VISIT: 687 N Tillamook St Suite B, Portland, OR 97227
STORY BY RACHEL SCHWARTZMANN – SHOP AK STUDIO – PHOTOS BY NICHOLAS PETER WILSON FOR THE STYLE LINE
In the heart of Portland, AK Studio aims to cultivate beauty with stunning
(and locally crafted) jewelry and interior objects as the medium of choice. At the helm of this empowering, creative movement is founder and designer Anna Korte, who contends that AK Studio’s tangible space will resonate with city dwellers unlike ever before. As she mentioned in our interview below: “I’ve been in the jewelry making business here in Portland for over ten years and have always managed to remain unique, even with the big surge of local jewelry designers over the last few years. In the same way, now that we have a shop, I suspect AK will have no problem distinguishing itself from the many wonderful shops here!”
It’s hard to argue with the seasoned designer who has brought her mystical, yet approachable design ethos to life in AK Studio’s newly launched studio. A dual shop and showroom, the space itself blends modernity and romance with its plant-adorned corners and artful decoration that provides a true feast for the eyes. Coupling this with Anna’s unwavering commitment to community and considerate design process, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to step into her mystical world. During our time together we chatted with the creative entrepreneur about life in Portland, her thoughts on the locally-made movement and why it’s important to honor your perspective. Without giving too much away, discover our full conversation with Anna below, featuring photos from our inspiring visit captured by Nicholas Peter Wilson for The Style Line.
“The only thing we really have any control over is our own self and our own experience.”
My name is Anna! I feel lucky to have grown up in
(and influenced by) Arizona’s high desert and for the past 12 years I’ve been calling Portland my second home. I’m a self-taught artist and designer with a keenness for entrepreneurship (started my first business making and selling all kinds of my creations beginning at age 10 and never quit)!
I’m drawn to beauty in any way, shape and form. My passion is to bring this energy or spirit through via my creative vision and into the things I make. This is very meaningful to me, as it has a beneficial and uplifting energy for myself and others – we’ve all felt this feeling when witnessing or looking at something beautiful! This is simply due to the higher level of frequency at which beauty resonates.
I value this earth, my body, my loves, freedom, fun, wonder, truth, creativity, passion and a transparent relationship with myself and my life.
What elements of Portland as a city inspire your work and can you share an anecdote that really drives home why Portland is the perfect place to build AK Studio?
The nature, the swimming holes and the open-hearted and caring people… That’s what does it for me!
We’ve had the pleasure of featuring Portland’s MANY small shops and creative businesses over the years. With that in mind what do you hope to contribute to the local landscape that’s not already there?
I’ve been in the jewelry making business here in Portland for over 10 years and have always managed to remain unique, even with the big surge of local jewelry designers over the last few years. In the same way, now that we have a shop, I suspect AK will have no problem distinguishing itself from the many wonderful shops here!
In fact there’s already a distinct spirit blossoming around the space. Because, not only is it serving as AK headquarters (we operate the rest of our business in our studio in the back!), shop and showroom, we have plans to host multiple monthly events and gatherings that bring people of like minds together. For the purpose of exploration, connection, creativity, celebration and fun. The other day I half-jokingly referred to the shop as the center for free living (to give some insight into the growing theme!).
Also! Since, the shop/showroom space is only open to the public a few days a week, we’ve also begun to extend this space to rent for events, workshops, photoshoots and screenings!
How do you celebrate personal style?
With balloons and cake!
With a nod to AK Studio’s made in Portland initiative, talk to us about how the city has made this possible for makers. Based on your experiences so far, why is it necessary for the next generation of designers to keep things local?
Portland is a supportive and collaborative community in general. Because of this, it’s super easy to get something going here. This place is loaded with smart and creative people all doing their unique part in so many mediums. There’s always someone cool around the corner (literally!) who is down to help make your vision a reality.
I don’t believe that one must always keep things local, however, I work with so many wonderful and helpful people and small businesses that are also located in Portland. And most of my designs are 100% fabricated and created by us in-house or by a local fabricator. But I also work with several suppliers and valuable business partners representing our brand internationally in Japan, Canada, France, Istanbul and more. I’m learning that an inclusive attitude is a far better choice than an exclusive one and I think it is best to follow your heart and connect with whom makes sense for you and your business!
Personally, I wouldn’t want to limit myself or what I’m naturally called to explore. This includes allowing my small business to expand in the best way for it, whether that is here in Portland or elsewhere. I have found that my ideal is a mix of both! I love working with international makers and business owners, it is a cool experience to create relationships across the globe that I never would have otherwise. For me, it brings a whole new sense to the word community.
What is one question you wish people asked you more often?
Do you want to go have a picnic at the river?
How do you think creativity contributes to some of the world’s bigger conversations and what role is AK Studio playing in this movement?
I love this question! In its essence, I believe that creativity begins within each of us and we literally create our own reality by what we focus our energy upon. Once understood, this can be applied to make new creations and preferred changes in our life and thus in the world around us.
The only thing we really have any control over is our own self and our own experience. So I am learning how to align with and magnify what I prefer my life to be like as well as what world I want to live in. In fact, this whole subject matter has become another big passion of mine. I’m very excited about some projects I’m working on which will bring these kinds of ideas into the fold here at AK in a bigger way! New items will begin to release soon such as our Feeling Tones line of bags, writing accessories and home goods based on color therapy. Items like these can be used to help people relax and create a life and world they love to live in by learning to use the power of focused thought and energy. Increasingly important as we move through these chaotic and changing times.
How would you advise the next generation of business owners, creatives and makers to leave an imprint in the world simply by doing what they love?
Appreciate and honor your unique perspective. Follow your passion always! Follow the highest directives of your heart and you will do well. And be sure to allow an open mind to the possibilities and opportunities of how your dreams might unfold! It is my experience that once you align with yourself in these ways, the rest unfolds easily and naturally… but not without challenges, because – that is life! That is the creative experience!