Valerie Ostenak

Surfers Dream in Blue

Medium/Materials: Hot forged steel, flourite

Dimensions: 7 x 6 x 1 inches

Year: 2015

Artist Statement: 

Feel the passion . . . Live the passion. TM

So many live in various levels of fear about any and everything in life, basing their decisions and actions on it, often unconsciously. I have learned that passionate action overcomes those fears. Passion to stand in that place of the unknown, facing the infinite possibilities head-on. It is this passion to dissipate fear that defines my art work. 

In wearing my jewelry, women are declaring that they have empowered themselves to follow their own passions. In doing so, they inspire others to live passionate lives: by presenting their hearts to the world and standing in graceful self-confidence that they are infinitely remarkable and valuable.

Though metal seems to be a hard and inert material, Valerie finds the flow within it. The steel she works must be yellow hot to be shaped and formed. In that moment of perfect yellow, the steel becomes soft and sensuous. Sterling silver jewelry is worked cold. Each hammer blow creates the texture and flowing movement in the piece. Valerie leaves the marks from the hammer blows— like the facets on a diamond, they sparkle bringing light and life to the silver.

Movement and flow are the inspiration in her designs—vines and tendrils curling around each other, water in a stream bubbling over pebbles and stones. Like the tendrils and water that flow, neckpieces are formed to flow over a woman’s shoulders, resting in perfect harmony on the curves of her body. 

Artist Biography:

Valerie Ostenak studied jewelry, metalsmithing, and painting at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff AZ, and continued at California State University Long Beach, CA. She has worked with interior designers, architects, and artist-blacksmiths designing and creating sculpture, lighting, interior furnishings, and a decorative railing at the Grand Canyon.

Ostenak is the recipient of the Halstead Jewelry Design and Business Development Grant, was presented with the Centurion Emerging Designer Award: one of six from an international field, and was interviewed by National Geographic for their online Education series. She has presented her art on the runways of Phoenix Fashion Week and LA Style Fashion Week. Her work is represented in galleries nationally and internationally. In November 2016, she will be showing jewelry with the Maria Elena Kravetz Gallery from Argentina at SOFA Chicago. Invited for the third consecutive year to be an exhibitor at the Artistar Jewels Art Jewelry Exhibition, her work will be presented in Milan, Italy in February. 

Ostenak’s work has been published in numerous books, magazines, and blogs. Selected titles include: Art Jewelry Today, Art Jewelry Today 2, Trend and Colours CIJ International, Watch & Jewelry Review, Showcase 500 art necklaces,, British Vogue, British Harper’s Bazaar, and Contemporary Art of the Southwest.

Ostenak has also been an invited lecturer at the Art institute of Phoenix, demonstrator and lecturer at Northern Arizona Arizona University and the Arizona State University metals departments, and lecturer demonstrator at the Halstead jewelry school for employees.

See more from this artist on their SNAG Maker Profile Page.