The following is an interview with Heather Charlick of Island Cowgirl Jewelry. I used this interview for an article I wrote that will publish in the next issue of TravelHost Nashville Magazine. It will be a short article so I wanted to share more. I love Island Cowgirl Jewelry but feel a stronger connection to it after learning more about Heather and HER passion for it. Enjoy!
Are you looking for jewelry that inspires you? Want something that brings back those little girl feelings of being free… grass or sand between your toes, horse and puppy kisses, and spending your days dreaming of what your fairytale life will be like? I think we all need a reminder from time to time… Because let’s face it, the reality of our adult lives are nothing like our little girl dreams. I wasn’t cleaning the house or paying bills in my dreams! Get back that little girl feeling with Island Cowgirl Jewelry.
Meet the designer Heather Charlick of Island Cowgirl. Heather shares where her own passion for jewelry making comes from and a little bit about a few new pieces she’s currently working on…
Heather & Ryan Charlick
Where did your passion of jewelry making come from?
Well, I have always loved jewelry and after graduating from F.I.T. in NYC I actually moved to the island of St. Martin and sold my jewelry on the beach. A friend of mine owned a few stores…one of them on the beach and he would let me set up shop a few days a week. I then went on to dive for buried treasure in Florida…I was fascinated with gold doubloons. I ended up owning night clubs in Miami in the early South Beach days…which was an experience in of itself. We also had a couture clothing store with designer Gerry Kelly. After leaving Miami, I really wanted to do something quieter and got back to my roots of making jewelry. I moved to California where I began selling my line Island Cowgirl.
What determined your focus on inspirational and poetic etchings, horses, cowgirl and heart jewelry?
As a child I use to read ferociously. I was the kid that would rather be in the library reading when I wasn’t in school. I fell in love with poetry and starting keeping a journal of quotes. I also doodled on every paper, test and book I had…It drove my teachers crazy. So combining both was just a natural evolution for me.
Where did the name Island Cowgirl come from?
As a little girl in Upstate NY I used to ride horses…I would sometimes sneak off through the woods to the horse farm down the road and just watch the horses from the field. And then when I graduated from college I moved to the islands…So that is kind of where that all came from. I always loved horses. And I always loved the sea.
I read somewhere that you have traveled quite a bit… Where all you have traveled and has it influenced your work in any way?
Some people say travelled but I am sure my dad calls it being a vagabond. I think the thing that travel has taught me is to be tolerant of other people’s cultures. Not everyone gets to grow up with all the extraordinary opportunities we have here in the US. A lot of people in the world struggle just to have water, food and if they are very lucky…a pair of shoes. And yet they seem grateful for what they have regardless.
I have taken that as a big lesson. Never take things for granted. Always remain grateful, gracious and humble.
What goes into the creation of each piece and what makes it special or unique?
Well…I hand carve each piece out of wax first. The etchings are done in my handwriting and then they are cast. I try to inscribe each piece with something meaningful along the way…in the way that ancient civilizations had talismans. Some of the most popular pieces have a common theme…Usually bravery, courage, hope or faith. So what that tells me is that people are looking to shore up their internal strength…or overcome a struggle or fear.
I get amazing emails from my customers all the time telling me that a piece helped them through losing a loved one, or their struggle with cancer or perhaps a divorce. I feel very honored that they would take the time to share those things with me.
I’m sure you are passionate about your work… What would you want customers to know about you and your jewelry?
That I am only a girl. Trying to spread the word for people to be a little more mindful, a little kinder to themselves and others and that being brave isn’t the absence of fear. It is doing something in spite of it.
Do you have a special piece or collection coming out that you could give us a hint about?
On my jewelry bench right now are what I hope to be awesome new pendants and bracelets that we are working on. These will be totally new for us and will be bezel set with stones like Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, Pink Tourmaline and Ethiopian Opal. They will all be one of a kinds…I can’t wait to see them all finished!
Heather Cannon is the Founder of Country Girl Glitz & Women In Rodeo… Fashion Writer & Blogger- Specializing in Western Wear Fashion and host for the upcoming Women in Rodeo Show. Heather Cannon shows women how to add Western Glitz to their wardrobes and brings Women In Rodeo together for education and motivation. From Western Fashion, to Rodeo Queens or Barrel Racers Heather brings you Fashion, Motivation, Education and the latest in Women’s Rodeo.
Twitter & Instagram: @WomenInRodeo