Halstead Jewelry Grant

Grant Winners Over The Years

2015 Winner: Samantha Skelton Jewelry Design (Fairview, PA)

Congratulations to Samantha Skelton, artist and owner of Samantha Skelton Jewelry Design based in Fairview, Pennsylvania for her design excellence and business strategy acumen.
2015 Halstead Grant Winner Samantha Skelton Jewelry Design 2015 Halstead Grant Winner Samantha Skelton Jewelry Design

Samantha studied fine art in undergraduate at Edinboro University and earned an MFA with a focus on metalsmithing from Miami University in 2013. Her business includes custom jewelry, wholesale and gallery consignment in addition to art fairs and online sales.

"I have worked so hard to grow my jewelry design company and being recognized as the 2015 Halstead Grant winner is such an honor. I'm beyond excited! Prior to the application process, I had been working towards small goals. But, being able to see a big picture has really helped me take the next steps forward."

Samantha's jewelry designs are heavily influenced by her training as a metal sculpture artist. She says, "The sculptures I created had an industrial aesthetic and a sense of balance and symmetry, all hand-forged and kinetic. Alongside my sculptures, I found myself making smaller sculptural jewelry, almost as a sketch for larger pieces. It allowed me to play with form in a much faster and more direct way."

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2014 Winner: Erica Bello Jewelry (Rochester, NY)

Halstead is proud to announce Erica Bello of Rochester, NY as the winner of the 9th annual national Halstead Grant competition for new silver jewelry makers. She will receive $5,000 in cash and $1,000 in jewelry supplies as part of her prize package.
2014 Halstead Grant Winner Erica Bello Jewelry 2014 Halstead Grant Winner Erica Bello Jewelry

"I was extremely honored to be chosen as the 2014 Halstead Grant recipient. Writing the grant allowed me to focus my ideas into a cohesive goal. It is an incredible opportunity to be able to put my ideas into motion; I cannot thank them enough."

Erica finished her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2011 at The Rochester Institute of Technology with high honors. After college she worked as a bench jeweler while she continued to strengthen her customer base for Erica Bello Jewelry. Working for one of the largest national retailers of fine jewelry enhanced her technique, skill, and business knowledge.

Erica’s geometric silver jewelry with an oxidized finish can be described as industrial, bold and edgy with a three-dimensional dynamic. This unique metalsmithing work creates contrast with acute angles and semi-precious stones. Her collection is influenced by architecture and traditional jewelry archetypes.

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2013 Winner: Sculpturings (Davenport, FL)

The latest grant winner is Rebecca Rose of Davenport, Fla. Rose creates Sculpturings — cast rings sculpted from found object components and original elements to interpret social issues or current events.
2013 Halstead Grant Winner Sculpturings (Rebecca Rose) 2013 Halstead Grant Winner Sculpturings (Rebecca Rose)

"Since the Halstead Grant was awarded, I've been asked to exhibit at the 1st International Art Jewellery Biennial at the Beijing Museum of Contemporary Art, and was included as an exhibiting artist at the SELECT Art Fair this December during Art Basel Miami Beach," Rose said.

Rose’s work has been shown extensively in galleries throughout Manhattan and Los Angeles — on Madison Avenue and in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood — and has been purchased by a number of private art collectors, including TV producers, fashion designers, Emmy Award-winning actors and Broadway musicians.

Since the grant, "my work has appeared in the famed ‘September issue’ of British Vogue, on art blogs, and in magazine interviews, I've been approached for a piece to be worn in a movie, expanded my social media reach and garnered a wider audience," Rose said.

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2012 Winner: Susan Elnora (Minneapolis, MN)

Susan Elnora from Minneapolis won the grant in 2012 for her collection of urban, rustic silver jewelry. Elnora’s work reflects her exploration of the collision of the industrial and natural worlds with American mythology.
2012 The Halstead Grant Winner Susan Frerichs of Susan Elnora 2012 The Halstead Grant Winner Susan Frerichs of Susan Elnora

"The Halstead Grant seemed to trigger a landslide of good fortune for my business. I have received so much amazing press and recognition from it. It still all seems a bit unreal," Elnora said.

"When I applied for the grant, I thought that participating in a wholesale show would be a great step for my business. When I received the grant, that possibility suddenly became real and I ended up doing both the Buyers Market of American Craft in Philadelphia, and the American Craft Council show in Baltimore — both incredible experiences that have led to countless new connections."

Elnora has been profiled on InStoremag.com. Her designs can be found in stores and galleries across the country as well as online at Artful Home, A Mano and ARTprojectA.

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2011 Winner: Layne Designs (Philadelphia, PA)

Philadelphia-based artist Layne Freedline won the 2011 grant for her Layne Designs jewelry line. Freedline’s jewelry features unusual gems set in handcrafted sterling silver settings.
2011 The Halstead Grant Winner Layne Freedline of Layne Designs 2011 The Halstead Grant Winner Layne Freedline of Layne Designs

"Since winning the grant, my business has gained a lot of momentum creating custom work. Winning the award bolstered my reputation in such a way that people really trust me with their big jobs," Freedline said. "After winning, I was also able to get my foot in the door of the wholesale market by exhibiting at a larger, more costly wholesale venue."

Freedline recently split her business into two branches, adding a line of more casual materials and styles for a budget-friendly price point.

Layne Designs jewelry has appeared in Jewelry Artist Magazine and has been profiled by the Philadelphia Examiner and web sites and blogs including Fire Mountain Gems, Jewelry Observer, Hammermarks and Handmade in PA.

Layne Designs jewelry is available at fine craft shows, in a number of east coast galleries and on the Layne Designs website.

