“A Woman of Heart and Mind” by Laura Ball, Vail Daily, August 3, 2005:
The Studio “(an) airy room, somewhat cluttered upon first sight, exudes rhythm, and everything in the creative laboratory is deliberate…pieces of turquoise, coral, tourmaline and freshwater pearls line the desk’s surface like the inside of a buried treasure trunk.
Clippings from fashion magazines are tacked to the walls… Crystals meant to clear the stones of any negative sacrament hang on strings in the window. Below tiny angel figurines sit on the windowsill, protecting her. All that she surrounds herself with prepares the artist to delve into her other world, where she creates…The 50-something reminiscent of an angel herself holds a rare kindness in her smile, but the passion behind her large blue eyes runs deep. She speaks carefully yet excitedly in a soothing tone about her love affair with jewelry-making. “I truly believe that I have been given a gift and I need to share that,” Backhus says, who claims her real talent “is finding and putting the stones and focal pieces together.”
…It hasn’t come without its challenges. A designer of wearable art, she tries to stay mindful of her own creative endeavors rather than what might sell. “What I’m really trying to do now is give myself permission to create as I feel, not what people are going to buy.” …”I really try to separate myself and keep my ego out of it,” she said.
…There have been times when Backhus is drawn to stones, but knows she must let them go. “I told myself I really have to practice non-attachment,” she admits. “I’ve really been drawn to pearls this year, but my rubies are sort of my signature. They make me feel really good.”
Rubies are believed to reflect passion, love and life, qualities all too familiar to Backhus. Pearls are said to provide a mirror in which to see ourselves, as well as insight into how we appear to others. For Backhus, all stones do this.
Vail Daily Article, July, 2013
“One of the most impressive things about Tess Backhus is her concept of small strong collections. Balanced between smaller minimalist pieces and large blasts of color and form, Tess’ designs stand up to those of any jewelry designer in the country.” Susan Bristol, Co-Owner, Asian Village, Riverwalk, Edwards, CO
“She is our most popular artist. She started quietly…now she devotes all her time to jewelry design and construction – and it shows. Her meticulous detailing and imaginative use of semi-precious stones and other natural materials make for necklaces, bracelets and earrings that never go out of style.” UnChu Ring, Co-Owner, Asian Village, Riverwalk, Edwards, CO