Interview with Samantha Katehis

Newark artist and designer Samantha Katehis creates jewelry using traditional metalsmithing techniques, laser-cut plastics, and pre-fabricated components. Drawing from her education in Industrial Design, Samantha’s work is exploratory; its subject matter is often informed by the nature of her chosen materials. Samantha received her B.A. from Montclair State University and MID from Pratt Institute. She is currently a Teaching Artist at Studio Montclair and Principal at Fern & Fossil. The following is our interview with her about her life and work in Newark.

Where are you from?

Originally, from Queens, but I’ve been living in Newark since I was in middle school. I grew up in the North Ward.

How would you describe your art?

I have a background in fine jewelry making and Industrial Design, so mostly three-dimensional works. Much of my previous jewelry designs were pretty exploratory, ranging in aesthetic, these days I stick to creating hand carved wax pieces that get cast into fine metals. I’ve also designed furniture, textiles, and hand bags.

How has living in Newark inspired you creatively?

I think just being around other forward thinking creative people, who are doing cool shit is inspiring. There’s an energy and attitude here that is rare.

Any idea of what your next projects might be?

I keep pretty busy with my small business, Fern & Fossil. We opened a brick and mortar location this year, so it’s been a challenge to dedicate time to making art. I don’t really make 2D work these days, but I dabbled in linocut printmaking before the pandemic and I’d like to get back into it. It was very intuitive for me, because of the similarity to carving wax. I find lately that I crave more tactile processes because of all the extra screen time I’ve been experiencing over the last year and a half.

Tell us about a show or event that you attended recently that you’d like others to know about.

There aren’t many events that I’ve felt comfortable attending recently, with COVID numbers going up. I did attend the Newark Public Library gala in December. Fern & Fossil donated a gift set for their silent auction. The library has some incredible programming, so I try to do my part to support. I also recently co-hosted a small Plant & Sip event at All Points West Distillery with Fern & Fossil. I love connecting with people through in-person events.

Photo courtesy of Samantha Katehis

Where are some of your favorite places in Newark to hang out and why?

I don’t do a lot of hanging out these days. I do love QXT’s nightclub. I’ve been going there since it was 18 to dance and 21 to drink. Anything crowd related is a bit much these days, so it’s been some time since I’ve gone. I like going with friends but my favorite thing to do was to just go to the club on my own and dance for hours. Goth clubs are rare in the way that you can dance alone and not be bothered. I’m So Yoga is a place I spend a good amount of time. I like McGoverns when I want a beer and the college kids aren’t around. I go to Barcade when I want a chicken katsu sandwich and a game of Pac-Man. Of course, we have some great local art galleries in town that I used to frequent more often. Most of my world revolves around work and home.

Tell us something about you (or your work) that few people know.

I designed the logo for I’m So Yoga, a local yoga studio. I have a background in graphic design, but I work pretty slowly, so it’s not something I advertise or do often for others. It’s a skill that comes in handy when I work on branding for my own small business.

Untitled Print by Samantha Katehis

You can follow Samantha and her work here:
Artist website: samanthakatehis.com
Business website: fernandfossil.com

Featured image by @vazquezarts