We had the good fortune of connecting with Kay Cummins and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kay, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Well my first line of Jewelry was Out And About Girls – Funky and Found Object jewelry for Cool People. YOU know who you are! I have always dressed for happiness and humor. This jewelry was to share this joy with others. There wasn’t any deep meaning to my art; it was simple; be noticed, laugh and have others drawn to you with the same reaction. I was very successful with this line and the website and custom work are still available. This jewelry included enamel, vintage tins, lunchboxes and billiard balls. My current line uses advanced skills and expanded the materials I use; including Steel, Gold, Colorful Gemstones and Cloisonné enamel. There was another side of my personality that was dying to be introduced. FeAu Steel and Gold Jewelry by Kay Cummins is for the confident individual, with an edgy, Urban point of view. A combination of industrial and precious metals results in a contrast that is exciting and unique. Not everyone will wear it and that’s ok. The people that do will be collectors and want more. From a business perspective, this is what I want. It allows me to make less work, but more time consuming work. I love being my own boss, working from my home studio with my crew of corgis. They mostly supervise and handle customer relations.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
College. Retail. Finances. Mgmt. and finally Art! My life has been interesting with different work experiences that provided a business understanding that many artists or creatives never get. I am grateful for all those hard years of learning and work in busy industries. After stopping traditional work in 2000, I had the time and desire to express myself not only using my hands, but thru art jewelry. The ideas just burst out. Every night I needed to sketch and write ideas down before going to bed or I worried that the idea would slip away. I took classes, read books, collected materials that called to me and of course started to build my studio and tools. My view point is unique and doesn’t appeal to large segments of the population and that makes me happy. I would never want my work to be mass produced. My energy is transferred into each work and even a productive artist can only produce so much. The biggest challenge is getting in front of the best potential customers. Not easy and it takes time, money and persistence to build up a collector base. I traveled and did large art shows, which was exciting and taught me so much. I love meeting people and telling them about my work. Selling comes naturally to me and that is a blessing. As the skill and price or my work climbed it was no longer feasible to do a typical art show and I have adjusted to very limited shows and galleries. Collectors are extremely valuable. I’m at Blink Gallery and Studio in Old Town Scottsdale and at the yearly Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour and Sale in Carefree at Nancy Michaelson’s Red Rope Studio.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First stop: Desert Botanical Garden amazing desert and art inspiration. My Three Girls Bakery, Phoenix on Indian School Rd. Latte’s and Scones – Get the Savory Scone Sandwich Florencia Pizza Bistro in Ahwatukee – Even people that thought they knew the best place to get pizza, Change their mind after going here. The Barrio Cafe in Phoenix with Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza @BarrioCafeComidaChingona. I actually took cooking classes from her years ago. Silvana has an amazing gift and she supports artists and her culture(s) in the most giving and inspirational way. Hiking in South Mountain Park, Various skill levels of hikes and desert beauty – always take water and wear sunscreen Grand Canyon – so many people have never been! And Kartchner Caverns State Park in Benson, Arizona. I have food lists a mile long! What is a visit without great eats.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The Phoenix Center of Arts – learning jewelry skills in a group setting The Enamelist Society – International Enameling group that exposed me to sharing, learning and inspiration. My fellow Artists. My Instructors. My Collectors. My Family.

Website: KayCummins.com OutAndAboutGirls.com
Instagram: @cumminskay
Facebook: @KayCumminsFeAu · Artist @OutAndAboutGirls · Artist
Other: Hidden In The Hills Studio Tour and Art Sale in Scottsdale, Carefree and Cave Creek @ Red Rope Studio #5, every year the weekend before and after Thanksgiving HiddenInTheHills.Org just 67 days from now

Image Credits
Kay Cummins

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.