Kaliska Sweetwater is just as sweet as her last name sounds. She was gracious enough to have us over to her home/studio where she makes Polaris Jewelry. We spent a sunny Friday afternoon in her studio apartment to document her process, we watched her make one of her octahedron pendants (they are amazing by the way). She makes minimalist geometric jewelry from recycled gold and silver all crafted in the comfort of her home. We admire her for her steady growth of her business, her hard work, her attention to detail and quality!
Why Portland? What was it that drew you to Portland or has kept you here?
Its my home! I've lived here my entire life; I feel like I should probably move, just on principal, but I haven't found anywhere else I'd rather live.
What are your favorite things happening in Portland?
This isn't anything recent, but I love that people in Portland are so willing to go the extra mile to get something local and handmade. I used to work in retail, and the first question I would always get is, "Is this made in Portland?" I think that's really amazing, and I think that that attitude fosters a very creative city. More than half the people I know here work for themselves doing something they love.
How did your brand start?
It started, quite honestly, as something to do for fun. I had 2 weeks off from work and school last summer, and I didn't really know how to handle that. I started getting back into soldering, and I made myself a pair of cube earrings, that aren't even part of the line anymore. I wore them around and everyone loved them, so I started branching out into other shapes and designs. I was still going to PSU at the time, so it stayed on the back burner until this January, when I left school and decided to focus on jewelry fulltime.
What has been your biggest obstacle?
Time management. That's probably a really dull, common answer, but there just really aren't enough hours in the day. Figuring out what to do and when is always a question in my mind.
Who is your style icon?
I've always admired Audrey Hepburn. She did simple classics really well, and she knew how to glam up life with fabulous jewelry.
What are your favorite things about Portland?
The weather. I love that we get 4 distinct seasons, I love the rain, I love the clouds, I love the trees.
I also really love the food. I feel like this is one of the best places in America to be vegetarian, we have so much amazing thai food, and so many places have local/organic items on their menu. We're pretty spoiled here.
I love the bridges. They're just beautiful.
I love the bus system. And bike lanes. I don't even own a car, its so easy to get around without one.
This is my home; it's hard to think of things I don't love about Portland.
What neighborhood describes your style the best?
I feel like my jewelry could be worn with any neighborhood's style, but I feel like when I think of my jewelry in terms of location the industrial area by the East waterfront comes to mind. It has that kind of grungy, industrial, scaffolding type thing going on.
Your favorite thing about your workspace?
My favorite thing about it is also my least favorite thing about it. It's in my living room. This means it is really easy to sit down and start working, but it also means I am surrounded by all of my favorite distractions, so it's easy to get off task.
Tell us two truths and a lie!
I can do a handstand
I have 43 dresses in my closet
I'm a witch
5 things you can’t live without.
My claw foot bathtub