The Rumpl Artist Division (R.A.D.) is a collaborative programme that showcases the work of accomplished and upcoming artists who use diverse mediums to inspire creativity in impassioned communities around the world. LEARN MORE >
We partnered with Kassie Kussman, a silversmith, artist, and athlete, to bring her original print, Copper Basket, to life.A portion of the sales of the products in this collection will benefit the First Peoples Fund, an organisation committed to honouring and supporting Indigenous artists and culture bearers.
How would you describe your style of artwork?
If I had to describe my artistic style, I would describe it as badass and unique.
How did you get started in jewellry making?
I was interested in reconnecting with my culture. After I had my daughter, I realised that I didn't have any family heirlooms to pass down to her. Because of forced assimilation and colonisation my family had nothing to give to me, so I wanted to learn how to create something that I could pass down to her. Silversmithing was an art I gravitated towards.
How was starting out Silversmithing?
It was a challenge when I first started. I wanted to learn the craft respectfully, so I went out to New Mexico to take a silversmithing course. I instantly fell in love. There were so many resources out in New Mexico, and so much to do, see and learn. When I came back to St. Louis, I was able to run with the craft I learned and apply the skills to create my jewellry in my own unique perspective.
What is something that has had an influence on you and your artwork?
For me boxing has had a huge influence on my life and my work. It’s really given me confidence and it’s given me strength. It allows me to clear my head and helps with my creative process. It’s something that gives me routine and allows me to always start my day off right. The strength I’ve gained in boxing also directly translates to my strength as an artist. I have to hammer on things for a very long time, I couldn’t imagine doing this without some sort of training! I’m a much better jeweller because of boxing.
Tell us about your company name, Mean Right Hook?
It came about in a funny way. I grew up overweight and after I got out of college I realised that I had the power and the choice to make healthier choices. I tried a boxing class and I felt so good. It gave me so much confidence and made me feel strong. And while I’m not the best boxer, I have a pretty mean right hook. That’s how I feel about being a jeweller, while I may not be the best silversmith, but I’m really good at what I do.
What parts of your heritage inspire your work?
A lot of designs and patterns were used in a very unitarian way. They would make baskets beautifully but the baskets would also have a lot of function. A lot of things in my culture are that way, they will be designed beautifully but still serve a purpose. The patterns on my bracelets and the pattern on this blanket are inspired by these patterns and designs. I wanted to make them symmetrical, similar to weaving a basket. I love how uniform it looks and was excited about translating it to metal.
"If I had to describe my artistic style, I would describe it as badass and unique."