Inspiration Becomes Design
The Wexford House Irish Imports shop in West Boylston, outside of Worcester, is busy this time of year, as customers seek out the latest in Irish and Celtic jewelry, clothing, art and music.
Owner Kathryn Norah Trow tells us one of the most popular items in the shop is the Celtic jewelry of designer Keith Jack.
Born and raised in rural Perthshire in Scotland, Keith worked for a jeweler in Glasgow as a teenager and learned the business from the ground up. And after his first child was born in 1994, he began creating his own designs, eventually selling to retailers throughout Scotland. Today Jack credits his two children, Caitin and Sam, for igniting his passion for creativity.
In 2008 Jack moved to Vancouver, Canada where he lives and works with his partner Helen Ritchie, owner of the Celtic Creations gift shop. Jack answered a few of our questions about his work.
A lot of Celtic jewelry tends to be clunky; yours has a fine, elegant, slim quality. How do you match up ancient and contemporary design?
I find a lot of the Celtic jewelry available today is aimed at the lower end of the market. I have gone for the better, more unusual end of the market where things are a bit more design-led. I’m trying to do something different from what is out there, like mixing silver with solid 10k and 18k gold. I’m using bold contemporary design and adding traditional Celtic design to it and then melding the two together.
What gives Celtic design its staying power in the marketplace?
The Celts have been around for the last 2,000 years in one form or another. Most people say they originated in Ireland or Scotland, but they were widespread all over Europe including Spain, Germany and France. There are still strong Celtic centers in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, France, Spain and Nova Scotia.
People are always looking for their roots, and in North America there are a lot of people with Celtic ancestry. People find a Celtic background both romantic and something to be proud of.
Where do you find your inspiration now?
I return home to Scotland frequently, spending time in the wild and beautiful country. My jewelry offers something unique that I have seen in a hidden mountain loch, the grey sky over the glen or the ripples on a sandy beach. Inspiration becomes design.
9 Crescent Street
West Boylston (Worcester), MA 01583
1 800 807 6677
1 508 835-6677
by Michael P. Quinlin