MeritMade Commentaires - Our first photo shoot with Whitney Smith!

Last month, we teamed up with the the fabulous and talented Whitney Smith to capture the collection for Art Westport.  By teamed up, I mean Kelly dropped off the goods, and Whitney took care of it from there. What we got back are stunning images that feature MeritMade in a way that we never could have dreamed of. I wanted the backstory, so if you want the juicy details, keep scrolling after you have enjoyed these beautiful images!

Here's the dish from Kelly's side:
I found her somewhere on Instagram, probably through our mutual friend Tarrah Anderson of Whiskey and Bone. We then met IRL at The Pitch's Crafts and Drafts event, and I recognized her immediately as someone whose face I'd seen in my instagram feed. Pretty sure she bought a pair of earrings that day.

As time progressed, I just felt compelled to work with her. The way she captures people in her photographs inspires me. Each image is very intimate, and highlights what makes the person unique and individual. Her photos also possess a sense of timelessness. It is hard to tell if they were taken in the 20's, the 50's, or now. I love that! That sense of timelessness is exactly what I'm trying to accomplish with each piece of MeritMade.

Art Westport was the perfect excuse to contact her. So we did a consultation and discussed various ideas about the shoot. The whole process was super easy and natural from the start, and I really let her run with it. Needless to say, I couldn't be happier with the outcome, and am excited to see what we do next together.

I let Kelly sneak by with her short answer, but Whitney wasn't getting off the hook so easily!

How did you discover MeritMade?
I discovered MeritMade on Instagram. I fell down the rabbit hole where you have somehow ended up on someone's 37th cousin and 4 years deep in photos! Ok, not that far down the hole. But yes, somehow I stumbled onto Kelly's page and had to follow to see what's new and to see her create those jewels. I actually met her in person at The Pitch's Crafts & Drafts event they put on this past spring. She yelled out, "I recognize those eyes!" Haha! She is so adorable!

I asked her about her inspiration for the shoot:
Inspiration for the shoot was pretty easy after seeing the jewelry and asking a few questions. Kelly said she wanted me to just do my thing pretty much, but everyone always has a few thoughts. She said she was attracted to the little bit darker stuff I was doing, which I usually do in nature. It can be easy to lose jewelry or accessories in photos, especially outdoors or with a lot of clothes, hair, and makeup. It's about finding the right balance. So I guess my inspiration in words would be: modern, clean goths in nature!

And her favorite part?
My favorite part of the shoot was getting everyone together to meet, get ready, and pick out the jewelry. I knew all of them from different things and have worked with them on shoots too, but it was the first time any of them had met each other. In about 1 minute it was like everyone knew each other forever and was totally comfortable. Coffee was drank, cupcakes were ate, and art was made.

Of the pieces you photographed, what was your favorite?
If I had to pick a favorite piece we photographed that day, it would probably be the Sonora necklace. It is a showstopper! Since I wear earrings more than anything I'd have to go with either of the dangly earrings too!

Anything else you want to share?
I hope when people see the photos that they can visualize maybe a new side of MeritMade they haven't thought about. Modern, edgy, and looks great with a sexy black dress. But it is still classic and still looks great with jeans and a white tee. When something is beautifully made and has such interesting stones and designs, it transcends into all genres of personal style.

Whitney, I think that you nailed it! Thank you for sharing your talent with us and allowing us to see MeritMade in a new light!

When I sat down to put together the information for this post, I went to find Whitney's website...nowhere to be found! Despite it saying/not saying so on the internet, this talented human IS for hire! Whitney's favorite work is editorial with a conceptual edge. Additionally she loves to shoot fine art nudes. "I feel like clothes can be a distraction in photos a lot of the time. If people would just pay me to shoot jewelry and/or headpieces on nude bodies in the forest everyday I'd be a happy camper!". She would love to hear from you via email,, and be sure to check out her beautiful Instagram feed @wooinwonderland.



MeritMade Commentaries - Art Westport!

Kansas City Art Westport MeritMade Jewelry Booth Display Kelly Conner

Oh my goodness, Kansas City!

You loved on us in a way that only the best city in the Midwest can do! You were kind, encouraging, honest, hilarious, caring, inspired, enthusiastic and so genuine.

One of the hidden perks of this job is getting to hear the stories behind the pieces, both when Kelly is creating them and then again when they find their people. And that is how we think of it, that there is one specific person out there for each piece, and getting to be a part of that moment is a truly touching experience. We could blabber on for days, but here are some of the stories that still have our hearts aching in the best way possible.

To the sweet lady who bought the Unakite necklace for her mom, because our handmade clasps would allow her mother, who has M.S.,  the freedom to put on jewelry herself. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

To the groom-to-be who bought a one-of-a-kind piece for his bride to give to her, thank you for making MeritMade part of your story. We have always strived to make tomorrow's heirlooms and you have made our dreams come true. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

To Sean, a transplant to KC, who came to the show JUST to see MeritMade! Those Sonora Sunrise earrings would have been so sad if they didn't meet their person that day. May they guide you into your bliss! Best of luck with the wood working business, and we look forward to getting a beer soon! Thank you for sharing your story with us.

To the gal who picked up a ring for herself, and one for a gift...Your sister really didn't want a spiralizer, you were so right. But more than that, congratulations on treating yourself to a piece as beautiful and unique as you are. We hope you continue to invest in yourself-you are so worth it! Thank you for sharing your story with us.

To friends from high school and college that we haven't seen in years, to total strangers who shared their time with us, to our fellow artists who made the days fly by, to the stockists who shared interest in helping us share our art, to our lady loves who made sure we had all the finishing touches in place, to our partners and families for being so supportive...

Thank you! Thank you for letting us share our stories with you!

- Terra & Kelly