100 Creatives

80: Heidi Abrahamson

When we last put the spotlight on 100 creative forces in Phoenix, it was no secret there were more than 100 individuals who were making waves in the local arts community. So as we count down to our annual Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome (back) to 100 Creatives

Heidi Abrahamson made international headlines last year when she teamed up with Moderncat's Kate Benjamin to create an oddly beautiful line of jewelry ... from cat hair. But long before (and thankfully not long after) her name went viral, the local creative followed her passion for antique accessories and metal work and continues to make waves in the local design scene.

Abrahamson owns Phoenix Metro Retro, a hip vintage and antique shop that carries a drool-worthy collection of mid-century modern furniture as well her own, handmade jewelry that she says is inspired by an appreciation for eye candy that runs in the family.

I came to Phoenix with . . . my husband, Douglas and our two children, Ulrika and Fritz in 1995. We came for a new start after living in Indiana, where I'm from, for 6 years and before that, Seattle. We thought that things were very affordable here. I truly believe it would have been near impossible to have, what we have now, anywhere else, in such a short time.

I make art because . . . I always have had a need to, a love to, but finally found what I'm good at 8 years ago after loving modern jewelry for so long and having collected it since I was in high school. My parents were antique dealers, I learned so very much from them.

I'm most productive when . . . I haven't figured that out yet....to say inspired, well, of course. but best when under pressure. It's really inspiring when someone comes to me wanting a piece of jewelry and says to just do what I do. There's no more wonderful feeling than that. I like to challenge myself in trying something I've not done before. I'm self taught, it's been a lot of trial and error, but, I have a wonderful freedom in what I do. When I'm happy, which is a lot of the time.

My inspiration wall is full of . . . design of all aspects. I am mostly inspired by the Scandinavian metal smiths of the 60's, 70's, Jorma Laine, Pentti Sarpaneva (Timo's lesser known brother) Frank and Regine Juhls, Matti Hyvarinen, and many more from Finland, all the Danish designers for George Jensen especially Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe.Then there are the American Modernists, Margaret De Patta, Betty Cooke....I could go on and on. I love talking about them and showing my books to customers who show even the slightest bit of interest, if they show more interest, I won't shut up. I would love to teach a class about modernist jewelry from the 40's thru 70's.

I've learned most from . . . books, and more books. I love my books. I've collected old metal smithing and jewelry books. As I've mentioned before, I've learned so much from my parents. From my father, who was a woodworker, the discipline, the pride of craftsmanship. When I went to college, I wanted to be a painter, I wanted to dance, I studied music, I failed miserably. I learned to appreciate art from my parents, of paintings, of furniture, of jewelry, of glass, of architecture. I never gave up. I studied interior design, desert landscaping, but no . . . not that . . . I looked at my collection one day and thought, "Why can't I do this?" It's been a long, not so diverted road, to where I am now. I'm sorry, Why didn't I realize this sooner? I have no idea, just wasn't my time yet. (?) I can't write for shit and I'm very ADD. The only time I can really focus, is when I work at the bench.

Good work should always . . . cause some type of emotion.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more . . . Phoenix has come tremendously far in the last 10 years and keeps getting better. We could use more publicity for the creative scene. There are, and has been, so much talent here. Say "Phoenix" to some one out of state and they immediately think of the negative, you know what it is, I don't need or want to go into that. I'm hoping that will change . . . I really do believe that it can and will. And, I will try my best in helping anyway that I possibly can.

The Creatives, so far ... (And while you're here, check out 100 Tastemakers on Chow Bella.)

100:Lara Plecas 99. Isaac Caruso 98. Brandon Gore 97. Kelsey Dake 96. Hector Ruiz 95. Caroline Battle 94: Jennifer Campbell 93. Jeff Chabot 92. Tiffiney Yazzie 91. Daniel Germani 90. Irma Sanchez 89. Daniel m. Davis 88. Kirstin Van Cleef 87. Emmett Potter 86. Sarah Hurwitz 85. Christine Cassano 84. Fred Tieken 83. Lindsay Kinkade 82. Ruben Galicia 81. Robert Uribe

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton