In addition to our handcrafted ceramics, Niik Creative Co. features a collection of local artisans and crafters who specialize in other mediums. Our mission is to bring together a unique selection of well-crafted home goods for a natural and authentic lifestyle.
Meet Kalil Zender Metalsmithing:
Hi! I'm Kalil, the maker of these creations.
I have been making jewelry for almost as long as I can remember. As a small kid, I made beaded necklaces, bracelets and earrings that I sold at the 18th century historical reenactments (Rendezvous) my family attended throughout my childhood and adolescence. While my parents sold their historical trade silver, quill work, handsewn moccasins, and carved wooden bowls, I set out my own little jewelry display on a faded wool blanket on the grass beside them. I'm sure people only bought these early pieces because of the novelty of seeing a little girl dressed in historical garb hustling wares alongside her parents, but I felt like a true artist and entrepreneur.
When I was about thirteen, my dad decided to train me as his metalsmithing apprentice. Over the next few years (and still sometimes today), I helped my dad make reproductions of rings, earrings, brooches, bracelets, hat bands and combs found at historical sites across the Northeastern US. I learned to use traditional tools and metalsmithing methods, including how to engrave metal using a handheld "wiggle" engraver.
As I got older, I began to develop my own jewelry style. My pieces have changed and my style has shifted over time, but I continue to use the same traditional tools and techniques my dad taught me. I no longer make historical reproductions (except when helping my dad boost his own inventory), and all of the designs you see here are completely my own. However, my work is undoubtedly influenced by those original trade silver pieces, as well as by the North African and East Asian silversmiths whose work I have encountered during my time spent living overseas.
Currently, you can find me back home in Marquette, Michigan just a five minute walk from Lake Superior. I produce all of my work in my home, nestled in the corner of the crumbling basement which I share with an abundance of spiders and dust--and I couldn't be happier.
You can find a selection of Kalil's stunning work in our shop on Presque Isle, or in her Online Store.