After a Tragic Fire, Charlotte Healy Finds Renewed Inspiration on the Mendocino Coast.
My interest in jewelry began at the University of Denver. During ski trips in the Rockies, my eyes opened up to jewelry as an art form when I discovered European silversmiths, such as Georg Jensen, working in the Scandanavian contemporary style. Navajo jewelry as well as the Mexican Taxco school of jewelry also became major influences.
I helped build a sailboat and spent a winter sailing along the coast of California and Baja. I felt drawn to the amazing marine life and loved being close to nature. I moved to Mendocino County, in Northern California, and helped build a house in the coastal mountains. I lived for many years without electricity using a sewing machine treadle, transformed into a treadle polishing wheel, to finish my work. Making jewelry lent itself to the lifestyle I had chosen.
I eventually moved to Redwood Valley, surrounded by grape vineyards, only to loose my house and studio in the firestorm of 2017. My stone collection was gone, one that I had assembled from places all over the world. However, one positive note from the disaster was that my friends and fellow artists proved to be incredibly generous. I received donations of jewelry tools and beautiful stones. Now I live close to nature on the Mendocino coast, which has always been a source for inspiration and creativity, and have renovated my garage into a new jewelry studio.
It’s an adventure for me to try and find interesting and unusual stones to incorporate in my work, plus I enjoy the immediacy of working in metal and love exploring its reflectivity and malleability. Often I have to let go and let the piece show me what it wants to be. My designs attempt to celebrate our connection with all living things. The person wearing it bridges the distance between viewer and object and completes the circle, giving it a life of its own.