One of the best things about Joshua Tree are the people in the community. We've had the pleasure to meet some of these unique individuals who've given up the city and have made an incredible life for themselves amongst the Joshua Trees. These people are artists, musicians, photographers, AirBnB hosts, restaurant owners, and entrepreneurs of all kinds. Take time to meet one of these "gems" of Joshua Tree and Babes Ride Out 5 raffle contributor, Kate from Hexorn Jewelry. PS: If you ever see anything you like, all artist we feature are available for commissioned pieces. Kate can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name Kate O’Connell
Location Joshua Tree, CA
Business | Job Creative Director and designer of Hexorn Jewelry
Tell us about yourself and how you ended up in Joshua Tree.
My husband and I bought a house out here in 2012, a retreat from life in LA, something to renovate and rent out. The more time we spent out here, the less connected to the city we became and the more time we wanted to spend here. We eventually made the deal with ourselves that we try it for a few years, see how we like it, and we could always return. Now I don’t think we ever will. It has been transformative and magical in endless ways.
How has your desert surroundings changed your lifestyle?
The solitude, and the quiet, and the beauty of this place connects me back to nature, which is a big part of the jewelry I create. The stones are almost completely unchanged, unaltered from how they’re pulled out of the ground and the settings that I do are made to look organic, as if the stone is growing out of the piece. So, trying to create this connection to nature while living in a city was pretty jarring, it was difficult to get that focus on nature, whereas living out here has just been a huge push in that direction.
In my studio I sit with a window that looks out at my yard, and there’s nothing beyond it, and that’s how I am able to lose myself of any thoughts of stresses of the day, or other work, politics, or anything that’s going on and just meditate on that space. I can watch my dogs run and be idiots. I can laugh at that, and feel all of this space both beyond my walls, and then within my head because of that. It’s really great. It’s focused me outward on bigger things than just myself and things that are going on with me.
Tell us how your business came to be.
My dearest friend and star sister, Nikki - a crystal hunter in Montana -gave me a stone that she wire-wrapped in ring form, but it was with copper wiring, and I can’t wear anything that is copper or brass. I had this incredibly resonating piece from her and I wanted to wear it, but I couldn’t, which pushed me into this process of figuring out how to make a ring out of this crystal that I could wear. I got really into it after that first one. I just enjoyed the process and I started doing a lot of research into how to do it better and was excited by the entire idea. I had a handful of stones from Nikki and made some other test rings, and then I got the idea of making a scarab ring. So I bought better tools, and out of that same material carved out this scarab ring. I had a handful of them made and people seemed to want them, so it kind of naturally evolved into something I was doing not just for myself, but for other people as well.
What is a day in the life like when you run your own business?
I have a pretty great daily life. I wake up and spend some quality snuggle times with my three dogs, make myself coffee and them breakfast and then spend a few hours on social media marketing and answering emails. I spend most of the afternoon in my studio either carving new collections, photographing pieces that have just come in, or creative my marketing materials for upcoming works, then I take some time for myself in the late afternoon, doing yoga and swimming laps with the pups. I love to cook and make dinner by scratch for my husband and myself almost every night, and spend the evening with him. Of course, some of those days are jam packed with other tasks, depending on where I am with any collection, but I try to give myself a very good balance energy to my work and personal life.
What are you currently working on?
I’m in the midst of a ceremonial collection that I’m SO excited about. The collection is called Hexorn Altar, and it is intended to be pieces that can be worn as either wedding rings, or to represent any other important milestones in ones life. I’m building the collection as gender fluid, over the 15 or so pieces in the collection, there will be rings that sway very femme, very masc and everywhere in between. I want the point to not be ‘what does a MAN’S ring look like’ but ‘what does MY ring look like’.
What is something you cherish about Joshua Tree?
The community out here is outstanding. We have friends from all walks of life, and we truly know them as people. We spend time in our homes, cooking each other dinner and breaking bread around the table, with conversation and laughter. It’s such a shift from our old city life of restaurants, bars and parties. This place brought us all here and is continuing to bring us all together.
What are you donating to the raffle?
I am making a custom smoky quartz necklace for it!
Any recommendations for ladies traveling to Joshua Tree for Babes Ride Out 5?
If you have time, go down to visit The Living Desert in Palm Desert, it’s a fantastic animal sanctuary and desert botanical gardens, with a strong directive to protect our desert and the things living within it.