Artist Laurie Leonard’s jewelry collection features delightful miniature paintings. Visit her website to see more of her nature-inspired art.
After twenty plus years of selling my watercolors at art fairs around Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Maryland and Virginia, I decided to try my hand at jewelry making in 2008. It was a very easy decision for a number of reasons. First, I had been a lifelong avid collector of art deco and Victorian jewelry and second, my paintings were not selling as well as they had been.
I began to experiment with miniature reproductions of some of my existing paintings (the winter tree, flowers, etc) “set” in a bezel setting that I purchased and covered with resin.
After introducing my jewelry and getting positive feedback, I began to focus on painting the jewelry (faces, bugs, birds) and eventually phased out the framed work.
I started sculpting my settings with a two-part epoxy clay that dries hard enough to withstand the casting process. With much trial and error and guidance from the casting company I use in Rhode Island, I began using my own settings exclusively.
I am inspired by nature, such as the flowers and weeds in my yard and woods. I use leaves to make a texture plate to press the design into the clay for the bangle bracelet and the backs of some of the pendants. I also paint them and use the image in the bezel.
All of the charms that I use in my jewelry are tiny sculptures that I create and cast in pewter. Some of them start with a mold of objects that I have collected or just parts of that object.
This “reinvention” of my art has been a very rewarding experience. Being completely self taught, the creative process for me is playing with an idea and learning from my mistakes. This can be very satisfying and very frustrating at the same time.
My newest work includes a dandelion (a weed) that children pick and blow the seeds into the wind as they make a wish. This is such a sweet sentiment and we should never stop wishing. Even a lowly weed can be made into something that will be treasured by somebody.
Although the sculpting and casting is getting the results that I want, I would like to take some metal working classes to expand my abilities. The goal would be to make some sterling silver one-of-a-kind pieces.
Artist Laurie Leonard invites you to follow her on Facebook.