Studio Notes: Step Outside Then See What Translates Into Your Jewelry Designs

Take Field Trips

This is advice wax carver Kate Wolf includes in her handouts when I take her class in Portland, Maine. So I prowl her city before catching my flight home to Michigan. The key reason for seeing jewelry designs in person is that you can figure out how things are made by other artists.

Just off the city’s main street, I spot a store full of vintage delights. In one of its windows, rhinestone encrusted bees sparkle on a honeycomb made of cast segments. The owner lets me study and photograph it for this blog.

At the Maine College of Art a few blocks away, I come across spare honey comb jewelry elements in their gallery. They are made by one of their award-winning graduates who cuts precision slits into sheets of gold and uses pliers to shape each six-sided cell.

It takes my imagination only seconds to stitch together my own necklace from these two concepts, although it will be months, if not years for me to do anything about it.
The delight is in the inspiration. I feel I am walking on air.


Betsy Lehndorff has been writing for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 2010. Her story on Colorado diamonds appears in the September-October issue and she will be writing about her experience in Kate Wolf’s class in 2018. The class was paid for by a $1,000 professional development grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

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