Meet the Art-A-Whirl artist: Emily Johnson of EC Design Studio

(Editor's note: This weekend is Art-A-Whirl, the yearly art party where hundreds of studios, galleries, and warehouses in northeast Minneapolis open their doors and invite art lovers in for special demonstrations, exhibitions, performances, and sales. This week we'll be taking a look at some of the people and places you may want to check out.)

Jewelry artist Emily Johnson of EC Design Studio was originally trained as a sculptor, but now works in the wearable arts. Her pieces have a certain geometric cleanness to them, while often featuring a rippled texture unique to metal working. Her work is sold nationally, but the local artist's pieces can also be found at Gallery 360, Grand Hand Gallery, and I Like You.


Your name: Emily C. Johnson

Where we can find you this weekend: In my studio, #436, in the Northrup King Building.

Years spent in your current space, and working in Minnesota: I think I have spent about six years in the Northrup King. I'm a Minnesota native, born and raised in Hopkins.

[jump] Briefly, tell us about what you do and why:

I am a goldsmith who specializes in modern, minimal, mixed metal, wedding, and commitment rings. I make jewelry because I have to! I love to create, and get crabby if I'm away from the studio for too long.

Name a few things that influence your work right now:

My clients are a big inspiration. It's amazing what you can come up with working together to create a design. I'm also influenced by my materials directly, namely my gold and rosecut diamond stock. It's so much fun to sit down and figure out what these materials will become!  


Name three things that inspired and/or motivated you as a budding creative type:

  1. Conferences! This year I even co-chaired the Society of North American Goldsmiths Conference. It's so inspiring to hear other artists speak about their work.

  2. My local jewelry community. We have such a great collection of diverse jewelers here in Minnesota, and everyone is so willing to support each other and share information.

  3. My parents. I'm so thankful they have always supported my need to make art, and their faith in me was a huge motivator in the beginning. Starting a business is stressful, and you need the support of friends and family.

    What was your last big project?

Co-chairing a National metals conference this past April! It was a three-year planning process, and it was so rewarding to see it all come together in an amazing way.


What do you have going on now or coming up in the near future that should be on our radar?

Wedding season!!! Watch for many new designs popping up on my Facebook page.

How has the Minnesota scene changed since you began working here?

The Minnesota jewelry community has grown a lot these last few years. I have gotten to know people so much  better by needing their help with the Society of North American Goldsmiths conference. We have grown into a much tighter community, and there is even talk of starting a jewelry guild.

Are doing anything special for Art-A-Whirl that you'd like us to know about?

I will have guest jewelry artist Susan Crow of East Fourth Street.



Various locations in northeast Minneapolis


5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; noon to 8 p.m. Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday

For more info, visit

See also:

Meet the Art-A-Whirl artist: MPLS/STP Clothing Co.

Meet the Art-A-Whirl Artist: Danny Saathoff

Meet the Art-A-Whirl artist: Frostbeard Studios