Meeting Mr. Kershaw was truly unique and interviewing him turned into a wonderfully insight adventure as he took me on a journey though time, to the core of is inspiration and one of a kind talent. Talking to Rock, and hearing his tone when he speaks about his craft, the biggest theme of all was community. Being an active member of the small business community in Raleigh, NC, Rock Kershaw genuinely believes in the 'small' artisans and natural arts & crafts practices. The handcrafted necklaces by Rock Kershaw are the epitome of all natural design and convey a significantly strong sense of something deep and true to of all mankind-- history. Rock is someone with true storytelling abilities and his character as well as his inspirational stories of history shine through his necklace creations.
Mari Juri, a costume designer and jewelry designer, joins Kershaw as his co-designer. Juri's experience working with a number of theaters and production companies adds drama and coherence to the overall collection.
Aleena: When did you decide to become a jewelry designer?
Rock: Well, I would have to say it's a highly coincidental matter by the manner in which I came upon designing and creating jewelry. It's a funny story because I was sitting around our home one day and my wife had one of those 'how to make your own jewelry kits and she wasn't using it and so, I picked it up and became fascinated with the hobby.
Aleena: What do you enjoy most about the design process? What's the most challenging?
Rock: The thing about the design process that I like most is just that-- designing and creating the necklaces. I've made anywhere from 400-500 necklaces, the pieces are preserved pieces used to make the necklaces, and it's all because I simply love to create jewelry.
Aleena: What do you enjoy most about the production process?
Rock: I would say the overall feel and ideas behind the designs that I create is what I enjoy most about the production process. Take a necklace, for example, the finished product is round, the shape of a halo, and this is a holy and spiritual symbol therefore, my necklaces are more than just decoration. I like to think of my creations in relation to the ideas of ancient times where jewels and adornments give mystical and wartime powers.
Aleena: What was the inspiration for your upcoming collection?
Rock: The overall ideas behind my inspiration for this collection all come from my sub-conscious and mostly contemporary issues such as war and women vs. men.
Aleena: How did you go about selecting the materials for this collection?
Rock: The materials for this collection and all of my work is very extensive and diverse. I use materials such as lava rock, tusks, T-rex teeth, chicken bones, low silver, volcanic rock, beads from all around the world, pearls, and I even have a tooth from a megalodon shark.
Aleena: What do you hope people will take away from your collection?
Rock: The main idea I want to convey to the audience is that 'shock and awe' factor. Having managed theater shows from 30 years, I don't do anything without putting on a full production. I also want everyone to notice the creativity and intricate details that go into all of my arts and crafts designs.
Aleena: How do you incorporate design practices into your process?
Rock: By using the all natural, preserved materials that I use makes my design practices very sustainable. I fall in love with my materials every time and I always say that I would not use any materials that I didn't like.
Aleena: Who are the designers and makers you look up to?
Rock: Some artists that I look up to would have to painters, such as Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele both were Austrian painters that used decorative, sensual, and contemporary styles.These are the exact design features I try to model and portray in my work.
Aleena: What kind of impact do you hope to make within the design world?
Rock: I hope to make a lasting impact within the design world through networking and my relationships with various types of professionals. For my design process I currently work with all kinds of different people like jewelers, producers, and other producers or art and design.
Aleena: How is history incorporated into your designer?
Rock: Well, I used to teach art history which still remains a passion and love of mine. During the debut of my latest collection of pieces, there will be a presentation of the colors from the N.C. State University color guard with patriotic phrases printed on each of the flag staffs. There will be five individuals modeling my collection the main model being Boudicca the warrior queen who fought against human legions with a strong motivation to preserve her country.
Aleena: Why is it important for you to support the growing design community in our area?
Rock: For quite some time now and ever since I have been creating my necklace designs, I've been a member of the local, Raleigh design community. I'm passionate about design and creating art and preserving objects that symbolize different times in our history.
Aleena: What can people expect to experience during your runway show?
Rock: People can definitely expect to experience a sense of staying true to the aesthetics through seeing a variety-- not only will there will people from all walks of life modeling in the show, but also a variety of jewelry creations.
Aleena: Who is one historical figure you'd like to spend an afternoon with?
Rock: Without a doubt, I would like to spend an afternoon with the Boudicca warrior queen. She was a strong feminine figure with good teeth and a deep laugh. She was a mother, a wife, and she had the rare ability to lead people (as she lead a legion of over 150 thousand farmers into war). I would ask her all kinds of things-- about her daughter, her husband, her family, how she made her clothing and if she could show me some fighting moves!