Heidi Mandich teaches her metalsmith jewelry techniques in the same room at the Indianapolis Art Center where she herself learned the basics.
“I took my first class in metalsmithing in 2006 and fell in love with the ability to manipulate, form and transform metal,” she says. “At the Indianapolis Art Center, I had been flame working, making lampwork glass beads. I wanted to find a way to showcase a unique glass bead, and I fell in love with metalsmithing.”
She is now part of the nonprofit 100 Voices of Hope, supporting the Simon Cancer Research Center at Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis.
Heidi enjoys the versatility and the challenge of metalsmithing — taking sheets of Argentium Sterling Silver and wire and creating something reflective of nature or architecture.
“Feedback from customers, who love what they purchased from me years ago, inspires me,” Heidi says. “There is a sense of accomplishment that’s hard to describe when someone stops by to say something I made is still a favorite piece of theirs to wear. It makes me happy.”
Part of the joy, she says, is creating something truly original. “It’s fun to create a design not seen anywhere else. I think that is what people who seek out original handmade art are looking for — that piece that they won’t find ‘coming and going.’”
She’s also inspired by the work of Dr. George Sledge and his team of researchers and doctors at the Simon Cancer Research Center at Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis.
“I am a two-time breast cancer survivor,” Heidi says, “and Dr. Sledge has given me the last 27 years.” As a way to give back, she donates 25 percent of the sale of hearts she makes to fund breast cancer research through 100 Voices of Hope.
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