Meet Handcrafted America’s Artisan Kaminer Haislip

Kaminer Haislip, Silver Teapots

When Kaminer Haislip was growing up in Aiken, South Carolina, she spent a lot of time in her family’s hardware and appliance store. With so many intriguing items before her curious eyes, she was drawn to wonder at the shape and form of three-dimensional objects. She attributes this early experience as a direct influence on her interest in silversmithing. In high school, Kaminer began the exploration in earnest, becoming absorbed in sculpture and art jewelry.

After attending Winthrop University, earning a BFA in Jewelry and Metals, and an MFA in Silversmithing and Design, with a minor in Sculpture, and studying under renowned British silversmith, Alfred Ward, Kaminer made the move to Charleston.

Today, from her studio in the Redux Contemporary Art Center in downtown, she creates original, handcrafted designs, and often takes commissions from people who seek unique silver and gold pieces.

Over the years, Kaminer has exhibited in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and across the United States, including New York and Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in a variety of magazines, such as Elle Décor, Southern Living, Charleston Magazine, Traditional Home, among others.

Her honors and awards include the Made in the South Award (Home Category) from Garden & Gun Magazine, The Eric Berg Prize for Excellence in Metal at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, and Historic Charleston Foundation’s Samuel Gaillard Stoney Conservation Craftsmanship Award. In 2015, Kaminer collaborated with Reese Witherspoon’s southern lifestyle company, Draper James, on an exclusive silver bowl.

Meet Kaminer…

What drew you to your chosen craft?

Originally from Aiken, South Carolina, I grew up in my family’s hardware and appliance business. This experience directly influenced my interest in creating three-dimensional objects and during high school I became enthusiastically absorbed in sculpture and jewelry making. I attended Winthrop University where I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jewelry and Metals and a Master of Fine Arts in Silversmithing. I found silversmithing to be the perfect marriage of my interest in sculptural forms and jewelry and metals techniques. For both of my degrees I studied under Alfred Ward, an internationally acclaimed English silversmith.

What do you enjoy most about your craft?

Silversmithing for me is the perfect combination of my early interest in sculpture and jewelry and metals techniques. I have always been drawn to making things with my hands and find my craft to be an extension of myself. Through designing and making silver objects and jewelry I communicate my ideas and artistic concepts.

Why is it important for people to make things with their own hands?

For me, making things with my hands is both existential and fulfilling. Creating a functional object such as a teapot out of sheet silver by manipulating the raw material with my hands is extremely rewarding. The handcrafted, silver teapot has longevity and will exist past my life.

In what ways are handmade goods better than those that are mass produced?

Handcrafted objects are superior in quality to mass produced goods through the construction and attention to detail that only a human can apply. Handmade objects are also unique, because no two are ever exactly alike. This quality gives the object its own individuality and identity that mass produced items do not possess.

What does the future hold for your type of work?

My design approach is not steered by fashion or trends, but focuses on timeless quality that is durable and lasts. I am devoted to exceptional craftsmanship and all of my work is exquisitely fabricated by hand.  My concepts vary for different series, but all of my work is unified by elegant design that never goes out of style.


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