(SAN ANTONIO, Tex.) – Jewelry designer Tara Hutchinson is introducing the In Memoriam Collection: a project to honor the fallen female warriors who gave the ultimate sacrifice as a result of post 9/11 conflict. An Iraq veteran and wounded warrior, Hutchinson wants to give back to the mourning families of women military members who gave their lives for our freedoms by creating awareness through jewelry that tells their stories.
Hutchinson notes more than 160 female military members had been killed in post 9/11 conflict, as of 2015. “That’s 160 moms, daughters, sisters, and wives who will never come home to their families,” she says. “That’s 160 empty seats at the dinner table, and countless memories and moments that stopped being made the moments their loved ones stopped living. These jarring statistics inspired me to create something that will ensure these women will never be forgotten, and their sacrifices were not made in vain.”
Hutchinson plans to create a 10-piece jewelry collection, reaching out to families through the organizations Fallen Female Warriors and Women Killed in Action from Post 9/11 Combat. To date, she has communicated with the families of:
- Emily Perez, Fort Hood, Texas, killed Sept. 12, 2006 near Najaf, Iraq by a makeshift bomb that exploded near her Humvee during combat operations. She was 23 years old.
- Amy Renee Bullock Sinkler, Chadbourn, North Carolina, killed Jan. 20, 2011 in Baghlan province, Afghanistan of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked her unit with a rocket-propelled grenade. She was 23 years old.
- Nichole Marie Frye, Lena, Wisconsin, killed Feb. 16, 2004 in Baqubah, Iraq when an improvised explosive device struck her convoy. She was 20 years old.
“Using information like their birthstones and favorite colors, even nicknames, each of the 10 women will have a beautiful piece of fine jewelry crafted to represent their lives and lasting memory,” describes Hutchinson of the collection. “The finished pieces will be donated to their mourning families to honor the ultimate sacrifice every woman and their family members made. I want each piece to be distinctive to the extent it seems as if it was created for her by her.”
Hutchinson is a vetted designer working with Hatchfund, a crowd-funding website for non-profit endeavors. Her goal is $12,000, which would fund the raw materials and costs for the labor and expenses related to complete and promote the collection. Her hope is to tour the pieces to host jewelers and galleries, culminating in an exhibit at San Antonio’s Witte Museum for Veteran’s Day 2017. She wants this collection to shine a light on the sacrifices our military members and their families make for our country. She has until Dec. 2 to raise at least $8,000 for the project to be funded.
For Hutchinson this is her passion project. On Valentine’s Day 2006 in Baghdad, Hutchinson, a Military Police Officer in the Army for nearly seven years, came upon an improvised explosive device that blew up under her Humvee. She nearly died. She lost her right leg, suffered from a movement disorder, traumatic brain injury, third degree burns, back injuries, and PTSD. It was through beading for occupational therapy that she was exposed to jewelry making.
Hutchinson’s grit and tenacity kept her moving and within a year, her movement disorder was almost undetectable. In the process, she discovered a career path that fills her soul as an artist and gives back to people through jewelry with a feel-good-about-yourself message. She crafts modern, one-of-a-kind designs using gold and silver and color gemstones like opal, apatite, chrysoprase, morganite, and aquamarine. She says that like life, most of her jewelry is not perfectly symmetrical or smooth.
To learn more about the In Memoriam Collection and how to donate visit www.hatchfund.org/project/wounded_warrior_has_dream_to_create_fine_jewelry_that_honors_women_warriors_kia. For more information about Tara Hutchinson and her jewelry line visit www.tarahutchjewelry.com, or contact the artist by calling 210-843-5996 or e-mail email@example.com.