Inspiration Board | Amy Hackerd

As a little girl, Amy Hackerd wanted a pony. Instead, her master-tinker grandfather gifted her with an anvil covered in a dusty saddle that he dubbed "Ole Licorice." At the time, Hackerd was heartbroken. Now she understands—"It was his way of forcing me to use my imagination,” she says. “And it also gave me some serious quality time just hanging in the woodshed with my grandpa, watching him goof off and make stuff.”

Years later, Hackerd still tries to remind herself that tinkering is the important part of creating as she crafts her jewelry line, Ole Licorice Designs, named for that very anvil. Based in Austin for the last six years, Hackerd creates pieces that range from simple, elegant things she’d love to wear herself to more emotional, dramatic creations that require a slightly different kind of perception. “Trying to tap into that primal thing is a little bit more challenging,” she says. “It’s about going to a place we’re not supposed to go, and creating something that I might never wear as a person but that somebody is going to find profound meaning in."

A trained opera singer, Hackerd never considered jewelry when she was younger because she was “destined for Broadway,” she says with a laugh. She’s still a singer, but notes that the two art forms couldn’t be more different. “As a singer, I’m an actress,” she says. “I’m allowed to be other people, to be an extrovert and to be lost in a whole other world.” And with jewelry? “I’m much more of an introvert. I get to be quiet within myself.” For more information, see Amy will be selling her jewelry at the East Austin Studio Tour with Eye Like Design on Cherico Street.


Silk cords — I love color. I'm addicted to the colors that silk cord provides in a necklace. It's a pop of vibrancy.

Vintage bottles — In the beginning, I couldn’t afford mandrels. I would walk around the house and find stuff to wrap metal around. I still use these all the time for shaping.

Geode — I’m a huge fan of gems and minerals. This geode my son cracked, and I use it for display. Sometimes I just stare at it when I draw a blank, and usually an idea will come.

My kids’ artwork — I’m constantly inspired by what my children draw. The shapes and color schemes used. There is no filter or fear with them.

Tackle box — The ultimate in organizing tools, metals, and cabochons for transport.

A picture of my grandparents — American Gothic style. They are watching over me.

Anvil — The original “Ole Licorice” has retired and is poolside in Florida with my uncle. I have a most worthy substitute that was a gift from Jack Sanders, of Design Build Adventure.

My needle file set — It’s a great sound, hearing metal being scraped away.

Books — My Ed Wiener book, because I love the Modernist era. The shapes and ideas were “outside the box” during this time. My Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre book The Ruins of Detroit. I was born and raised in the Detroit area. I find great beauty and inspiration in that city. I look at that city like a grandparent. It’s run-down, crippled, suffering, and in pain, but it paved the way for all Americans. Detroit deserves respect. As Confucius said, “Everything has beauty, not everyone sees it.”

Ball-peen hammer — I get great satisfaction out of hammering stuff. It’s a controlled release and can change the whole look of a piece.


Photography by Bill Sallans

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