“I continually seek inspiration, as I move through life, observing the beauty within natural surroundings, architectural forms and found objects.”
Connie Ulrich’s jewelry expresses her deep connection with the natural beauty of her Tennessee mountain farm and her childhood playground along the shores of Lake Michigan. Her work is organic in its evolution, unpretentious, and refined. The juxtaposition of diamonds and pebbles, sticks and stones is explored to create artistic and masterful pieces of jewelry.
Each piece is hand fabricated. A variety of materials are used from platinum,18k gold, sterling silver, diamonds, to rusted steel and pebbles. The work is textured using a rolling mill or hammers, and shaped with various other hand tools. Some pieces are then oxidized, satin finished to accent texture and create depth in the surfaces.
The passion and love of art metals began for Connie Ulrich in high school and has continued through her 35 year career. She continues to seek inspiration and innovation through the attendance of master workshops throughout the country. Ulrich has been an instructor at notable workshops throughout the Southeast since 2000.
Selected Exhibitions & Awards
Celebrate Our Own – Exhibition – Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL May 2 to July 26, 2015
Smithsonian Craft Show, Washington, DC, National Building Museum, 2012
Best in Tennessee Craft, Biennial Exhibit, Tennessee State Museum, 2012
Best of Show – Tennessee Arts and Crafts Show, Nashville, TN, Centennial Park, 2010
Best in Jewelry – Summerfest Art Show, Atlanta, GA, Virginia – Highlands, 2010
Aug 2013 By: Curtis Benzle
Monte Sano Art Festival
September 21, 2013
“I don’t really like to call myself a Jeweler”…..
That was an unexpected introduction from someone who, by any standard, creates some of the finest jewelry Alabama has to offer. “How is that”, I queried? “Too many jewelers simply buy manufactured blanks, pop a stone in and mark it up”, Connie Ulrich answered—visibly troubled by her necessary, but unavoidably critical explanation. Sitting in her expansive, Lowe Mill studio, all of a sudden my un-insightful question begins to seem somewhat awkward to me as well.
Truth be told, Connie Ulrich is not a jeweler—or at least not “just” a jeweler. She is, in every sense, an artist. Her creative purpose is not focused on jewelry so much as to be inspired by the world around her and then to use that inspiration as a catalyst to create exceptional and insightful art. Accordingly, Connie Ulrich’s Lowe Mill studio is superbly equipped with virtually every piece of metal working equipment required to empower her unfettered quest for sincere self-expression.
An observant visitor to Ulrich’s studio gains immediate insight into the depth of her creative pursuit the minute they encounter the reception table. An exquisite extension of her fertile mind, this half ton construction of raw timber and river rock carries the very same Ulrich respect and integration with nature that embodies the half ounce earrings and rings that fill her showcases.
Native to Wisconsin, Connie Ulrich is not exactly new to Huntsville. With an undergraduate degree in Visual Communications followed by a two year stint in electrical engineering, Connie took a break from academics to intern in the Denali National Park. The wonder and majesty of that environment drove her goal to contribute beauty to the world—a goal that has formed her career to date.
My next, seemingly simple, question; “where do you sell your work”, uncovered another unexpected and intriguing aspect to this complex career. Connie was one of the original founders of what became the Signature Gallery. Initially operated as the Connie Ulrich Gallery, she used this venue to not only sell her own work but to expose and educate Huntsville to quality artwork from around the country. A second gallery, further down Whitesburg Road, continued until the day Connie realized that she had managed to morph herself into more of a manager/gallery owner than artist. Recommitted to her passion, she closed up “shop” and returned to her jeweler’s bench full-time.
Connie’s current studio at Lowe Mill provides her with an opportunity to teach (she offers summer workshops and scheduled classes), a steady stream of Lowe Mill visitors, and access to her committed customer base. Many of her most loyal customers came to Connie initially seeking wedding bands that transcended the ordinary. Connie sites these wedding band collaborations as one of her most demanding, and rewarding, artistic challenges. Her goal, most simply stated, is to come to understand her customer’s personal sense of beauty and then to meld that with her own artistic sensibilities, style and historic perspectives to turn imagined beauty into a lifelong symbol of love. This is both a daunting challenge and an incredible creative opportunity.
Judging from Connie Ulrich’s wealth of admirers and loyal collectors, she doesn’t disappoint.