I first took an interest in jewelry making my senior year of college. At the time, I was more intrigued by furniture restoration and finishing as a career and pursued that. However, my desire for creating jewelry persisted. A few years after graduating, I acquired a complete starter bench set up and began making jewelry as a hobby. I would make pieces for friends and family, inspired mainly by their character and personality. I received a grant through the local arts council, and for a year, I explored western New York waterfalls and designed pieces from my adventures there. I typically receive my inspiration from nature, recognizing unique shapes or features and transforming them into small works of wearable art. I’ve been commissioned to make several custom pieces as well, with the only direction being “do what you want”!
My goal is to design one-of-a-kind, individual specific pieces – starting from scratch, or from a shape, color, or stone suggestion. I’ve worked with heirloom pieces, transforming them, or parts of them, into a more contemporary, functional piece. I enjoy the unique challenge repurposing presents.
I was born and raised in Western New York, attending school and college there, eventually settling into the small college town where I went to college. I’ve always been involved with the arts, at some level, both as a career and a hobby. During my senior year of college, I was employed with a very high end, fine furniture restoration and conservation business. I have spent over twenty years working both part time and full time there, and still return to NY occasionally to help out. I also worked for over ten years at a fine art and antique auction gallery, where I was personally involved with all of the artwork that came and went, and was lucky enough to see some very rare pieces. At the age of 38, my restlessness got the best of me and I decided to finally leave town and become a flight attendant, which I had wanted to try for several years. While being based in New York City, I met my fiancé, who was a pilot from Idaho. It wasn’t until December of 2019 when I moved to Boise. He certainly wasn’t in my plan, nor was moving to Idaho! Although the pandemic has been challenging for us all in a variety of ways, as has moving, I was able to get my studio space set up and start making jewelry again. Interesting how life takes its turns and I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to start my jewelry business full time here in Boise! – Martha Heukensfeld
For more about Martha, visit heukensfeldcustomjewelry.com.