(Tyler Haas. Photo courtesy of Red Chair Gallery)
Jewelry designer Tyler Haas loves creating unique jewelry with beautiful flowing lines —be it Art Nouveau swoops and spirals, swooshing arcs that resemble Asian calligraphy, or swirls that are inspired by the jewelry and armor of The Lord of the Rings movies. For example, a vibrant rainbow labradorite set atop a ring made of textured and oxidized sterling silver and wrapped with curvy 14k gold vines. Or perhaps a 14k gold filled spiral pendant necklace adorned with two misty white moonstones. The elegance of the curves always highlights the beauty of the gemstones that he cuts himself. Haas’ work is showcased at Red Chair Gallery in February.
Growing up in Homer, Alaska, Haas honed many crafting skills, including knitting, sewing, weaving, crocheting, and beading. When it was time for college, he left Alaska to attend the University of Oregon where he attained a degree in linguistics. He spent a year teaching English in South Korea and two more traveling the world, before returning to Oregon. He moved to Bend where he worked for two years at Nashelle Jewelry, learning basic metal working. Seeking more technical skills, Haas apprenticed at The Sunstone Store (which used to have a storefront in downtown Bend but is now online only). There he learned stone setting and began working with finer quality materials.
Tyler’s passion for creativity and design led him to strike out on his own in 2017. Rather than just producing pieces designed by others, he wanted to design jewelry himself. “I like pushing what’s possible with jewelry,” he explains. “No one has ever told me what I can or can’t do, so my curiosity has led me to discover some really unique and interesting ways of working metal or setting stones” he says. Now, besides being at Red Chair, Haas sells his work on Etsy, Instagram, his own website and at many juried art fairs around the Northwest in the summer and fall. He also does a lot of custom work, including engagement and wedding rings.
Haas works from his home studio in his house in Bend. His equipment is fairly small and compact, consisting mainly of an anvil, hammers, a jeweler’s bench and a soldering station. He fabricates his jewelry from gold and silver sheet metal and wire. To add unique textures to his jewelry, he may hammer the metal with a patterned hammer, or fuse silver granules to the surface. He often oxidizes parts of his jewelry to create stronger contrast between the dark and rough areas and the bright and polished aspects of a piece. Recently, he began cutting and polishing his own gemstones from slabs or rough stones. This has given him the freedom to create unique stone shapes for his pieces.
Besides making jewelry here, Haas is involved with the Bend community in other ways. Last year, he designed all the costumes for Into the Woods, which was staged in Drake Park. He and his wife, Emma James, also teach Argentine Tango every Wednesday at the Sons of Norway Hall, sharing a passion that began 15 years ago for them.