by Bella Erakko
Haley Cassidy, our featured jewelry artist this month, designs in a minimalist classical style coupling metal with stone or gem. “When the person puts them on,” she explains, “I want them to feel stronger and more powerful.” Her pieces are bold yet delicate, finding their strength in some unquantifiable middle.
She often uses the increasingly rare White Buffalo Turquoise, hand selecting stones from a man now in his 80s. “As a kid, I was always really creative but analytic too. I liked numbers. I like jewelry because there’s a lot of measuring and if it isn’t just right, you have to scrap it.”
Initially however, she thought music would be her creative path. “I was in an all-girls band, playing bass, but something in me shifted.” Thinking back, she attributes the switch to two things. “I wanted to create with my hands.” Then too, there was her grandmother. “She was really into jewelry—wild pieces—and always pulling it off. The last thing she did was go into her gigantic jewelry box. Whatever she chose really made her outfit. Now I do the same.”
Haley Cassidy’s first foray into jewelry began with frustration. “I had all these ideas about things I wanted.” Not finding them, she found, instead, a metallurgist willing to teach her—along with a lot of YouTube videos. Working in silver, brass, and copper, she indulges her personal love of rings (worn on most fingers) along with necklaces and earrings.
Wearing her first pieces drew her first customers. Ironically, she works for Square, a mobile payment/merchant services company, so off-the-neck sales are incredibly easy. Today she is in a store in New Orleans, three in Denver, and one in St. Louis, plus occasional pop-up jewelry events, and her sales through her website, www.ornatechaos.com.
“I think the fact that I lived in so many places really has influenced my aesthetic.” That melding of talent, material, and geographic diversity has birthed a collection of jewelry that hovers in that in-between zone of beauty, boldness, quietness, and balance.
An opening reception will be held Saturday, December 8, from 5:00 until 8:00 pm. This reception coincides with Hannibal’s Second Saturday Gallery Night and the holiday event of “Living Windows.”