Alchemy Challenge Winner – Beginner Category

Oct 11, 2021 | Challenges

Meet Nancy Heise

Winner, Beginner Category, Alchemy Challenge

Beginner winner alchemy challenge Nancy HeiseCongratulations to Nancy, winner of the Beginner Category in AMCAW’s Alchemy artist challenge! Her winning entry, Trapeze, is a fine silver pendant with a 6 carat monarch opal.

“The funniest thing about this piece,” says Nancy, “is that it started as something completely different! It was finished and the opal set when I had decided it was an epic fail. So I disassembled it and completely started over.

“My sketch actually had the piece a bit more complicated, because I love to challenge myself and take things to the next level, however, that involved techniques that I have not yet learned. So while things didn’t work as planned, this design is what took shape. I think while creating it, it came to life through trials and errors. My end goal is always to create something that makes a statement!”

Nancy discovered metal clay just before the pandemic it. “To be honest, I didn’t even know what metal clay was. I developed an interest in sea glass and bought a piece from an artist that was set in a pendant made with “Precious Metal Clay.” Intrigued, I tried to connect the dots through Facebook. The former local art studio here in town offered a project using a glass cab and a very small snake of PMC to wrap it and make a bail for over $70. I thought to myself, “if I am going to make something, I have to like it.” I started researching metal clay and decided I could buy more to start my metal clay journey with that money instead.”

“And so began my journey in late January of 2020 just before the pandemic. While sick in bed (not Covid) but armed with a credit card and an iPad, I started purchasing the basics with the help of an artist I met through a Facebook metal clay group. It wasn’t until March of that year when I bought a kiln that things really took off for me – however, I was so afraid of that blue box it sat on the counter for over a month! To this day, I have never taken a class, only watched videos but I do look forward to a day where I can take some in person classes.

“I have always loved art but especially jewelry. I was bitten by the bug in high school forty years ago when we got to create a piece using the lost wax method and create two additional pieces which involved soldering and setting a stone with a bezel. Oh, how I wish I could remember those skills!

Back of the piece

“About 12 years ago I taught myself chainmaille and was honored when I got to sell my pieces in a very exclusive high end boutique in Dallas. After retiring from a 25 year career in real estate and relocating to the Keys, I taught myself to wire wrap sea glass. I do not combine any of the above with metal clay because I have so much more that I want to learn, and solely want to focus on my new found dream medium! I would love to learn how to work with glass and metal clay.

“I just create at home alone. I laugh because I don’t have a studio, I live out of a tool box and other various boxes that go in my “art closet” and are taken out and put up. I am so very blessed to sit here and stare at the ocean during the whole process, as we live in the Florida Keys on the water. When I have questions or issues I look to Facebook and have found an amazing community of artists that help and give selflessly of themselves, sharing information and their time for which I am extremely grateful!”

Find Nancy online on Facebook n.e.heise, finequalityhandmadejewelry, and on Instagram at neheisethegoodlife