(Necklace and pendant by Anne Von Heideken)
The classic look of Southwestern-style jewelry is the perfect choice for just about any outfit a woman could wear. Now that everyone is dressing more casually than ever, it can spiff up even jeans and tee shirts. You can find it at Red Chair Gallery, where jeweler Anne Von Heideken is a showcase artist in September.
Von Heideken fashions her creations with fine turquoise from legendary mines in Arizona and Nevada, combined with heishi beads and gemstones, such as lapis lazuli, coral, peridot and carnelian. Sometimes she adds silver or pewter charms and beads. “I always look for special elements to put in my jewelry,” she says. This includes large Tibetan beads or pendants, which are inlaid with coral and turquoise, brass and silver. “They have that Southwestern look,” she says.
Pearls are also a favorite material. Not your mother’s pearls though! Von Heideken often uses non-traditional pearl shapes, such as baroque or keishi pearls that give her necklaces a less formal look. “I love all the misshaped pearls because the shapes are really interesting,” she confesses.
Originally from the Bay Area, von Heideken moved to Portland when her husband’s job was transferred there; later they retired to Bend to be near one of their sons. She had always dabbled in crafts such as sewing and knitting and at one point owned a business making pillows. On a trip to Santa Fe, she became enamored of Southwestern-style jewelry. She strolled the town’s famous plaza, where Native Americans from nearby pueblos sell their jewelry. She also spent time visiting some of the Indigenous pueblos and talking with the artists to learn about the spiritual and historical backgrounds that influence their pieces. She then decided to learn how to make her own Southwestern designs. Her daughter-in-law taught her some basic techniques and the rest is self-taught.
Von Heideken is also becoming known locally for her whimsical pottery. She fashions ceramic totems with fanciful stacks of animals, such as dogs, rabbits or frogs. Then she adds other shapes, such as houses, balls and boxes. All are glazed in various colors to make a bright display for a drab corner in your house or garden. She also fashions amusing tabletop pieces like the boating dog shown here. Just the thing to enliven a drab corner of your house.