Inspired by natural materials
By Pat Sunderland
Published Wednesday, February 22, 2017 10:44 am
Sylvia Karner is a longtime hairstylist who taps into her creative side by making jewelry and refinishing antique furniture.
Sylvia Karner has been cutting, coloring and styling hair in Delta since the mid 1970s -- nearly as long as she's been making jewelry. While beadwork has become increasingly popular in recent years, it's a hobby that has fascinated Sylvia for some time.
She recalls the first time she glimpsed the creative possibilities, when a girlfriend arranged a meeting with two African acquaintances from Denver. They pulled their van in front of Sylvia's shop, then located at 117 Meeker, and opened the doors to reveal textiles, African trade beads, baskets and an intriguing variety of natural stones. "It was like a candy shop for me," Sylvia said.
Her eyes were immediately drawn to the coral, carnelian and turquoise, an affinity Sylvia relates to her Native American heritage. As a little girl, Sylvia says, she looked so much like a little Indian girl her sister nicknamed her Shoné. Sylvia markets her jewelry under that nickname -- Shoné's Creations.
She is largely self-taught, but did take a course from Irene Morris of Designs of the IAM in Cedaredge. That course fine-tuned the jewelry-making process for Sylvia, resulting in more professional looking earrings, bracelets and necklaces.
Working with jewelry is a welcome change of pace from hairstyling, and an enjoyable way to spend her evenings, Sylvia says. Jewelry making keeps her mind busy and provides a creative outlet.
She sells her finished products at festivals and craft fairs, as well as her shop at 211 Palmer Street in Delta. Her clients appreciate the opportunity to pick up last-minute gifts.
Sylvia also supports HopeWest and the Delta County Memorial Hospital Foundation by donating silent auction items for the nonprofits' fundraising galas.
Just don't look for a website or a Facebook page. Only by handling her jewelry can you appreciate the unique colors, textures and patterns that go into each piece.
Sylvia applies her talents to repairs, as well. Recently she took a beaded necklace apart and rearranged the beads to create a necklace better suited to the owner's stature. She wound up with a few leftover beads that she put together to make a matching bracelet.
Recently, Sylvia began making copper bracelets. "A client of mine brought me some copper wire and asked if I could make her husband a copper bracelet to alleviate his arthritis." Sylvia had never worked with copper, but she agreed to give it a shot.
With the help of a friend, she twists three to five strands of copper wire, then pounds, flattens and forms it using an anvil and a hammer. The length of copper is sized and polished to fit either a man or a woman. The process frequently produces scraps and to avoid wasting the precious metal, Sylvia makes rings.
She wears one of her copper bracelets on a wrist she broke several years ago. "I can honestly say I haven't had any arthritic pain in that wrist, even in the winter," she says.
While not everyone agrees that wearing copper has healing benefits, there's no doubt its distinctive color lends itself to striking rings and bracelets.
The reddish brown color fits Sylvia's preferred palette of earth tones. Her style leans more toward African and Native American influences, but she says that's what's so neat about working with beads and stones.
"Everybody has their own unique talent and style," she says. "It's all about what appeals to you."
In addition to making jewelry, Sylvia has worked with leather and fabric. She also loves refinishing old furniture. Her home is filled with antiques she restored. She also reupholstered the dining room chairs. One of her biggest restoration projects, however, was her salon on Palmer Street.
She bought the building in 1995 and immediately gutted the interior. The only remnants of the home that originally occupied that site are the four walls and the oak floors. Architectural details and decorative accents inside and out lend a southwestern flair to the shop and provide the perfect backdrop for Shoné's Creations.