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 http://www.hilaryhertzler.com/