Studio Session with Cheryl Senkfor

Marilyn HawkesOctober 30, 2020
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In 2003, Cheryl Senkfor suffered a brain hemorrhage and spent eight days immobilized in intensive care. Doctors said Senkfor, who was in her early 40s, likely wouldn’t survive. While on her deathbed, Senkfor says three angels visited her. “They told me I would survive and touch as many people as possible through my creativity.”

Before her health crisis, Senkfor was a fabric artist, knitting hats and purses. After beating the odds, she switched from fabric to making one-of-a-kind hand-knit jewelry using gold, silver, bronze, rose gold and copper wires. The intricate process, known as Viking knit, requires hyper-focused attention. To knit, Senkfor starts with five to seven wires and weaves them around a wooden dowel. When finished, she pulls the wires through a draw plate to tighten the weave. After the wires are tightened, she adds pearls, beads, Swarovski crystals and gemstones to create elegant sculptural necklaces, bracelets and earrings. “I started very simple with plain necklaces and then took it to another level,” she says.

Many of Senfkor’s designs come from dreams, but sometimes she’ll be inspired by seeing another piece of jewelry. A lot of her pieces are asymmetrical and have dimension because of the layers of knitted wire and added baubles.

For Senkfor, knitting jewelry sparks her creativity, but also serves as a stress buster. “It’s very repetitive, and people think it’s boring, but for me it’s soothing and relaxing,” she says. A self-professed “machine,” Senkfor can make up to four pieces a day.

Because angels inspire her work, Senkfor named her business Woven Angel. “The angels wanted me to create and work with my hands,” she says. “So I’ll work with my hands until I can’t do it anymore.” Grateful for her recovery, Senkfor donates 10 percent of her sales to the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona. Find her work at


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