August 12 2020

“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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July 09 2019

(Above: Necklace by Tom Herman)

The jewelry category at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show is unparalleled in its beauty and diversity, from fine gold and silver pieces, to unique and contemporary designs utilizing everything from precious metals to coins, paper, and as you’ll see below, even skateboards! A highly popular section of the Show, each artist’s work sparkles, shines, or surprises attendees in its own way. In this blog, we’re spotlighting three different jewelers, all at different points in their career, and each excited to be exhibitors at the 2019 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show.

Be sure to check out their social media accounts below.

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EMILY SHAFFER - Emerging Artist

Emily Shaffer first showed a few of her undergraduate pieces in the Kutztown University student booth in 2014, but this will be her first year exhibiting on her own at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show as a studio jeweler and business owner. Four years into owning her company, she is looking forward to showing how far she has come as an artist since graduating college. “I’ve worked hard to develop a body of cohesive work with multiple collections”, she says. “What I enjoy most about the work I do is the actual act of creating something that I dearly love, as well as the challenge of combining it with business, something I believe is essential to making this life sustainable.”

Emily may be a new exhibitor at PMA Craft Show, but it is the other exhibitors that give her inspiration. Walking around the Show while participating in the Kutztown University student booth, she remembers seeing the exhibiting artists, and thinking these are all real people making a living and selling their craft. “It was a very special moment, seeing craft artists at shows, specifically women, many of whom run every aspect of their businesses on their own”, she shares. “It is hugely inspiring for me. I really look up to these women; they set such great examples as talented artists and designers, businesswomen, and all around supportive, kind people.”

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TOM HERMAN – Precious Jewelry of Metal and Stones

Tom has been a longstanding exhibitor at Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show for almost 30 years, and credits the PMA Craft Show as his most successful way to market and promote his work. When asked what he loves most about the Show, Tom equates the history of Philadelphia with the art of fine craft. “Philadelphia is the home of craftsmanship since the beginning of the country”, he says. “The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show has been the steward of studio arts and artists, providing an outlet for our creativity.” Tom’s work is inspired by Mother Nature, and he credits his expression of nature as the driving force in his work.

By far, Tom’s biggest achievement with his work to date has been the remarkable Matilija Poppy Project, a piece he co-created with Patsy Croft. Ultimately crafted as a donation to the Mendocino art center, it sold at Sotheby’s in April 2019 for $47,500. All proceeds are benefitting MAC’s jewelry/metal arts program, where Tom and Patsy hope their passion for the project inspires other artists to collaborate and push the boundaries of jewelry design.

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TARA LOCKLEAR - Jewelry From Repurposed Skateboards

This will be Tara’s fourth year at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. She has been making her one-of-a-kind works since college and is thrilled to have officially been in business for over six years. Tara creates her pieces from sheet steel, cast cement, and recycled skateboards and her focus is to create finely crafted jewelry that empowers individuality. Tara has taught workshops and lectured on her process throughout the United States.

“Being part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show is always exciting”, says Tara. When we asked what she loves most about the work she does, she said, “There is nothing more satisfying than seeing how raw materials take the shape of my doodles and rendering. Knowing how to work with my hands to do that makes me excited throughout the whole process.” Tara’s inspiration comes from those around her. “People inspire me”, she explains. “Seeing all the different journeys and paths that each person takes and how they embrace the challenges – triumphs – failures. Every time I am able to step out of my small bubble and take part in other peoples’ stories, I always come back with new perspectives and thoughts.” She considers her biggest career achievement thus far to be seeing how customers get excited about something she has created that they want to wear. “That is the biggest success of all”, she says. “Bringing people joy with such a personal item as jewelry is always the most fulfilling.”

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Instagram: @emilyshafferstudio






Instagram: @taralocklear


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