Meet The Maker: Hilary Hertzler

My work is colorful, textured, and sometimes very large. I am very attracted to contrast. I like to push the balance of what people expect in jewelry. I like making things that are a riot of color and texture and unexpected material combinations.

Ironically, I’ve never really been someone who wears a lot of jewelry. This is not to say that I didn’t like jewelry. I just never felt the urge to wear it on a regular basis – to find those ‘go to’ pieces that I could wear every day. The jewelry I did buy for myself tended to be one-off, handmade pieces – items that made me feel like I was expressing a part of myself that wasn’t so apparent to most people. A little wink to who I wished to be.


I get a lot of visceral reactions to my jewelry. People want to touch it, which makes me very happy. Touch is such a personal kind of connection – and I want my jewelry to feel personal. Even still, people often ruminate on my work saying, ‘It is beautiful. It would really look good on so and so. I wish I could pull it off.’ I can identify with this line of thought, but I try not to subscribe to it. I believe that, at our best, our choices in art, jewelry, clothing are expressions of who we are, aspirations of who we’d like to be.


What I hope when a customer buys a piece of mine is that it makes you feel strong and happy in your own skin. That it makes you smile and brings you a bit of joy when you wear it. That it helps you to express a part of yourself that isn’t so apparent to others or easy to express. That the rules you’ve created for yourself fall away a little when you wear it.

Creating something handmade is so personal. I like to think that I am passing along a certain energy to those who wear my jewelry. In turn, you will shape it into something for yourself, for your life. It’s a lofty goal for a small item, perhaps – but a vital one, one that affirms what makes us human: the power to recreate ourselves.


A few months ago I had a request from a customer for repair services. She was looking for someone to repair a necklace that her grandmother recently gifted her. It was a beautiful, intricately beaded piece that her grandmother bought for herself when she was a 16 year old girl in South Africa. When I received the package in the mail, I opened it up only to be hit by a warm, sweet smell. The beads were handmade, unfinished clay, rough and warm – impregnated with the perfume of her grandmother. It was a perfect, full circle moment for me and a reminder of why I feel very lucky to do what I do – to create, to connect, and pass it along.

Find Hilary’s intricately woven jewelry at our upcoming Art Star Craft Bazaar or visit her website at

This entry was posted in artist spotlight. Bookmark the permalink.