"Some of the earliest memories I have are of times spent collecting unusual and sparkly pebbles and rocks at my grandparent's farm.  My grandfather knew I was enamored with stones and found a rock in the field one day with a hole right through the center of it. He saved it for me.  I still have that special stone. Some of the happiest times spent with my family were walking, collecting fossils, shells and feathers".

It comes as no surprise to Kim Gates, of Lunamoom (and to those who know her well) that she often crafts her gorgeous hand-made jewelry using stones and feathers, in addition to other raw and natural materials. An art lover and design enthusiast since early high school, Kim enrolled in Graphic Design and Advertising at Conestoga College to pursue her skills in creating and communicating though visual design. Soon after graduating, she started her own freelance graphic design business, taking-on every creative opportunity she could. From designing business cards to interior spaces, Kim bravely explored her abilities and talents in a variety of mediums. She produced a line of personalized photo transfer pillows, assisted in photographing weddings and designing lifestyle books for newlyweds. All the while, making her own jewellery at home in Kitchener, Ontario. 

"I could never seem to find what I wanted in the stores so I made my own pieces.  It was so satisfying to create something with my hands that I decided to focus on designing jewellery full time".

Kim uses a combination of modern and vintage or up-cycled elements in the creation of her Lunamoon jewellery. Not unlike her childhood expeditions, Kim continues to hunt for materials and inspiration within nature, but also at flea markets, antique shops and thrift stores.

"For my beach line I walk along the beach, gathering interesting stones and feathers.  Sometimes ideas literally float down to me from the sky. Other times a photograph or painting will inspire me to create a new piece and if I'm away from my home-studio and an idea pops into my head, I often sketch it quickly onto a piece of paper to be made at a later date.  My favourite piece at the moment is the Wayra Feather Necklace which incorporates two of the materials most precious to me, crystals and feathers. Harmony and freedom".

As a mother of a teenage daughter and son, Kim listens and hears their stories. "They want to wear fresh, unusual and artistic pieces that enhance their personal style .  They want to know the story of who designed and created the piece they're wearing and they don't want that piece to be made by someone earning unfair wages or working in unsafe conditions.  I feel that there's a new undercurrent of informed and educated Canadian shoppers today that realize it makes sense both economically and ecologically to buy fewer quality pieces that have been designed well.  They understand that when you wear a piece of clothing or jewellery that's been created by an artist, you get to carry a little bit of that artist's world with you every day.  It's a window into another part of the universe that you've never seen before. Everything is connected. All the choices we make affect each other. Just like there are highs and lows in life, the moon creates high and low tides in the ocean as the Earth rotates and the moon orbits.  The moon is powerful but also soft and beautiful.  Lunamoon jewellery celebrates that type of woman". 

Kim Gates | Lunamoon attended INLAND 2014.