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I am what Nantucketers call a Washashore. That’s a term used by natives to describe those of us who live on the island but were not born here. I was born in California but began summering on Nantucket back in the early 70s. From the moment that I first rounded Brant Point Light something inside me clicked and I knew that I was home.

Heather Unruh, Nantucket Coppersmith, holding a hammer over copper in her studio

The Artist
Present Passion

As a Nantucket-based artist, I love to create original copper designs that reflect what makes Nantucket unforgettable. From the shape of our beautiful island to the treasures found on her sandy shores and in her surrounding waters, I find myself constantly wandering in awe and excited to express what I have just seen.
My artwork has been a source of healing. It is an immersive experience that carried me through some challenging times following my career change, divorce and personal losses. It is also a deep connection to my past. The daughter of an artist Mother and a woodworking Father, my creative path began a few years after his death when I was cleaning out his workshop. I discovered the patterns that Mom had drawn for Dad to create his wooden whales and fish. I felt a calling to carry on what they had started but in a new medium. I chose copper. I love copper for its unique patination and physical properties that allow me to manipulate pieces into multidimensional works of art. Copper becomes my canvas, as I hammer in characteristic details and then layer on oxidizing agents which give each piece an original, authentic patina. It is a balance of art and science, and I find it very satisfying to express with both form and finish. My hope is that my copper pieces, which can be adorned either inside of homes or out, will forever spark happy memories of your travels 30 miles out to sea.

The Journalist
Previous Career

Heather Unruh is a four time EMMY award winning Journalist with 27 years of broadcasting experience.

Some of her accomplishments include multiple Edward R. Murrow Awards, the American Cancer Society's Sword of Hope Award, the Clarion Award from Women in Communications, and the top national recognition from the American Women in Radio and Television, the "Grand Gracie," for excellence in reporting.  In her 15 years with WCVB she anchored breaking news coverage for nearly every major event from the Boston Marathon Bombing and Watertown Capture, to the conviction of Boston Mobster James Whitey Bulger, the Papal Conclave in Rome and every Boston sports championship since 2001. Prior to Boston, the DePauw University graduate spent 6 years as the early evening anchor and medical reporter at KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City. She also worked at WVTM-TV in Birmingham, Alabama and WBNG-TV in Binghamton, NY. 

Heather Unruh, former journalist, on a ferry looking out to the ocean
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