Toronto-based glass artist Amber Higgins has been coming to Asheville since 2009, when the Grand Bohemian Hotel and its gallery opened. Her characteristic hearts of glass are a staple of the gallery’s jewelry collection.
Featuring Higgins’ work, this year’s Heart and Soul trunk show is slated for Friday, February 3, from 5–8 p.m. and Saturday, February 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Light refreshments will be served during the exhibit, which will feature the designer’s new one-of-a-kind lampwork glass pieces, change-up pendants and her signature beads and heart necklaces.
“I am constantly trying to explore art, and my place in it,” says Higgins, whose company is Worn Beadies. “Glass is very forgiving. When working it in the torch, you can melt and shape it as you like. If you don’t like (the shape), you can re-heat and keep working.”
Higgins started making beads from polymer clay before going to college in Toronto. There in a jewelry arts program she discovered glass as a medium. Looking through a contemporary jewelry-making magazine, she saw a woman from Colorado who made her own glass beads. “These beads had little worlds encased in glass and I was fascinated,” says Higgins.
She creates colors and designs called Black Magic, Tattoo and limited-edition and one-of-akind Mehndi (Indian) designs. Her mainstay has been creating innovative glass hearts whorled with color, silver leaf and designs that make them look like stones.
All of these creations will come with her to Asheville, which she visits every winter, usually driving from Toronto. “I feel so at home there,” she says. “I love the people I’ve met; I love the art. And driving through the Great Smoky Mountains on my way is in itself enough inspiration for me. I get giddy with excitement when I hit the city limits.”
The Grand Bohemian Gallery is located at 11 Boston Way in Biltmore Village. Learn more by calling 828.398.5555 or visiting bohemianhotelasheville.com.