I'm Colleen, the owner and artist behind Rustic Heart Studio. I’ve been interested in crafts from a young age. I have no formal training as an artist or jeweler but have a hunger to create. As a child, my father’s workbench always intrigued me with the different tools, the handmade nail and screw box, and the soldering iron. I would melt solder into different shapes (and made a mess of the work surface). I later tried decorative painting, beading and polymer clay.
When my children were young, I began working part-time as an orthodontic assistant. At that time, we had to bend wires and create a wire to move specific teeth. I loved working with my hands and learning techniques from a very patient and kind orthodontist.
In 2013 I took an on-line course to make simple sterling silver hoop earrings. When I first lit my torch and formed a simple wire into beautiful earrings, I knew I found my home. Taking classes at the Summit Art Center in NJ, Beadfest in PA and online expanded my skills.
I now work from my home studio. I take sterling silver, fine silver and copper and begin to hammer, form and build one-of-a kind pieces. Sometimes I sit down with a plan, other times I let my muse take over. For the last year I’ve been using semi-precious stones to add pops of color to my work.
I am inspired by worn and aged metals and woods from barns and farm equipment to pieces in the local antique shops. There are hidden stories in these pieces. Who owned them and what was their day-to-day life like? Loved and aged things bring a warm feeling of connection and calm to me. My pieces always have a patina to bring these feeling to the wearer. I think of my pieces as amulets or talismans where the owner can hold their deepest wishes and intentions and feel safe and protected.