Eilisain aka Lisette in Gaelic

Welcome to my blog, where I document my process in making jewelry, muse on the influence of art and the joy of making beautiful objects.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Phillip Crangi for Vera Wang

Robert Lee Morris for Donna Karan
Christian Lacroix per Style.com

Accessorize, Accessorize.

The fashion industry and jewelry have been going through beautiful relationship as of late. It’s all over the fashion mags, that big, chunky and statement jewelry is the way to amp up an outfit. I just hope that this current relationship lasts longer than the trysts fashion has with all the other trends. In general, jewelry and the craft is experiencing a revolution of sorts. Collectible and significant jewelry must no longer be made of precious materials but more should be made with innovation of materials and daring conceptuality.

The big players in the fashion industry have taken notice and enlisted well known jewelers to collaborate with them.

When I flip through fashion magazines and read about which jewelers are collaborating with fashion designers I find myself wanting to be there, be in that world but at the same time I hesitate to think of the massive competition but of course, the competition is there no matter which direction I go in.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

sunday funday

I'm still working on this bowl1 year after taking my first metalforming class; I only work on it at the shop with the right hammers and tools they have. And as I said in my previous post...where does the time go? Usually the guys and I will do a 'Sunday Funday' when we can squeeze in some extra hours and play, make martini glasses (okay, I'm not there yet but Lawrence made one) or fold form copper.
Today I inched much closer to finishing it. I planished the bottom of the bowl and began filing the sides. My plan is to pierce a lovely swirl/feather design along the sides. File it up some more and polish it reeeal nice. I'm looking forward to adding it to my collection! Pin It

Saturday, June 27, 2009

where does the time go?

one of my favorite Nina Simone songs but so appropriate for now....I never have any time to hang out with my friends. I try to make time, make plans but it is never there. This weekend I worked at our shop's open house, 'jewelry party', needless to say, not many people showed up, other than supportive friends. So, here I am, midnight on a Saturday....blogging oh and watching the Fall...AMAZING cinematography. Lee Pace is easy on the eyes...I'll be dreaming of him this evening.

For now, I will post one of my new favorite artists.
Stepanie Tomczak. She's abstract but blends a cast-off/found object jewelry medium.
And Appart, new and very cool contemporary artists website, Julia Turner is my current favorite.
She uses wood and paints it, adding gold, silver and enamel. This reminds me of a spider web. Whenever I find new jewelers online...it challenges me to look at jewelry in a different angle, to use new materials and functions. Jewelry doesn't HAVE to be made of only silver or gold. But really, anything. I recall the days of when I made fimo barrettes and friendly plastic earrings. I was always crafty but it wasn't until several years ago that it dawned on me that jewelry has ALWAYS been a part of my life.
Julia Turner

Eily O'Connell is also super talented. She casts her pieces from found objects such as twigs and webs.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

artist statement...style?

Throughout the course of this past year, mainly during my enamels class, I’ve begun to ask myself, what is my style? Or as many say in the contemporary jewelry field say, your ‘language’. I think I’m getting there; in developing the idea and message behind what I create. This blog is certainly helping me formulate my style, as I analyze and contemplate what I’m making and challenging the wearer to do the same.

With my post about influence, it prompted me to think how universal myths about regeneration, shape shifting and transformation are representative of the many experiences we go through everyday especially in relationships. ‘The Fire’ represents a transformative part of life. In Pagan beliefs, the cauldron is an event (like near death or an accident or simply a revelation) that changes you; into the cauldron you go and come out inspired and renewed.

The word cauldron is a figurative word, however such a word conjures more of an understanding of what it really is. I pulled out one of my John and Caitlin Matthews' books (they are experts on Celtic mythology) and found this quote

'The Gundestrup Cauldron, a vast silver vessel discovered in Denmark and dated to the 4th of 3rd centurcy BCE depicts a queue of warriors waiting to be deposited into a deep cauldron in an initatory or sacrificial way...As the cauldron was the primary giver of bodily nourishment, it is hardly surprising that it was also a symbol of inspiration, knowledge, wisdom and rebirth.' They go on to say the following 'In our time, where direct sources of inspiration are mocked and marginalized, such a fundamental trust seems misplaced. Yet all artists learn to trust the imagination as the seed-bed of inspiration training it to receive the eternal truth and the deep knowledge of the otherworld.'

So relevant to how important it is to support artists and nurturing them. for if we did not have artists, stories and history would never be carried on, to provide us context and lessons.

I could go on and on about the Celts and their belief system but the point of this post is that it has led me toealize my beliefs and desires to translate myths and stories are surfacing. The question is, how to do I translate them? How do I put my own stamp and recognizable style on my jewelry, while also making it wearable. That is yet to be developed!

