For Ohio-born woodworker Thomas Haapapuro, there’s just something about these North Carolina trees. They captivated him on weekend hikes when he was a landscape architect student at Ohio State, they beckoned him to put roots down in Charlotte, and they are now the medium and inspiration for the jewelry he creates in his Elizabeth studio.
Though Haapapuro has long been creating furniture and sculpture from the area’s reclaimed trees, his jewelry was more recently born out of a desire to eliminate waste. “I had these pieces left over from my larger sculptures and wanted to do something with them,” he says. Because the trees he uses are local, those who buy his jewelry are participating in their region’s story. “People can look at the jewelry as a tree, yet also something you can hold in your hand,” Haapapuro says. “It’s a connection to the place we live.”
Each piece in Haapapuro’s collection is hand-cut into an original design, ranging from floral motifs to intricate abstract designs. He uses no stains, instead showcasing natural striations and color variations of the wood. The result is a collection that is beautifully rustic, yet decidedly modern. His hairpieces, earrings, and necklaces for men and women each sell for around $30 and can be found at SilverFly Boutique.