Knowing Your Neighbors: Britta Lynn Design Handmade Jewelry

Britta Kauppila creates custom rings, necklaces, and earrings in her Duluth studio

DULUTH, Minn. – The Northland is home to many artists with a variety of different skills.

Britta Kauppila is making a career of her talent, working with as a metalsmith.

“I love working with my hands,” says Kauppila. “I love to just create things.”

On a typical day at her studio inside the Armory Fire Arts Building it’s not uncommon to hear noises that might sound more like a construction site.

“I always like to say I have more tools than my husband, they might be a lot smaller, but I have a lot, says Kauppila”

For the last six years, the Minnesota native and UMD graduate has been designing  custom rings, necklaces and earrings.

“I always like to think of how jewelry interacts with the body as well, how it makes the wearer feel, how it moves against the body,” says Kauppila. “That’s one unique thing with jewelry as an art medium. It’s not a static thing, not hanging on the wall. It’s meant to be worn, have a life, have motion.”

Kauppila works with a variety of gold, non–traditional stones and strictly uses recycled metals in her jewelry.

“When you work in an industry where all the materials come from the ground and the earth it’s my responsibility to be as careful and thoughtful with my sourcing as possible.”

Like many artists around the Twin Port, Lake Superior often serves as inspiration for Kauppila’s designs. One of her recent necklaces is titled “Ripple” because of its likeness to the waves of Lake Superior.

Metals allow Kauppila to reflect some distinct characteristics of the natural world in her jewelry.

“For me I love to be able to try and figure out how to mimic or recreate or get a sense of that natural works and be able to bring that with you in a piece of metal.”

Using plyers, hammers or whatever tools she stumbles across, Kauppila takes pride in crafting these one of a kind pieces, like the old rusted skate blade she found on the shore.

“Jewelry has been around for thousands of years and it’s always been to highlight what’s important to each society and civilization and each person. That’s the way to capitulate it into these tiny moments and thoughts you get to wear and enjoy every day.”

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