A native of East Tennessee, Heather Karlsson moved to Texas in 1999 to pursue a master’s degree in clarinet performance at the University of North Texas.
Upon graduation, she signed on as an apprentice repair technician at a local music store in Dallas. In 2007, after many adventures, she opened her own instrument repair shop, specializing in servicing woodwind instruments with a focus on professional musicians.
Heather began creating jewelry in November 2014 when she started taking silversmithing classes at the Craft Guild of Dallas. Her original intention was to hone her soldering skills and to learn the fine art of working with metal in order to build custom keywork for clarinets, bass clarinets, and oboes.
While studying at the Guild, she discovered a fascination with the sculptural elements of musical instrument design and began incorporating these elements into her work. In the process, she fell in love with making jewelry and learning new metal working techniques. In 2017, she decided to start entering juried art shows around the state of Texas, and the rest is history! She hopes that people will enjoy looking at and wearing her creations, and come to appreciate the beauty of musical instrument forms.
Heather is very glad to call Texas home. She lives in the north Dallas suburb of Carrollton with her turquoise collection, her husband, and two deranged house cats.
After rebuilding woodwind instruments for seventeen years, I can't help but notice the hand of the maker, the thought behind the mechanical design, and even the touch of the player upon the instrument keys. Unlike violins, woodwind instruments have a finite lifespan, and sometimes meet an unfortunate or even tragic end. Rather than relegate what's left to the scrap heap, I take the silver-plated keys from irreparably damaged instruments and incorporate them into turquoise settings to memorialize the musical voice that was lost. I also draw inspiration from the sculptural elements of the instruments, as well as themes from the natural world.
"Best of Show": Septemberfest 2018, Museum of the Southwest, Midland, TX
"Best of Show: Jewelry Category": Las Cruces Arts Fair 2019, Las Cruces, NM