When she was hitting the books hard at her academically intense prep school in Massachusetts, Kelsey Lim had no intention of living the life of an artist. But when she tried to sign up for AP Studio Art as an elective her senior year, things suddenly got a lot more colorful. “I didn't have enough credits to take the class, so the art teacher suggested that I do a summer program at Rhode Island School of Design. It was extremely challenging, but I loved every second of it,” Kelsey recalls. She still wasn’t convinced she’d be able to make it in the field, so she applied to all liberal arts colleges—except for one, RISD. You can see where this is going, right?
It was there that she discovered graphic design—which became her focus—and started dabbling in jewelry. After graduation, she booked it straight to New York City and started working full-time as an illustrator and art director for sites like Refinery29 and Man Repeller. But her affection for making minimal, wire-like earrings and pendulous necklaces ultimately won out (for now), and she launched her own line, Abel, in 2017. Still, each creative outlet has a special place in her heart, as she explains: “People always ask if my goal is to do only do jewelry, and it’s not. I love both forms so much. That would be like asking a parent to choose between two kids.”