The late '60s were special times for those of us fortunate enough to survive them. I was living a block off Venice Beach, epicenter of the California counterculture experience. The hard-rock strains of Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix filled the air, along with other sensory delights. Bikers, outlaw and otherwise, filled the streets. Aspiring artisans of every ilk occupied little shops facing the Pacific Ocean, and among them was a young jeweler who handcrafted a gold ring that I treasure to this day. Too soon, though, Janis and Jimi were gone. Also gone was the uneasy alliance between the rockers and the bikers, which came to a disastrous end as the Hells Angels security guards wreaked destruction and death during the Rolling Stones concert at Altamont. Nevertheless, Southern California retained its aura as a haven for those seeking to escape society's norms, whatever their pursuit. Among them, a young man, Mitchell Binder, began creating unique pieces of jewelry and soon established a bold style that found favor among both the rockers and the bikers. Santa Monica's King Baby Studio was born, and Binder's wearable art quickly achieved cult status.