Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Featured Arkansas Artist: Connie O'Mara

The Arkansas Studies Institute houses four art galleries, including a retail gallery, featuring the work of Arkansas artists and art related to the state. This post is part of a bi-weekly series featuring ASI gallery artists.

Connie O'Mara


Connie O’Mara was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1957. After the sudden death of her father in 1962, her family moved to northwest Arkansas. She graduated from Springdale High School in 1975. She attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and received a BSE in art education in 1979.

Her jewelry career began in 1985 when she began working as a bench jeweler at the Northwest Arkansas Mall. She was introduced to natural stones (turquoise, lapis, malachite, rutilated quartz, jaspers, etc.) while employed by Olivia Sordo in 1990. While working for Olivia, she became well acquainted with silver and silver repair. After ten years in the retail jewelry business, she decided it was time to leave and concentrate on her own art. With the support of her husband, Ralph, she set up her home studio. Her goal was to create her own line of one-of-a-kind silver jewelry.

In 2000, she entered her jewelry in the Fayetteville Fine Arts Festival and was accepted. This was the first exposure of her own designs. Due to that exposure, she was able to have her work shown at Enigma Gallery in Fayetteville. In 2001, she received the People’s Choice Award at the Fayetteville Fine Arts Festival and was asked to show her work at Zarks Gallery in Eureka Springs. More of her jewelry can be seen at the Arkansas Studies Institute Retail Gallery in Little Rock. Bartholomew Jewelers in Fayetteville also sells her line of jewelry.

She began participating in the Fayetteville Arts Festival in 2000. At the 2008 show, she was runner-up in 3D Design. Also in 2008, she received first place in 3D Design at the Eureka Springs Arts Festival. In May 2009, she was one of the featured artists at Zarks Gallery during the 2009 May Festival of the Arts.

Artist Statement

“That’s different” seems to be the first statement people make when they see my jewelry. I consider that a compliment. My designs are a combination of love for the stones, with their unique differences, and my desire to let them shine. I draw upon my appreciation for all things in nature, for where else can you find such untouched beauty?

Be it jasper, malachite, lapis, agates, or stones I find along creek beds, I take into consideration each stone before putting my designs into metal. I keep the designs simple so as not to take anything away from the individual beauty of the stones.

It all starts with a simple curve.

Click here to see more work by Connie O'Mara.


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