BY ALLANAH PINHORN
Handcrafted? Not specific enough.
Local silversmith and artist Heather Horsey takes designing precious and sentimental pendants, charms and bracelets to the next level with her one-of-a-kind fingerprint impression jewelry.
Crafted with care in Horsey’s elegant home studio, these custom-made pieces bear the special swirls and curves of a loved one’s finger, carefully captured in sterling silver forever.
“I’ve been making jewelry for a long time, but it became something that I knew would catch on,” she said.
Horsey began making fingerprint impression jewelry almost three years ago, when a friend told her about a phenomenon that had taken off in the United Kingdom. She was already making custom jewelry, so the leap to her current top-selling fingerprint products wasn’t a far one: she already had the tools, the training and the desire to encapsulate such a precious memory in metal.
Horsey, who has a specialized honours BA in fine arts from the University of Guelph, took her first beadwork class at the age of 19, which sparked an interest in jewelry.
After working as a visual presentation specialist, dressing windows for the Bay, then as a designer for a textile company for the Catholic Church, Horsey was looking for a career change.
She found business came swiftly, through social media, word-of-mouth and scheduled product parties; Horsey currently ships throughout Canada and into the United States.
She’s been featured at the Renann Isaac Fine Art Gallery in Guelph and had a studio in Kitchener before moving the creative process into her home.
“I am able to be flexible with my family time, which has been a real blessing,” she said; Horsey has two small boys and a husband who are all very supportive of her trade.
By beginning with a silicon mould of a fingerprint, Horsey can make a reverse cast that is pressed into a fine silver clay, which is then kiln-fired and oxidized.
“It’s sort of a rustic, matte finish. It looks worn and weathered,” she said of her work, and the influence is clear: on her website Horsey credits nature. “
Finely dressed beautiful and well cared for by the Creator which makes me worry less about the trivial and value more the life that I have to live.”
Using traditional silver-smithing techniques such as fabrication, sawing, soldering and polishing, she constructs each piece, whether it be for everyday, Mother’s Day or Christmas, with equal parts skill and care, but there are special cases that tug on the heartstrings. Often Horsey is sought-out by families of the terminally ill, seeking a memorial piece.
“Every piece is special, but I’m a bit of softie so there are pieces that I put a lot of heart into.”