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An Interview with Heyltje Rose

Jewelry designer, leather smith, vintage lover and soon to be hoarder.

By Mistress Chris and Heyltje Rose

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Interview with Heyltje Rose: 
1. Tell us about you and where you are from:

I grew up in a magical place in upstate NY called Hector. It’s out in the sticks alongside the Finger Lakes with gorges, wineries, and rednecks.

2. How did you get the name ‘Heyltje’?

Heyltje is a Dutch name meaning ‘of the heavens’. It was passed down from my grandmother, who was an astonishing woman. She spoke seven languages, had nine children, joined the Peace Corps in her 60s and lived to be over 100. 

3. How did you first get interested in working with leather?

When I saw Indian Larry’s bikes and those incredible seats, I wanted to learn how to tool. Paul Cox was a huge inspiration. I bought some equipment and old manuals from the '70s and messed around with them. I was hooked & have been doing it now for 12 years.

4. Do you have one piece you would call your favorite?

I’d probably say my favorite piece is the ‘Blue Barrel’. It was the first handbag I made and gets the most reactions from people. It is encrusted with stainless hardware. Every stud is in place with Loctite. It’s built to last a lifetime, so it’s burly and quite heavy. Fashion over function.

5. What do you love most about creating your works of art?

I love the solitude of being in my shop and not realizing the hours are passing, when I am truly in the zone. I can be so charged about seeing the
finished product, that I don’t care about the labor and time involved. I fucking love my job.

6. What do you like to do with your free time?

My free time is spent scavenging for goodies to repurpose, doing Pilates or yoga, hanging with my dog Turkey, and smooching my boyfriend Dumptruck!
7. What is your favorite ride - car or motorcycle?

My favorite ride is by far the Golden Clam, a classic wagon I acquired about 6 months ago. She’s a ’71 Buick Estate Wagon which is the longest wagon Buick ever built measuring 18.9 feet. She is gold with a Holley fuel injection converted 455ci GM power plant. She is known for her ‘clam shell’ tailgate that electronically recesses into the car as the back windshield disappears into the roof. I wanted a vintage wagon since I was a little girl attending car shows with my Dad. She is the one!

8. Do you have plans for the future that you can share with us?

I am currently working on a collaboration with one of the most celebrated motorcycle racers and builders in the industry. I am given quite a bit of free reign to do what I wish, which is how I prefer to work. That’s all I can say for now but keep your eyes peeled for the results as it is moving along quickly.
9. Do you have any words of inspiration to encourage other women to live
their dream?

I would ignore those who belittle your goals and aspirations. Many times people are too afraid to go after theirs and are threatened by the way you live your life, exactly as you wish. If you’re doing what you love your passion will lead you to success. My Mom always said, ‘You spend 90% of your life working. It had better be something that you enjoy.’
Heyltje Rose LLC is the brand owned and operated by Heyltje Rose Bond,  jewelry designer, leather smith, vintage lover and soon to be hoarder. The brand is a combination of little pieces of Heyltje soul mixed with a very strong guiding principle and work ethic.
At Heyltje Rose we have two methodologies: the one-off pieces and the "collections." Some found objects beg to be incorporated as an accessory - We can't deny them - We embellish them, offer them a pedestal on which to shine. Then again, some ideas can't be refused, either. This is when a concept is translated into leather, metal, or carved wax (that will end up being cast) and can be replicated. Replicated in the US of A I might add.
American Made
We believe that even though creating can be a slow and sometimes complicated process - we are the ones who do it right. All the objects we incorporate or that influence our pieces have a history; it's our purpose to respect that history! Over the years, we have found that our finished work resonates with the past coupled with our own blood, sweat, joy and fears. We do not attempt to gloss this over, as it is what makes us who we are.
Almost everything is done in house from R&D to fabrication - and if we can't do it - we'll ask cool people to help us! Yep - that's exactly how it's done! A lot of different materials are used including leather, metal, bones, fabric, gemstones and lucite. The different lines include jewelry, cuffs, belts, handbags, wallets, necklaces, rings, and sometimes even motorcycle accessories. Heyltje tends to make things with a touch of humor, sometimes dark, sometimes endearing but also strong and unapologetic.
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