When I first came across Kassi’s work – I was immediately drawn to the energy of her pieces. As cliche as it sounds, you could tell that love and intention radiated from her jewelry – so I had to know her secret. In an interview with Kassi Grunder, I learned that through her jewelry work – she is able to help people raise their vibration, as well as elevate and empower people to their inner strengths. Learn more about Kassi and the passion for her craft here in the interview below.
Kassi, I love your work, and what especially caught my eye was your mission – “High vibration jewelry to align you with your highest purpose.” Can you tell me what in your life inspired you to begin this craft?
Helping people to raise their vibration and align with their highest purpose is a key part of my life’s purpose. I’m also a facilitator and coach, and my master’s degree is in Peace and Justice. At the core of my interest in this work is my interest and passion for human evolution and the ways in which we evolve (both at an individual and at a species level) in our lifetimes. There is new research showing that things that happened to our ancestors impact us at a biological level, and likewise, things that happen to us in our lifetime will impact our descendants.
In all of the work I do – jewelry design, teaching, coaching, facilitating for groups, my goal is to contribute to evolution in our lifetimes. I think that by aligning with your highest purpose, you’re primed for rapid evolution, which on a macro level, is what creates world peace.
When we talk about world peace, it can feel trite, or like such a huge goal that it’s unachievable. But actually, we have this immense power to contribute to peace in our time. My jewelry brand was born out of the inspiration I get from working with stones. I’ve always loved rocks. Crystals are great, but I’m not even that particular. I love a good beach rock or pretty piece of gravel. My windowsills are packed with magical ephemera.
I’ve always been energetically sensitive and intuitive, and so really feel the vibration and energetic quality of crystals that I work with. I’ve gotten really good at pairing people with crystals that will contribute to their upliftment. And help them to be in highest alignment. I’m shameless in my crystal love and have fully embraced being a magical, witchy lady.
Even when I’ve wanted to hide that, people can usually find me out. But not everyone wants to or can embrace this. My pieces are delicate and pretty and subtle. You don’t have to have pockets full of crystals to have their magic with you. You can have a pretty little necklace. I think of it as being an undercover witch! Making jewelry, though was actually a really random endeavor. I’ve always been a maker and an artist.
Everyone in my family is creative in their own way, and actually, all of them own businesses as well. My mom in particular is an exceptional artist. So I’ve been making things since I could use my hands. I describe myself as creatively promiscuous – I’m down to try any creative thing.
I think this is partly a product of being from Alaska, too. There is a TON of amazing stuff happening in my hometown these days, but when I was growing up, there weren’t as many options. The beauty of that though is that everyone is making their own fun and trying new creative things.
The jewelry thing was first sparked when I was on student exchange in undergrad and took a jewelry class. I actually really wish I remembered that teachers name – I learned so much from her, and still feel residual inspiration from that class. But when I went back to my home school, there wasn’t a comparable class, and so I dropped it and went back to other mediums. I started doing jewelry when I was inspired by other peoples work. I remember being in Portland with my mom one time in particular and we both liked a pair of earrings. I remember thinking ‘I really like those, but I’d like them better if they were different in X, Y, and Z ways’. So when I got home from that trip, I bought some supplies and started experimenting. About six months later, my favorite yoga teacher invited me to sell my work as part of an event they were having at the studio, and it really took off from there.
With such beautiful inspirations, its seems to go almost perfectly that you share this offering with the world – what do you feel your jewelry has to offer when it finds a home with someone?
These pieces aren’t JUST jewelry, they are tools as well. For example, one of the qualities of labradorite is that it brings light where there is darkness. This is great for when you’re on an inner journey and working on personal growth or pushing your edge. It’s also great to wear if you’ve got a meeting with some difficult people and need to bring some light to that situation.
I think that what we wear can really influence how we see ourselves. One of the best things about what I do is getting to see women looking so beautiful, and seeing their own beauty. My absolute favorite is when someone puts on a piece and notices how it highlights something really beautiful about them. Maybe a sparkly chain highlights their beautiful neck. Most people don’t look in the mirror and think ‘wow, my neck looks great today’. I love it when my work can show that to people. I’ve always had an easy time seeing peoples beauty, and I love love love that my work can help people see themselves through my lens.
What is your favorite piece (or pieces) at the moment and why?
Oh gosh. That’s really hard. In this moment though, I think it’s the Ahimsa earrings. They just look so gorgeous on everyone who puts them on, regardless of what stone they are in. Also, the Renewal necklace in rainbow moonstone. I got a batch of these stones recently and they are just so juicy. I seriously stared at one of them for a full ten minutes the other day when I was making a necklace. They are so flashy and colorful that it’s like all of the magic of a unicorn was condensed into a single stone.
How would you spend your ideal day?
There are so many permutations of this, that I don’t know if I could pick just one. It would definitely include being up in time to see the dawn, and making a meal with friends. Also, being outside.
Reflecting on this is really great, because it makes me realize that so many of my days are already ideal days.
And if you had no restrictions, nothing holding you back – what is your dream? And if you have a 5-Year plan, do you think you can accomplish this dream in that time?
There are two big ones.
I want this brand to be uplifting at every level, and I would like it to grow beyond just being made by my own hands. I’d love to work with artisans in other places. I love the idea of employing artisan groups in developing countries to make some products, and to collaborate with them on bringing their own designs to market as well. Economic development research has shown that a dollar in the hands of a woman in a developing country has more economic impact than that same dollar in the hands of a man because of what women tend to spend money on (such as school fees for children, or buying groceries from a local grocer).
When I imagine the future of my brand, I imagine women who feel the full magnitude of their personal power – both for the women producing the pieces and the women wearing the pieces. I want every component of this work to be uplifting to everyone and everything that it touches.
I’ve had this recurring vision that has come to me repeatedly in dreams and meditations of founding a retreat center to cater to people who have big impact in their field (executives, governmental actors, and non-governmental actors who have political impact) and who are looking to develop higher functioning teams and collaborations to maximize their impact. The work centers on deepening personal leadership development and exploring and learning from systems through experiential learning. I actually haven’t shared this vision very often, because I don’t yet know how I’m going to get there. But as many visions as I’ve had in my life (many, many), I’ve never had one that has come to me as often or as clear and fully formed.
I’m big on manifesting things, so yeah, I don’t know the how of how these visions will come into being, but I absolutely believe that I can accomplish them! One of my mantras for many years now has been “say yes more often”. To me, that means being open to wonderful surprises and to be ready to say yes to opportunities. The world is abundant beyond our wildest imaginings.
Kassi Grunder is an artist, a spiritual cartographer, and world peace enthusiast. She has always loved creating both tiny, beautiful objects, and transformative experiences. Through jewelry, she works to do both.