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2010 Winner: Cowboy's Sweetheart (Boulder, CO)

The 2010 grant was awarded to Amy Fortunato of Boulder, Colo., for her Cowboy's Sweetheart jewelry line. Fortunato’s sterling silver jewelry is loosely inspired by the American West and includes accents of semi-precious gemstones, copper, pearls and leather.
2010 Jewelry Grant Winner 2010 Jewelry Grant Winner Cowboy's Sweetheart

Not only did the grant money allow her to purchase a new computer and update her website to compete in the Wild West of e-commerce, it gave her a stronger business foothold.

"It has given my little business some street cred, commanding a level of respect in a very saturated market," Fortunato said. "My arm gets tired from switching hats so often, but it is the variety of responsibilities that makes this one-woman operation interesting. I enjoy building relationships with people by doing what I love, and the grant helped to spread that love!"

Cowboy's Sweetheart jewelry can be found on Fortunato’s etsy site and has been featured in Southwest Flair magazine and the Boulder and the Beautiful and Daily Camera blogs.

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2009 Winner: VOSTENAKstudios (Cottonwood, AZ)

VOSTENAKstudios creator Valerie Ostenak of Cottonwood, Ariz., won the 2009 grant for her one-of-a-kind statement necklaces, hairpieces and earrings. Ostenak’s work is inspired by fluid movement — the way water flows and the way air blows and moves things in the wind.
2009 Jewelry Grant Winner 2009 Jewelry Grant Winner Vostenak Studios

"What I really love about my work — other than making it makes me very happy — is that it makes others really happy, too. I can see the transformation when someone puts a piece on. They glow. They gleam. They have another light, " Ostenak said.

Ostenak, who works primarily in steel, silver and pearls, has been profiled in British Vogue, National Geographic and Art Jewelry Today. Ostenak’s jewelry can be found in galleries in California and Arizona and was showcased by the Maria Elena Kravetz Gallery (Cordoba, Argentina) at the 2103 SSOFA Chicago Show.

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2008 Winner: Bridgland Studios (Oakland, CA)

The team of Jay and Jennifer Bridgland won the 2008 Halstead Grant. Their Bridgland Studios line specializes in conceptual glass couture jewelry. Jay Bridgland creates flameworked glass forms — much like three-dimensional paintings — that are eventually assembled into wearable works of art. The Bridglands say their aim is to redefine the concept of glass artwear and to explore the limitless possibilities of expressing fashion through glass.
2008 Jewelry Grant Winner 2008 Jewelry Grant Winner Bridgland Studios

"The third dimension — the structure and form — really gives my work its unique quality. In the creation of my jewelry, the structure and form of the individual components and the detail required to create each bead is critical," said Jay, who also teaches in and heads the glass flameworking department at The Crucible School of Fire Arts in Oakland.

Bridgland Studios jewelry was honored with a prestigious NICHE Award in 2010 and is sold at a number of museums and galleries across the country and in Europe.

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2007 Winner: Belle Brooke Designs (Los Angeles, CA)

Artist Belle Brooke Barer won the 2007 grant while she was an artist in Los Angeles. Now based in Taos, N.M., her Belle Brooke Designs focuses on traditionally fabricated jewelry with an emphasis on craftsmanship. The look, she says, is a mix of modern, organic and geometric — with a nod to art deco designs.
2007 Jewelry Grant Winner 2007 Jewelry Grant Winner Belle Brooke

Barer said the Halstead Grant gave her a boost of confidence and really started the ball rolling in the right direction. "The press was fantastic and I was able to take it to the next level once I had this special ‘seal of approval’ from being a grant winner."

Since winning the grant, Belle Brooke Jewelry has been featured in a number of magazines, including MJSA/Journal, InDesign, JCK, and Jewelry Artist. Barer won the Mort Abelson New Designer of the Year Award in 2008 and was the first place winner of the prestigious AGTA Spectrum Award in 2012.

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2006 Winner: Ananda Khalsa Jewelry (Providence, RI)

Ananda Khalsa was Halstead’s first grant winner in 2006. The jewelry she creates in her Northampton, Mass., studio incorporates sterling silver and 22k gold, precious stones and tiny paintings. Khalsa captures the precious quality found in ancient jewelry, while creating work with a modern and wearable sensibility.
2006 Jewelry Grant Winner 2006 Jewelry Grant Winner Ananda Khalsa

Since winning the inaugural Halstead grant, Khalsa has been profiled in Marie Claire magazine and as one of Martha Stewart’s "Dreamers into Doers." Ananda Khalsa Jewelry is sold in galleries, shops, prestigious art shows and artist cooperatives around the country.

"It always amazes me how many different kinds of people wear my work," Khalsa said of her customers. "I feel very lucky for that. I think people who appreciate symbolism and see jewelry as more then just an object — perhaps in a more talismanic way — are attracted to the work."

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Halstead Bead, Inc.

Sponsor: Halstead Bead Inc. (Prescott, AZ)

The grant sponsor is a jewelry supply wholesaler that has served the trade since 1973. Halstead Bead Inc. specializes in sterling silver findings, chain, wire and beads. The firm also carries a broad line of other jewelry making items including gold filled and pewter components, crystal beads, tools, beading cables and more.

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The Halstead Grant is an annual jewelry grant that began in 2006. If you are interested in applying please see our grant application, FAQ and grant information pages. Click here for hints & tips articles on starting a jewelry business. We also offer a list of links and small business resources for the industry. Click here for past Halstead Grant winners, finalists and press coverage. The award is sponsored by Halstead Bead, Inc a wholesaler of jewelry supplies since 1973.
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