Meet the Maker: Ashley Kratke of
Mildred & Bernice

Meet the Maker: Ashley Kratke of
Mildred & Bernice

Kathryn Bacalis
Jul 31, 2013

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Ashley, the lovely artist behind Mildred and Bernice. She gave me a tour of her cozy studio and let me check out her latest collection. 

Are you looking for that one-of-a-kind jewelry piece to spice up your wardrobe? Maybe pearls and diamonds are just too glitzy for you, and you’re looking for something more organic and unique. Check out these beautifully handcrafted wooden pieces by Mildred & Bernice.

I'm in love with the understated oak wood chevron necklace as well as the incredible statement necklace cleverly named Goldie Hill. Not wanting to overlook men's fashion, Ashley has created a number of simple accessories for the stylish fellow out there as well. 

Name/Location: Ashley Kratke/Denver,Colorado

Where did you grow up? Pender, Nebraska

Where did you study/train? I graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln with a Clothing & Textiles Design degree. From there, I continued to 
train in clothing design in New York City, which is where I had a taste of jewelry design – I then taught myself how to make jewelry and the rest is history.

What was the first thing you made and sold? I believe it was a clutch purse. I went through a stint in high school where I was sewing together old jeans and embellishing them with buttons I would find in my mom’s sewing room. I’m thinking I should maybe bring those back.

Who is your design idol?
I would have to say God. He is a pretty amazing artist – great 
Where do you find inspiration? 
Most of my inspiration lies in exploring vintage jewelry and translating it into wearable modern day pieces. My favorite weekend activity is finding an estate sale or garage sale for the best gems. I take them home and combine them with the rest of my vintage collection; it is then I start creating my own designs.

What’s one thing you wish YOU had made or designed? The high-waisted pant. I have always loved them, and always will. 

What’s your advice for a designer/maker just starting out? 
Reach out to others. Most opportunities won’t find you first. Not only does reaching out bring you business, but it is also a chance to show others you are passionate and proud of what you are creating. Also, be nice. Be nice to everyone. Unless they suck, then move on. 

To see more of Ashley's work, check out her website:

(Images: Kathryn Bacalis)

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