Classy handcrafted jewelry
First question Lisa, when your jewelry is seen at first time, especially the bezelled gemstones, one may think you are a “classic style” silversmith, and so did I. I really had to google about “metal clay”, to find out what it is! Tell us – how did you get introduced to this material?
I saw it demonstrated at a gem show once and was very curious, so I took a class to find out if it was something that I could like getting in to. I loved it, it is far more than I ever expected.
It really looks like silversmithed, did you have to buy a special oven to harden your projects? And do they need to get painted afterwards? Or does the material just need to be polished?
You need a kiln to fire the metal. It is fine silver, not clay at all, so after it’s fired, you treat it just like any other metal. I like to oxidize my work and then hand buff. My first book was all about bezel setting in metal clay.
Lisa, where or how did you learn to work with it? Was it just that one class you took?
I took several classes, certification workshops and had my work juried to pass the test of quality. I am a certified Senior Teaching Instructor.
You use beautyful gemstones in your jewelry making, what’s your criteria in chosing your gemstones?
The stones need to inspire me in some way. I love to design in a way that is harmonious with the stone, taking my cues from elements within the stone itself. This way there is unity in the design of the setting. I also teach how to think like a designer, then how to create what you have designed.
You are also doing wonderful creations with leather, did you take classes to learn how to process and tool it?
Leather is mostly by trial and error – lots of error, haha, but it’s so enjoyable I don’t mind it at all. I love experimenting and getting different effects.
I read books about how to tool leather and then just dive in and try.
Lisa, we’ve seen your beautyful two sheltie dogs which seem to be with you all the time. Have you always owned animals? What was your reason to chose this breed?
I have had at least one dog since my kids were young. Boys and dogs seem to go together well. But now that my boys are grown, I love my Shelties. They are my constant companions. I chose this breed because they are so smart and beautyful. They are high maintenance though…lots of brushing!
Oh yes, I’ve seen the pics with lots of wool! Lisa, when did you first discover your talent and need for teaching classes in wirework and metal clay jewellry?
I don’t know if I would say it is a need for teaching, but it is a great way to give back, since I feel I have received so much as a blessing in the way of “talent”.
It was 8 years ago when I was first starting to teach wire work. I loved watching people light up when they learned that they could do a lot more than they ever thought.
Did you just go out there and say “hey, here I am, I wanna teach you my knowledge” ?
No, I was approached by an International Magazine who wanted to put my work on their cover. As soon as I was in this magazine, bead stores from this area called me to come to teach classes. It grew from there. I taught and wrote books and the ball just keeps on rolling, but I love it!
Where does your journey as an artist lead to Lisa, what are your skills for your future journey as an artist?
Good question. I plan on finishing my third book, to be published this spring. I have ideas for a fourth and fifth book brewing in my head.I will just keep teaching as long as people like me and my work. It is very rewarding to see people succeed. I will also continue to keep my skills up (everyone has to keep practicing), so I’ll keep making things.
Lisa, writing books, teaching classes – do you still get enough time to create your art?
Yes, I will always continue making my art. I feel like I will shrivel up and die if I don’t create and be creative with others.
Do you have any helpful hints for people who want to start this craft?
Yes! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, they are the best teachers. Don’t give up and certainly don’t listen to anyone who says you are not good enough! Prove them wrong, get determined and keep on learning, it’s a wonderful journey, personal and meaningful. And it only gets better when you share it!
Thank you so much for sharing all this information with us and for your precious time. All the best for the future.
Thank you, it was a pleasure. Gina Adam