* how the story of hART Sense Design began *
As children, we are often asked by different adults in our lives what we want to be when we grow up. Depending on our interests at the time the question is posed, we might say one thing or another.
In his new book, "Freaks Shall Inherit The Earth," Chris Brogan says that, “many of us were raised to seek out a job that required us to fit in, to conform, to adapt until we fit the mold,” yet most of us secretly yearned for something vastly different. Like many of you, I have thought of pursuing different occupations over the years, from a pediatric dentist, over a language teacher to a technical translator, and I even worked in the latter two professions. However, neither of them made my heart sing. So, I turned to art.
Many people ask how in particular I decided on making jewelry. As a matter of fact, it was a fairly long and somewhat winding road from where I started when I first decided I wanted to do something artsy. After returning to school to earn a degree in Textile Design (no, not fashion design, but textile construction and print design), I briefly worked in the textile industry while at the same time engaging in fine art as a hobby. I mostly painted with acrylics on canvas, and almost simultaneously branched out into painting on silk garments.
All was fine and dandy for a while. I was entering quite a few shows with a certain degree of success... until life took me on a journey from Southern California to an island in Alaska. I soon discovered that my new hometown had a solitary art supply store which was a bit overpriced for my budget. Having canvases and other supplies shipped from the Lower 48 was cost prohibitive, so I started thinking about a more portable artistic form I could undertake. And it "just so happened" that a local jeweler was looking for an apprentice at that time. I took the chance, got the job, and the rest is - as the saying goes - history.
Learning how to do something is only a small part of the puzzle. It took me a while to develop a personal style and signature techniques. Part of that process was again fueled by "circumstances," such as that the city ordinances in areas where I lived prohibited having most of the commonly used jewelry making equipment and chemicals in one's home. As the old adage goes, "necessity is the mother of invention," so I developed my style around techniques that do not require use of any hazardous materials or equipment perceived as hazardous.
As far as inspiration goes, I find it all around me. Having lived mostly in Western states, Western themes became a natural choice for my designs. As I like to say, I am hopelessly roped into the romance, mystery, and history of the Old West. Cowboys, cowgirls, Indians, miners, outlaws, sheriffs, pioneers, gold-diggers, tight-laced ladies, and shady ladies... they have all inspired me to do what I do best - wrangle wire into jewelry that tickles women's fancy.
The gleam of copper reminds me of the Native legend in which the Great Spirit creates the Copper Lady encasing her in copper colored skin; His own skin. He traps the wind and places it in her lungs. So, I knit copper wire into skin-like bracelets, with wind trapped between stitches, giving life to once lifeless piece of metal.
Trembling aspen leaves in the Hills teach me how, when the Great Spirit came to visit the earth during a special full moon, the aspen trees were the only living thing that stood still without even a quiver, failing to honor Him properly. He looked upon them and decreed that, from that day forward, aspens would quiver anytime someone looked upon them, and so it is to this day. I place aspen leaf pendants on necklaces I make as a reminder that everyone will someday tremble in His presence.
Open blue skies above the prairie whisper every day about interconnectedness of all: the Earth and the Heavens, and all living things. Mitakuye Oyasin. So, I include turquoise in my designs to help my customers carry a little piece of heaven wherever the trails may take them.
Like the full moon spreads her silver upon the sleeping earth, I wrap silver wire into my creations to help the wearer's soul shine its light into the world, for what would this world look like without the Woman?
This is my journey through the unique romance of the Wild West, with its cowboys, Indians, cowgirls, miners, outlaws, pioneers, gold-diggers, and cattle rustlers.
Would you like to join me?
When I grow up, I want to be the best wire wrangler in the West.
the mind and hands behind hART Sense Design. I am a designer and hand-maker of one-of-a-kind and limited edition jewelry and accessories for artistic, chic cowgirls, boho babes, and lovers of all things western.
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