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Indiana Artisan Heidi Mandich
Location:
Indianapolis
Medium:
Metalsmith Jewelry
FEATURED WORK
Heidi Mandich

“I have always felt it important to give back,” Heidi said. “None of us got where we are today alone. There were teachers, mentors, family – people who shaped us into who and what we are.” And so today, she’s in the business of shaping.

Heidi Mandich might be what you call a “giver.” She teaches her metalsmith jewelry techniques in the same room at the Indianapolis Art Center where she herself learned the basics. She is part of the non-profit “100 Voices of Hope,” supporting the Simon Cancer Research Center at Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis. After working in Indiana’s tourism development office, she continues to promote aspects of Indiana that make it special – some of those, she works into the designs of her jewelry.

“I have always felt it important to give back,” Heidi said. “None of us got where we are today alone. There were teachers, mentors, family – people who shaped us into who and what we are.” And so today, she’s in the business of shaping.

“I took my first class in metalsmithing in 2006 and fell in love with the ability to manipulate, form and transform metal,” she said. “At the Indianapolis Art Center, I had been flame working, making lamp work glass beads. I wanted to find a way to showcase a unique glass bead, and I fell in love with metalsmithing.” The glass world’s loss was the jewelry world’s gain.

“I have come full circle and now teach beginners the love of using fire and hammers to manipulate metal in the same studio where I first learned,” she said; “and I continue to take classes to become better – at the Indianapolis Art Center; from Michael David Sturlin, of the of the Revere Academy; from Bruce Baker, the nationally renowned jeweler and presenter on a variety of topics related to successful art sales; and from Andrea Jackson at FC’drea Design.”

The ongoing study has paid off. In addition to her work being recognized by Indiana Artisan, it recently opened the door to membership in Zionsville’s CCA Gallery.

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 that, as so many artisan jewelers say, “becomes a favorite that customers love to wear.”

“Feedback from customers, who love what they purchased from me years ago, inspires me,” Heidi said. “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 the creation of 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.’”

A native Hoosier, Heidi had the unique opportunity in college to work in the state tourism office and tell others what a wonderful place Indiana is. Today, she believes Indiana Artisan makes it even better. “I was excited to learn the State sees the value of showcasing the unique talents of artisans of many kinds. It accomplishes so many goals, but it’s particularly effective as a way to promote tourism – to give people unique things to see and do that only can be found in Indiana.”

Without her “tourism hat” on, Heidi said, “The support of the State in launching Indiana Artisan validates the work we do as individuals. Sometimes we are so close to what we do that we don’t realize the uniqueness of our work. It’s gratifying to be selected as one whose quality of work is good enough to represent our state, and it’s great that the State presents it as genuine talent. I wanted to become part of that story and again share things about this State that inspire me.”

On that theme of inspiration, Heidi said, “I find things here that inspire me, and I recreate them in my work – my mother’s peony garden, the swirls from a rock skipped on a still lake, the fall leaves in Brown County.” She also is inspired by the work of Dr. George Sledge and the team of researchers and doctors he put in place at the Simon Cancer Research Center at Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis.

“I am a two-time breast cancer survivor,” Heidi said, “and Dr. Sledge has given me the last 27 years.” As a way to give back, Heidi donates 25 percent of the sale of hearts she makes to fund breast cancer research through ‘100 Voices of Hope.’ “All of my contributions from sales go directly to fund research to help find answers,” she said. “To date, I have raised more than $10,000 – one heart at a time – hearts people can buy for themselves or share with others on their own personal journey.”