Here are some sketches and ideas of what I'm thinking of doing...

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Monday, June 22, 2009

flex shaft

Tonight I finished setting my fabulous new stone ring and used my flex shaft for the first time! It was def exciting. I'm already shopping on Rio Grande for new tools and toys for my bench...not good for my credit card. But it's so much fun to sit down at my own bench and not have to transfer tools as much as I used to, I pretty much go to the studio in Old Town to either use the torch or do heavy duty metalsmithing at the shop. I love the feeling of working at home on my jewelry, it has been somewhat of an investment but a very good investment and not as much of a financial burden as I thought.
I've found a renewed sense of creativity in working on setting the stones I've collected and using new methods...now if I could only find more time! Pin It

Sunday, June 21, 2009

productive day

I had a good, successful day at the studio. As evidenced by the ring to the left. Everything seemed to work so smoothly today, I didn't have to solder anything twice, the bezel fit perfectly. I haven't had a day like this in a long time. I've been collecting cabochons for awhile now and have just begun to put them to good use. Now I have a big ass ring to sport on my lovely hand, makes me a happy girl.
However, even completing a successful project doesn't come with out it's lessons. I could've mixed up the back of the ring and piereced a pretty design or elevated the cab. I'm not completely done with the ring, so I'm thinking of giving the bezel some texture with my Fretz hammer...but I have to be careful with the stone, it's soft. All in all, I'm quite happy with myself! Pin It

Friday, June 19, 2009

summer show - Studio 4903

One of my favorite studios/galleries is having a summer show this weekend, and I plan on attending tonight. I always enjoy visiting the jewelry galleries in the area to see what contemporary jewelers are creating, to network and gain some insight.

I met Analya Cespedes 2 years ago when I was working as an assistant for Biba Schutz (an incredible artist) and Analya was working for Petra Class (another amazing artist), our booths were across from each other and as most of these shows go, artists will wander to other booths and catch up. Analya and the other jewelers at 4903 are all wonderful people and their work is very cool. So if you live in the DC metro area check it out tonight or Saturday, June 20th 12-7pm.

Studio 4903
4903 Wisconsin Ave., 2nd Fl.
WDC 20016

Jewelerswerk is another great gallery that has international as well as stateside artists.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009


I listen to music pretty much every day…I can’t imagine a day without it. I wake up to the local jazz station when my alarm radio goes off. I download new music almost daily. I listen to Pandora at work and play my IPOD as I walk to the metro and on the metro…there are some days though that I take a break from the IPOD…it’s nice to listen to random conversations.

Anywho, music is ALWAYS playing when I’m making jewelry or prepping. 95% of the time it’s jazz music, I can’t have too much craziness going on while I’m trying to concentrate. When I was in college the only jazz I listened to was Billie Holiday, I was obsessed with her and listened to the cd I checked out from the library nonstop. Then about 2 years ago I dated someone that had great musical taste and he made me several cd’s of jazz (Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins along with funk and blues). Music was the best thing that came out of that relationship!

Needless to say, the wonderful thing about music is that you can always discover some new song or a sound you’ve never heard and it’s such a revelation.

*Current jazz obsession, Nina Simone, such a powerful woman to look up to.

Here are several of the songs that I’m currently obsessed with.

See, I can't even imbed my own songs! I'll just list them:

1. Nina Simone - I want more and then Some

2. Miles Davis - Generique (listed below)

3. Aretha Franklin - Baby, I love you

4. Etta James - I don't want it

Now playing: Miles Davis - Generique

via FoxyTunes

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A home of my own

I’ve been day dreaming of having my own place, whether it be renting or owning (I’ll be renting for a while…), for the past several years. I first moved into my current apartment, with 2 roommates, about 4 years ago. And at first it was great, I was happy to simply be living near the city and be out of my parent’s basement but now I dream of having a separate room as my studio and then re-decorating and simply living alone. I look through my old Domino magazines (for which I mourn it’s passing) and want to paint walls in a rich eggplant and then the living room a burnt rusty red and just have fun.
I also have been fantasizing more about my own place since I discovered this glamorous blog.
From which I used these lovely images.

I know it’ll happen one day, hopefully soon, but for now I have to be content with my little shoebox of a room and my new jeweler’s bench.

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Monday, June 15, 2009


Just as much thought as I give to what inspires me, I also consider what has influenced me. Influence and Inspiration may be thought of as the same thing however I consider influence to be a mainstay whereas inspiration changes.

So here goes, what has influenced my style and jewelry.

