Tara Locklear: Contemporary Jewelry With a Twist

“The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show has not only been an incredible opportunity to connect with many great artists around the United States, but also a great gateway to meeting new clients for my work.”

Imagine if parts from a recycled skateboard were repurposed and crafted into beautiful and singular works of contemporary craft jewelry art that are truly statement pieces. Meet Tara Locklear, the visionary artist and designer behind exactly that. Tara began working with her material of choice while in college when she worked at a skateboard shop and became steeped in the culture. That was the genesis of her trajectory, merging her skateboarding community with the craft she loves and the process in which she creates. Exploring and forming the unique graphic and color qualities of the materials she works with are at the heart of her studio practice. Whether using sheet steel, cast cement, or recycled skateboards, Tara describes her work as everyday jewelry – wearable and different. She enjoys pushing the boundaries of color and pattern with the worn, street patinas of the broken, recycled skateboards. Co-mingled with handmade sterling silver designs result in playful but powerful jewelry.

Inspiration comes in many forms for Tara Locklear, including urban landscapes, the architecture within, industrial materials, and color, but she is most influenced by the women in her life. “The ones I have studied historically and the women in my day-to-day that I am lucky to have as family and friends”, she says. “All of these elements inspire my forms and the movements in my work.” The resulting creations are all together bold, bright, cheerful, and edgy.

Tara has exhibited at the PMA Craft Show four times, and will be back this year for the PMA Craft Show Online Event. Last year she received the award for Excellence in Jewelry. Surprised, humbled, and grateful for the accolade, Tara shares, “I was extremely shocked! It was a very surreal moment. You have no idea when and if these moments will happen or if you are even considered. You just always try to put your best foot forward and make work that you believe in.”

(Tara Locklear in her studio)

Tara is appreciative of how the PMA Craft Show garners a diverse community of attendees that truly support the show. “It’s a testament to the PMA Craft Show Committee and its marketing efforts”, she says. “They treat the artists very well and there is great customer service all around.” Creating genuine connections through jewelry is paramount for Tara, and seeing the delight her jewelry brings to people as they wear it is the greatest part of the whole process for her. “To me, success is having someone connect to my work enough to want to own it and wear it. Knowing that my jewelry is comfortable and that it brings a smile to the customer wearing it. Whenever I hear that, that is what brings me the most joy.”

(Above, ring and earrings)

As the PMA Craft Show prepares to move to an online event, we asked Tara how she has been gearing up to present her work in this format. She spoke about goals and how the situation at hand is actually accelerating her previous 2019 goal which was to redesign her website to incorporate a more efficient e-commerce store. Knowing it was long overdue, it’s now on her current list of goals and she plans on being ready. She has also been developing more editorial photo stories to accompany her work and participates with others virtually via Instagram live platforms and Zoom trunk shows. We also wanted to know what advice she might have for an emerging jewelry artist. With tried and true guidance, Tara says, “Trust the process and stay true to your vision. Also, engage actively online through podcasts and organizations around your craft because community is so important. Creating a supportive community around you to stay connected and grow with is vital. I am grateful every day for my craft community that is family for me.”

Look for Tara and all the artists this November at the PMA Craft Show Online Event! Details will be forthcoming. Please continue to follow our social media channels for the latest updates.




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