Things are made beautiful when they’re put through fire: Tara Hutchinson’s story is proof of that. Learn how Tara’s love for making jewelry helps her to cope with her traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and run a successful jewelry business.
Tara certainly didn’t set out to be a jewelry designer: she grew up in Anchorage Alaska playing army with her older brother. As it turned out, this prepared her for the real thing: Tara’s ten-year service as a military police officer in the Army.
On Valentine’s Day 2006, while on deployment to Baghdad, Iraq, Tara’s truck was hit by an improvised explosive device, causing the traumatic amputation of her right leg above the knee. The incredible blood loss caused Tara’s heart to stop for almost 20 minutes, resulting in a brain injury that manifested as a movement disorder. In the beginning, Tara’s motor skills were so compromised that she couldn’t hold a fork to feed herself. The loss of her independence was more traumatic than the physical injuries she suffered, inevitably causing severe depression to set in. During this time, Tara contemplated suicide more than once.
In the thick of it, a therapist suggested that Tara find a hobby that used her fine motor skills. She chose to try jewelry making. Throughout the multi-year process of recovery, her grit and tenacity kept her moving, and she learned everything possible about the craft while practicing every day. Creating jewelry became Tara’s glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, and it gave her purpose, and hope; principles she missed dearly.
She soon amassed a library of books, magazines and DVD’s on jewelry making techniques. Over time her style evolved into an eclectic mix of contemporary and edge jewelry with extraordinary attention to detail. She specializes in black silver and high-karat gold, gemstone setting, chasing and repousee. Tara shows her work through her website: www.tarahutchjewelry.com and at international and domestic wholesale shows.
Tara is incredibly grateful for any opportunity to tell her story. She has been featured on the CNN Morning Show, The Dr. Oz Show, Cosmopolitan, and Women’s World Magazine, among others. Click on the Video below to hear Tara tell her story featured on Fox Business.
Tara has won many awards for her work. In 2016 she received the Women’s Jewelry Association Veteran Grant, as well as placed in the top ten in the Halstead Grant for Design Excellence and Business Strategy. In 2017, she placed second in the Streetshares Veteran Small Business Award. In 2018, Tara was chosen to be in the Top Three Emerging Designers at the Centurion Jewelry Show.
Tara was medically retired from the Army in January 2010. Since her injury she has skied, sailed and completed two hand cycle marathons.
She has one dog and two cats and is currently the owner and chief creative talent of her jewelry design and manufacturing business – Tara Hutch Designs. Despite all of her injuries, Tara truly believes she is meant to be making jewelry. “I’ve found my calling in life,” says Hutchinson. “I really feel very strongly that what happened to me, happened for a reason and it’s so I can help women feel beautiful with my jewelry.”
Tara started using Jewelry Designer Manager in 2009. We are so honored to have her as a customer!