Price range: $220 to $2,000. Point to an image for more information. Click to enlarge.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
“At my core, I am drawn to graceful, sensuous movement and flow ... vines and tendrils curling around a trellis, tree roots weaving over and under each other as they reach out for life, the rhythmic ripples of water pouring over stones in a stream or at the ocean waves' edge. Even the wind rustling the tops of tall grasses and moving the clouds. As those elements flow, they transform their surroundings ... making them more beautiful.
“For me, steel is a very feminine material. When heated to a yellow orange heat, it becomes sensuous and graceful ... workable with ease, yet retaining its strength. Working with the hot steel allows me to express my core connection to the sensuous grace in Nature. I can create the flowing forms of vines, the movement of gently blowing breezes and smooth running streams. And when the steel cools, it is a lasting record of those graceful forms and flow. My intention to transform and connect the wearer of my jewelry with the gracefulness of Nature has been fulfilled, forever.
“Sterling silver forging is accomplished with hammers and an anvil that have been polished to a mirror finish. Silver, unlike steel, is worked cold so curves are forged into place — each mark is a carefully set hammer blow that determines the curve and shape. By leaving the marks of the hammers, the creative force, the energy that it takes to achieve those flowing lines and soft curves is seen — juxtaposing strength with grace. With a final polish, the metal becomes a mirror, reflecting the energy of transformation and the beauty of the material.”
̶ Valerie Ostenak
Valerie Ostenak, an award-winning jeweler, is a blacksmith and silversmith, creating sculptural designer jewelry using centuries-old techniques of forging with hammers, both with and without heat. The latest collection by Valerie Ostenak showcases precious stones entwined within forged steel and 23k goldleaf.
The contemporary jewelry of Valerie Ostenak has been published in various books: Art Jewelry Today by Dona Meilach, Art Jewelry Today 2 by Jeffrey Snyder, The Contemporary Blacksmith by Dona Meilach, each published by Schiffer, and Best of America: Jewelry Artists & Artisans, Kennedy Publishing.
Valerie Ostenak was twice invited by the National Jewelry Institute to exclusive shows: 2008 at Designer Showcase, in the Forbes Galleries New York City, and 2009 at Sparkle Week in Paris during Paris Fashion Week.
In 2009 Valerie Ostenak was the national winner of the Halstead Jewelry Design and Business Development Grant which, among other things, landed her visual placement front-and-center on Times Square and Las Vegas for three days. Her contemporary jewelry was featured on the fashion runway during Phoenix Fashion Week in October 2009, both as her own runway presentation and also worn by the models of Li Cari by Jazmin Whitley.
In the summer of 2010 Valerie Ostenak was dedicated to working with two other blacksmiths designing, building, and installing a hand-forged steel railing at the Grand Canyon Amphitheater. The railing was designed to enhance visually and conceptually the artist-designed amphitheater, a monolithic native limestone centerpiece of Mather Point.
In November of 2010 Valerie Ostenak presented her contemporary sculptural designer jewelry on the runway at Scottsdale (AZ) Fashion Week. In 2011 Valerie Ostenak was one of only six jewelers internationally to win a prestigious Centurion Emerging Designer Award. In December of 2014 Valerie Ostenak was invited to present her contemporary jewelry in the Artistar Jewels Exhibition in Milan, Italy.
Valerie Ostenak is featured on National Geographic's Education website in 'Real-World Geography: How people use geography and the geographic perspective in their everyday lives and real-world careers.'
Training began for Valerie Ostenak with jewelry and metal-smithing courses at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and continued at California State University Long Beach. She has worked with blacksmiths, creating gates, stair rails, sculpture and lighting, and has attended workshops nationally and internationally to learn new techniques.