April Hale is a traditionally trained metalsmith who has been practicing her art for over ten years. Crafting sustainable jewelry from sterling silver, steel, and enamel in her small studio in Florence, Montana, she derives her designs from forms and colors that she sees in the landscape.
Outside of the studio, April enjoys hiking, cross-country skiing, and working in her garden.
I have always been a maker. I work nearly every day in my small studio in Florence, Montana - making sustainable, handcrafted jewelry by combining blacksmithing, enameling, and fine silversmithing into contemporary, nature-inspired aesthetic. I have been creating jewelry for over ten years and hold a Craft Certificate in Metalsmithing from the Appalachian Center for Craft in Smithville, Tennessee and a Master’s of Fine Art from Montana State University in Bozeman.
I love using my eyes and hands to create adornment that connects people to their surroundings. Frequently new designs arise from a form observed on my morning run or a view of a landscape I saw as I drove across the state. Rather than replicate what I see, I distill the natural forms to their essence, interpreting them in a new way. A rosehip on a bare twig in winter, the first glacier lilies in spring, or a rusty car on a dry hillside are all visual elements that may be incorporated into a necklace or a pair of earrings. By tying colors and forms from the environment into the jewelry, I bring the landscape onto the body of the wearer. Enameled shapes create pools of color; forged steel and silver give the work a natural, handmade feel.
Of the many tools in my studio, two hammers hand made by a blacksmith friend are my favorites. Handmade tools feel different to use – like my jewelry, they carry something of the place where they were created and the person who created them.
This history of the tools and materials, connection to the landscape, and environmental sustainability are integral to what I make. By using reclaimed copper and steel I am breathing life back into the metals, connecting our past cultures to the present through my view of the contemporary landscape. By wearing the jewelry, one wears a small part of the people and places that came before.