Number #1 goes to my mother. When I was younger, maybe 12/13 years old…and embarrassingly enough to this day, I would take out all her jewelry and play, putting it on and asking her where she got it and when I could have it. She’d say ‘when you’re older’ which at that time seemed forever! But now, she gives me her jewelry on my birthday or Christmas…or when she’s feeling generous. My father was in the Army and we traveled and lived in Central and South America and when I was just a baby we lived in Japan. She has a treasure-trove of international pieces. Her jewelry was a lesson in historical craftsmanship and styles that spanned the globe. They taught me that color, material and style can be interpreted in so many beautiful ways.

#2 – My beliefs and spiritual inclinations. Just before I graduated from college I began to explore various religions; I was at a place where I wanted more than the usual church/bible experience nor did it resonate with me (Catholicism). So I began reading what really fascinated me, Norse and Celtic mythology. I know, it may sound hoaky, but in general mythologies always intrigued me. The stories of Gods and Goddesses rising up (or descending) from the earth mingling with humans, shape-shifting and the symbolism of governance of land with higher principles and ideals. Of course the same can be said of Christianity but Celtic culture and beliefs just made more sense.

Where am I going with this? What I create with my hands and the images that come into my mind are based on my own beliefs and fascination with the Celts. In addition to their innovation and spiritual representations. Bronze, gold and copper chased bowls, torcs and headpieces are amazing outlining a myth.

#3 – Other artists and mentors. Lately, I’ve been discovering some amazing work and ridiculously innovative ideas that has spurred me to think outside of the box, to consider ALL materials, functions and methods. One recent artist that has me baffled and curious is Lisa Jeun, she uses fake nails, FAKE NAILS to make incredible brooches. I love it how she mixes them with enameled steel and silk floss. My jaw dropped gazing at her pieces. That is one criteria I aim for in most of my pieces, a mix of elements, leather, metal, shells – whatever just as long as it’s all mixed up.

As for mentors, I’ve gained several over the past 2 years. In the jewelry world, it’s difficult to find one especially because they’re all busy just trying to get their business going. However, the wisdom and knowledge they’ve dispensed to me is worth the time. Abby Goldblatt my enameling teacher has had a big influence on me, she’s one of those great teachers that knows just when to offer advice but also when to listen and let me run wild with an idea. Just when I feel frustrated and want to throw a piece across the room she offers options and ideas to turn something shitty into a gem! Here’s one of her beautiful pieces.

*I'm still configuring how to put pictures in the right place.
Above picture is Abby's.
2nd is my Mom and I.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009


I work part time at a silverware repair/restoration shop in Old Town Alexandria. The guys I work with are supremely talented. I'm always amazed though at the dichotomy between my aspirations and vision and the traditional yet exceptional work of the 18th and 19th century silver and goldsmith work. I revere it yet rail against the old look. However, the education I receive from working here is priceless.
Lawrence Miller has been working at his shop for 15+ years. What he does requires extreme skill, patience and practice. I primarily handle some incoming orders and processing of our 'tickets'. At times it gets oooooold however I'd rather stay behind the scenes...witnessing and listening to what he does versus handling customers...which requires another kind of patience.
It is a lesson in human behavior when working in the service industry.
Anywho, I'm eternally blessed for the opportunity I've been given to work at this shop.

PS - They're having an open house the weekend of June 26-28th. Wine, cheese, silver and estate jewelry...what more could a person ask for??? Pin It


a shout out goes to Squints, my blind Kitteh, that loves and I mean loves to get into jewelry. She bats at chains, eats the silk thread I use and sniffs my copper and silver. I like to think that she wants to be a part of the process and know what's going on. She really is an inspiration to me, I don't know how she gets around my apartment but she does.
And here she is, sitting in what is supposed to be, our fruit basket... Pin It

those that came before me

As I go through the motions of practicing and learning metalsmithing, I remind myself that jewelry making is an ancient art form and one that goes back much farther than many of the other arts. Humans created jewelry and pottery around the same time (I don't have that time specifically but you get my idea). And to me that symbolizes much more than history but represents the idea of adorning oneself. In the beginning humans didn't care much for clothing, and beads, bones etc. were a way to signify achievements and prestige.
What got me thinking on this? it's a quote a found...from some blog or I don't know where but I use as my signature, "the first time ever that human beings created an exterior mirror image of that which was going on in their brains (interior), they did it through the activity which we currently could call jewelry making." Otto Kuenzli.
*above photos of my tools...and my beloved Fretz hammer.
my bench...and a glass of wine Pin It

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Little Pony

More like Dead Pony, I adore \Raphaƫl's work and at some point plan on ordering a poster/tshirt. She's from Brussels.
so I'm having a tough time embedding the image...click on Dead Pony.
Oh...there it is :-)

I have a Japanese tattoo on my left shoulder that means dream. Very appropriate, I'm always dreaming, whether I'm sitting in a meeting or trying to listen to someone. One of my bad habits!

