Kelci Potter

Santa Cruz CA

Photography by Nitsa Citrine

Featuring Kelci Potter

describe what you do -
I design and hand make solid gold jewelry, first forming my pieces by hand in beeswax, and then casting with the lost wax casting process.

Where were you photographed for this interview?
At our home in Bonny Doon, in the hills above Santa Cruz.

How long have you had your MS coat?
I bought this coat, this special coat I cherish, a little over five years ago.

Since meeting you at the first Mercado in Topanga I have felt supported and inspired by your sensibility and generosity. I have seen your work blossom! I am curious to know how you have managed to birth your jewelry line whilst being a single mum.
Being a full time single mum of two little ones while being the sole designer and creator of a business has been a challenge. Honestly, its really fucking hard. But somehow, I have found the strength I need. I would have never known the depth of strength that lies within me. Being a single mamma has inspired me, challenged me, and transformed me. It is an ongoing journey, I am learning and growing and messing up everyday.
I launched my business during the same time period I found Milena’s work . A great shift in my world, a cracking open and suddenly it felt absolutely necessary for me to create in gold. My daughter Sparrow was only one and my son Taj was four. I began working at night in my kitchen, just kind of winging it with a torch and some gold. The pieces sprung from my heart in my candle lit kitchen as my babes slept . Now I work while they are at school, still at my kitchen table mostly.

You are incredible! Do you ever involve your children in the process of making?
Sparrow loves to slip every one of my rings onto her fingers. She is already designing her earrings for when she gets her ears pierced. Both of my children are fascinated by my process. I form my pieces with beeswax with my hands as tools. My children love to make their own pieces in wax, and love to get into the sawing and hammering.

Does living so close to nature informs your habits and/or your work?
Nature deeply informs my work. Colors tones textures, subtle undulations of sea or stone, and soft curve of a hill or the spiral of the tiniest shell. Nature for me is my sanctuary, and it enlivens, heals, and inspires me endlessly.

Who are some of the makers & designers you admire, and why?
During the potent period of time I found Milena, I also found women makers and designers that continue to inspire me. Milena Silvano, Lauren Manoogian, Ryan Roche, Black Crane, Rachel Comey, Salihah Moore, Babaa, Beatrice Valenzuela, Rachel Craven, Jesse Kamme, Misha and Puff and Nico Nico for my babes...
They inspired me deeply. Women. Authentic. Running their own businesses, creating timeless quality pieces consciously and slowly. Pieces my soul resonates with. Pieces to live in that will last. Pieces to express my voice with

“I found Milena’s work amidst an incredibly potent and transformational time in my life. I can’t remember how I stumbled upon her, but this particular time in my life I somehow found many designers I love to this day who were just beginning to blossom in their own businesses. I have expressed myself through fashion since I was a child. For much of my life I felt like I did not have a voice, and the way I dressed was my loudest voice. And in this time, five years ago, so potent and so deeply stirring and life altering, I sought out other artists whose own expression seemed to vibrate with my own. Milena was one of these artists for me. I immediately bought my first sheepskin coat from her. It has been my spirit coat ever since”.


pick a current favourite...

a song -
Rococo Zephyr, Bill Callahan

a book -
I have a few I hold close right now, given to me by some of my dearest loves. Leaves of grass, Walt Whitman; Lust for Life, Irving Stone; and Journeywork, David Bailey

an item of clothing -
This vintage demin duster I found at a thrift store a bit ago. I basically wear it everyday, along with my Micaela Greg merino knit pants

a piece of jewelry -
My Salihah Moore Obi earrings, my great grandmothers gold and pink coral ring, and an ombre blue wool necklace my daughter finger knit for me

a recipe -
A healing recipe from my dear friend and acupuncturist, Nancy Park (look her up if you are ever in Santa Cruz and in need of deep healing work @templesantacruz).

Nancy’s chicken soup:

Thank the chicken for its life. Simmer whole chicken in a large pot of water, salt, grated ginger, grated turmeric, ground black pepper, a handful of astragalus, ginseng, and reishi mushrooms until the meat is fully cooked. You can also add gogi berries, red dates, chaga mushrooms as well as chicken feet if you can find them.