About the Artists

Heather Beck  Heather Beck – Heather Beck Designs

Heather is a bowtie wearing metalsmith who works primarily in copper, silver and gold. She spends her days creating high end custom jewelry in studio #047 in the Eastworks building. She has been teaching metalsmithing and jewelry since 2006 at various craft schools around the east coast. Heather runs 10 week beginner to advanced courses, weekend classes and one day workshops in her studio like the ones featured in our Valley Creates events. Miss Beck is just as passionate about teaching metals as she is about making new work. Her latest projects range from a 14k white gold engagement ring complete with 5mm emerald, to custom sterling and copper arrow bracelets, etched copper money clips, and a large silver buffalo necklace. She’s working towards having her arrow bracelets in stores around the valley and creating a mens line that will start to take shape in the fall. All her current work is custom made to order and she’s having a blast making it. You can follow her on Instagram @HBee83 and at Heather Beck Designs on FB and the web.

studio photo Donna Beck – 230am Studio

Donna’s work evolves from handmade and surface-designed papers and pulp. Much of her inspiration comes from a “sense of the spiritual” found in nature, in both sacred places and in nature’s artwork: an intricate, meandering grapevine tendril; a perfectly round, smooth, wave-tumbled stone from the coast; birch bark; manzanita burls; a carefully woven bird’s nest; a bone; a poppy seed pod; an antler. These pieces come together to form sculptures whispering of emotions, the life cycle, and the significance of home, even at its darkest, “Lorica,” the Celtic word for “breastplate” or “armor” is a blessing or prayer for protection, and perfectly captures the spirit of her nests, for both the maker of the nest and for those who dwell there. In addition to Lorica nests and wall pieces, she also creates handmade papers, paste papers, handmade books, and cards. Donna is an adjunct professor in the art program at WNEU and regularly teaches workshops in her studio and the community.

Audrey at machine Audrey Hyvonen – Big Top Quilts

Audrey Hyvonen is a quilt maker living in Easthampton MA, designing and making out of her home based studio: Big Top Quilts. She brings a fresh, bold approach to each of her quilts and enjoys sharing them with her wider community. Recent exhibition participation includes Hands All Around Quilt Show, Northampton Modern Quilt special exhibit, ECA+ small works show and “Quilters Take Manhattan” exhibit of the Quilt Alliance. She sells her work out of her home studio, through Sheep and Shawl in Deerfield MA, and through her shop: BigTopQuilts on ETSY. She champions the intersection of life and play through grant projects bringing circus and art to the people in her community and loves to collaborate and teach.

1559832_700253660005839_1592865064_n (1) Lou Leelyn – Lou’s Upcycles

Lou Leelyn is a craftsperson, environmental advocate and a founding board member and former President of Artisans of WMASS (AWM) . Lou works tirelessly to advocate for all creative makers in western MA as well as for the reduction of plastic waste in our communities. Her passion for the upcycling creative movement has led her to master the process of turning post-consumer plastic bags into innovative, graphically appealing textiles using the heat and pressure to fuse the bags to themselves. This textile is the base for a host of products which additionally involve combining rescued textiles for interior linings, and neckties for my straps.  Her entire product line revolves around this versatile and evolving textile.

headshot 2015 cropped Katie Richardson – Blue Barn Studios

Katie Richardson is a Hadley artist and educator who uses glass and metal to create art and accessories, from small glassworks to large sculpture. Her craft business, Blue Barn Studios, offers fire formed housewares, jewelry and gifts, while her sculptural work is inspired by the home and the body, as well as science and technology. She enjoys teaching others to play with fire, and looks forward to melting glass with you at Valley Creates!

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