P.S. I loved My Little Pony when I was growing up, one Christmas when we lived in Uruguay my parents gave me a stable. I kept all my ponies well groomed!

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Originally uploaded by lisettef14

I really enjoyed making this small bowl because I was able to combine learning new texture techniques as well as enameling.
Oh and it didn't require too much pressure.

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As I'd stated before, time in the studio is precious but it's also intense and long; especially when you've got 3 hours of kiln time to cram in several projects.
this afternoon at work I began to combust and just felt suddenly tired and faint. I left work early and didn't go to my enameling class which kills me but at the same time it was kind of nice. I laid on the couch reading my silversmithing and enamel books and took notes which is still productive!
And now I'm watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey....not productive but hey, I am going to log in some extra bench time later this week and Sunday. Pin It

Monday, June 8, 2009


Originally uploaded by every.seven

Ramune is a fellow classmate of mine, at the Art League in Alexandria, VA. She's super/multi-talented and sitting next to her was meant to be (not to sound corny) because we have such different styles and I admire her perfectionism and consistent style. Whereas I can be all over the map and forget to test, test and test enamel colors...Rae is very methodical. She's challenged me to document and take notations in the process.
Check out her blog at http://www.every-seven.com/.

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Ram Ring

Ram Ring
Originally uploaded by glassvelina

How magnificent is this ring? In my quest to absorb as much knowledge as I can, I've become addicted to perusing and drinking in other artists works and creative process.
It's a puzzle to figure out, how they made their work. I love the inlay on top of the rams head.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

still learning how to blog...

argh, it's so frustrating learning all the new mechanisms with this blog, so I apologize for the layout and view vidoes...bear with me ;-) Pin It


Lately I've been discovering some music gems, some that just make me bop my head and others that take me to a whole other world. Like this song, Bat for Lashes is the 'new' Kate Bush (of whom I'm also a huge fan). Check out her enchanting video "Daniel":

Her music also calls to mind Stevie Nicks; in a different sense, she's so ethreal and enchanting. Pin It

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Well of inspiration

Where does my inspiration come from? In short, everywhere, but mainly I find myself reinterpreting art into something wearable. Last year I subscribed to ARTNews, I thought it'd be a great way to keep up with the art world but I found that it's mainly for painters and museum peeps. However, it has been a great source of inspiration, seeing the works of other artists is inspiring.
Here you'll find my latest project, I loved how Stanley meshes all these vibrant colors with black slashes all over it. And with this piece I'll be challenging myself to try new techniques, riveting and layering metal upon metal, along with creating a different kind of chain. I can't wait to see the end product but along the way I'm forcing myself to think through every part of the process...lesson learned from 'the fire'. Pin It

Monday, June 1, 2009

The fire and oh the many lessons

It's amazing how when you finish a project, or in my case, close to finish...you become enamored but also loathsome of the piece...because you see all the imperfections and yet can't get enough of it. That's how I feel about, what I call, the Fire. I made SO many errors with this pendant. this was my first time doing a prong setting, and clearly I didn't think about the length of the prongs nor the placement. When I was hammering the silver for texture...one of the prongs just flew off...all the while I was hammering I was somewhat smug, thinking, 'this is so bad-ass'...that's when life teaches you a lesson.
I am really pleased though with the color scheme and the overall design. The feather is inverted on the setting...the image to me is universal and stirs up all kinds of underlying thoughts and ideas.
Oh and one of the other many lessons I learned was the placement of how it is hung...the silver is thick as is the cloisonne being heavy with all the enamel...so using a bail doesn't keep the balance of the pendant from swinging when I wear it. and of course as I soldered it the bail kept moving...as for now, I have logged these lessons for future reference! Pin It

Yes, I've created a blog

I've contemplated creating a blog for awhile now, specifically a jewelry blog. I never thought I'd blog but the more I become addicted to metal and jewelry blogs the more I find myself wanting to document the process of making my own jewelry, along with journaling my thoughts.
So here goes.
As with most Monday nights, I prep my work for my class on Tuesday nights. My studio time is so much more productive when I plan what I'll be enameling and working on for the evening along with the week. As someone who works full time in an office job; time in the studio is incredibly precious.
...so you get an idea of what my jewelry is like, here's a link to my website: www.lisettefee.com. Pin It