WHILE YOU MAY have heard of empty nest syndrome, you may be less familiar with empty barn syndrome. But it was just this condition that led Elizabeth Kerr from being a horse boarder to being an artist.
See when Kerr and her husband moved to a fixer upper horse farm in Deerfield seven years ago, she had put her jewelry making hobby on the back burner. But as her horses aged and passed on, she realized she didn’t want to board horses forever. She looked around her barn and had a new idea.
“The barn was kind of empty; it just had my pony and my horse,” Kerr, 39, said. “And so I thought, ‘I’m going to take out the horseshoe nail jewelry again and start fooling around with that.’ I put them up on Etsy, and that Christmas season it just blew up.”
She was referring to a set of pieces she made after discovering she could bend horseshoe nails, and ultimately solder them, together into a variety of lovely, unique designs. After the success she saw that first Christmas two years ago, she started The Bent Nail, an online jewelry boutique featuring Kerr’s handmade designs.
Among her more popular holiday items are her bent nail snowflake ornaments.
“I actually have had people start to collect them,” she said. “They all look a little bit different.”
In fact, she debuted a new design this November, the fourth in the collection.
As for her jewelry, Kerr said by far her most popular items are the bent nail hearts she fashions into earrings and necklaces.
All of her items, though, seem to have more than a niche appeal.
“The ornaments actually even appeal to non-horse people. And I actually sell, even my jewelry, to non-horse people because they just love the novelty of it. And it’s different and every part of it is handcrafted. I bend each nail myself and I do the soldering — even down to my packaging.”
Kerr said her items range in price from $14 to $35 or $40, with full nail necklaces running in the $50 range. For more information, visit www.thebentnail603.com.