“Heart & Soul” annual jewelry trunk show, Feb. 3


Press release from Grand Bohemian Gallery:

Grand Bohemian Gallery
Amber Higgins Heart & Soul Jewelry Trunk Show
Friday, Feb. 3, 5-8 pm & Saturday, Feb. 4, 10am-2pm
Light refreshments will be served during the shows

Toronto-based glass artist Amber Higgins has been coming to Asheville since 2009, when the Grand Bohemian Hotel and its Grand Bohemian Gallery opened. Her characteristic hearts of glass have been a staple of the gallery’s jewelry collection and every year the artist returns to showcase new designs, meet with collectors, and mix and mingle with visitors during her trunk show exhibition. This year’s Heart & Soul show on the evening of February 3rd and the morning of February 4th at the Grand Bohemia Gallery will feature the designer’s new one-of-a-kind lampwork glass pieces, “change-up” pendants that can match with different chains, and her usual signature beads and heart necklaces.

Higgins discovered glass as the medium for her when enrolled in a Jewelry Arts program at a local college. While looking through U.S.-based contemporary jewelry making magazines, she saw a woman from Colorado making her own glass beads. “These beads had little worlds encased in glass and I was fascinated,” says Higgins. “I had started making my own beads from polymer clay before going to college. But this took it to a whole new level. I bought all the equipment from the USA only to discover the torch was made in Toronto!”

She’s never looked back.

“I love that glass is very forgiving. When working it in the torch, you can melt and shape it as you like. If you don’t like you can just re-heat and keep working it,” Higgins explains.

Her work hasn’t changed much from a decade ago. Constancy is important in artistry, she notes, but she has defined her styles by knowing what works for her and what doesn’t. “That doesn’t stop me from trying new things….but whether people see them or not is a different story,” she laughs.

Recently moving into a 600 sq. ft. studio filled with personal items and a studio gray tabby studio cat, Higgins surrounds herself with some of my favorite things. An antique Japanese Pachinko machine (vertical pinball of sorts) she played with as a child adorns one corner, while she keeps the studio spacious and clutter-free so she can try out different art mediums.

“I am constantly trying to explore art, and my place in it,” declares Higgins.

She tries to stay fashion-forward, and while the work she designs would not be defined as “Fine Jewelry,” it is contemporary, staying on color and texture trends than can be integrated with the fashion styles of the day. Her mainstay has been the heart symbol, but most collectors will agree it’s not the “cutesy” heart that one might envision. The hearts are whorled with color, silver leaf and designs that make them look like stones. She creates colors and designs called Black Magic, Tattoo, and most recently limited-edition or even one-of-a-kind mehndi (Indian) designs.

Her newest line has no heart design at all – “It’s a big risk for us,” she says. “It’s a step forward to trimming down the line — making glass look streamlined and light, as glass can sometimes look too ‘clunky’.”

All of these designs will come with her to Asheville, a place she loves and revels in visiting every winter, usually driving from Toronto. “I LOVE ASHEVILLE!!! I feel so at home there,” she states. “I love the people I’ve met, I love the art.”

“And driving through the Great Smoky Mountains on my way is in itself enough inspiration for me. I get giddy with excitement when I hit the city limits. One of my “happy places” .”

The Grand Bohemian Gallery will host an Amber Higgins Heart & Soul trunk show Friday, Feb. 3, 5-8 pm and Saturday, Feb. 4, 10am-2pm. Light refreshments will be served during the show.
11 Boston Way

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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