custom jewelry sketches by New Orleans designer Katy Beh

I keep inventory of all of my loose gemstones as well as finished pieces. The app I use allows me to "assemble" a finished piece of jewelry using loose gemstones already cataloged into inventory. By entering a new piece of jewelry, the stones used are removed from "supply inventory" into "finished pieces inventory. I use index cards to keep track of everything when making a piece: stones, their weights, gauges of wire and sheet, etc. I note the date completed, name the piece and draw a little sketch of it with Pantone colored pencils.

Then the best part...the test drive! Here's a ridiculous video I made of the test drive of my Scarlett Earrings.

I  hope you've enjoyed the tour of my new studio.  I always welcome visitors!  If you live in New Orleans, stop by to see work in progress or browse my collection.  You might first look on www.katybeh.com, but shopping in person lets me show you how it was made and how all of my pieces work together.  Or, have me design a custom piece for you!  Everything I make is one of a kind and making something while knowing who will be wearing it is super cool.  I love that connection.

Feel free to share the blog or comment below!  I would love to hear from you!

Katy Beh Jewelry New Orleans

P.S.  Call or email me to set up an appointment to visit my new studio!  I work from home so my schedule is pretty flexible.  I promise, my jewelry is yummy pretty but even more delicious in person! Enter your name and email here: