Lisa / Behind the Scenes

  • LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Pendant Necklaces with Special Teacher Messages

    The Pendant Necklaces with Special Teacher Messages was a unique project requested by a client who had two exceptional teachers she wanted to thank in a meaningful way. 

    LPDstudios Teacher Necklace with Sterling Silver Heart, Bronze Wing and Custom Quote - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    LPDstudios Heart Pendant Teacher Necklace with Custom Message - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    My client knew what she wanted and requested specific symbols and charms to be used on each necklace. The first one I made is the Teacher Necklace with Sterling Silver Heart, Bronze Wing and Custom Quote, which includes a custom message charm, a brass wing and a sterling silver heart. My client knew she wanted a circle pendant with the quote "Teachers Touch A Life Forever" embedded on it, but she wanted the piece to have depth, and didn't want the ring to feel flimsy or thin like the typical stamped jewelry you see out there. I chose copper metal clay to work with, which in it's initial state is perfect to stamp into and texturize, but after kiln firing is a hard copper metal. I created the custom message by first mapping out the precise position of each letter and then used small hand held stamps to embed the letters into the clay. The piece is then kiln fired and blackened to bring out the letters. 

    LPDstudios Teacher Necklace with Sterling Silver Heart, Bronze Wing and Custom Quote - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    As all of us know a dedicated teacher can influence us through our lifetime, and for that reason my client requested a wing, because "she gave her child the wings he needed to be a successful student".  The wing is hand sculpted in bronze metal clay, kiln fired and darkened to bring out the detail.

    LPDstudios Teacher Necklace with Sterling Silver Heart, Bronze Wing and Custom Quote - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    LPDstudios Teacher Necklace with Sterling Silver Heart, Bronze Wing and Custom Quote - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    LPDstudios Teacher Necklace with Sterling Silver Heart, Bronze Wing and Custom Quote - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    Lastly,  we added a sterling silver heart as a symbol of the passion that this teacher has for her profession and for educating her young students.  All these beautiful symbols where strung onto an 18" sterling silver cable necklace.  The copper ring is straddled between the silver chains, and the charms are attached with sterling silver jumprings.

    LPDstudios Teacher Necklace with Sterling Silver Heart, Bronze Wing and Custom Quote - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    The second necklace I made is the Heart Pendant Teacher Necklace with Custom Message, which includes 3 sterling silver message charms and a large copper cut out heart. My client wanted the same sentimental custom message "Teachers Touch A Life Forever", but for this necklace she wanted the words to be the focal point of the design. I used sterling silver for the charms and embedded the words right into the silver using hand stamps. After smoothing and filing the silver charms, I blackened the letters so they really stand out against the polished silver.

    LPDstudios Heart Pendant Teacher Necklace with Custom Message - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

     The large copper cut out heart was chosen to symbolize the love and heart this teacher has for her profession. I used copper metal clay for the heart and shaped and texturized it using hand tools. After kiln firing the piece I blackened it the same way I did with the ring charm, to bring out the unique texture. We love the way the charms cascade from the heart and create a beautiful message of appreciation.

    LPDstudios Heart Pendant Teacher Necklace with Custom Message - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    Both necklaces are unique to each teacher and I hope they hold them close to their hearts for years to come.  It takes a special person to teach our children and a special parent to acknowledge their work. Thank you to my client for thinking of me for your special project.

    Check out LPDstudios Custom Work page for more unique projects and LPDstudios to see my entire collection of handmade leather handbags, jewelry and even pet collars!

  • LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Authentic Leather Handbags

    Hand-made leather handbags is how LPDstudios started and still remains my first creative love. My leather handbags are the most labor intensive product I make, but with each step of the process, I use my imagination to create a one of a kind piece for each customer.  

    Today's handbag is for a very special customer, The Association of Faculty and Friends (AFF) of the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine.  The AFF is a non-profit organization with a mission to support and promote medical education, research, clinical care and scholarship in the Hershey Pennsylvania community.  Through major fund raising activities, the AFF raises money to support their mission, and my very own LPDstudios purse will be going to this year's annual Spring Luncheon and Fashion Show auction

    My handbags start as just a roll of leather, and I am inspired by all types of leather! Colorful, earthy, textured, smooth, I love them all. For the AFF auction piece, I chose this fantastic orange leather that just sings happiness and energy. I wanted to present a bag to the AFF that will bring sunshine and joy to the new owner.

    I create my own patterns, which outlines the measurements of each handbag component, including sides, base, handles and design motifs.

    Using my pattern, I hand cut each component using pinking shears, which gives the leather a unique binding and finish.

    Part of my pattern is mapping out the distance between the punched thread holes. This measurement is key in ensuring the bag construction is durable and strong for years to come. 


    After all of my components are cut and punched with thread holes, I can now begin assembly using leather needles and sewing awl thread.

     This is the part that takes patience, and strong hands to stitch, stitch and stitch each component together.

    All of my leather handbags have an inner pocket for all of the little things that seem to gather in our handbags :)

    Here is the finished product!! A one of a kind authentic mandarin orange leather handbag with flower motifs.  It will brighten everyone's day!

    Come stop by LPDstudios for more of my unique leather handbags! And please check out AFF's mission and if you feel inspired to give, donations here are always welcome.

  • LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Couples Leather Love Wristlets

    My Leather Love Wristlets are a great accessory for couples! With hand cut rivets and distressed leather, they compliment one another without too much fuss! Here are a few behind the scenes photos to give you a look into the love and attention I give all of my Couples Leather Love Wristlets.

    First I begin by cutting my leather using a strip cutter. It rough cuts the leather and then I use hand tools to smooth out the edges of the leather strips.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Couples Leather Love Wristlets

    After the edges are smoothed, I distress the leather to create a worn look and soft feel. Once I am happy with the level of distressing, I apply several coats of stain to color the leather. Here is a look at the brown cognac leather stain between coats.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Couples Leather Love Wristlets

    After the stain has saturated the hide, I use my hand stamp tool to add my LPD logo. I also hand punch small holes for the rivets and button studs.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Couples Leather Love Wristlets

    I now hand cut the rivets from silver and copper tubing. I then add the rivets into each hole made in the leather band and carefully bend apart. The rivets add visual interest to the leather wristlet, perfect for him or her. 

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Couples Leather Love Wristlets

    You can choose the Black Leather with Silver Hardware or Brown Cognac Leather with Copper Hardware. Are you more of a black leather or a cognac leather kind of couple? The choice is yours!

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Couples Leather Love Wristlets

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Couples Leather Love Wristlets

    Order now at LPDstudios to get in time for Valentines Day!

  • LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Ring with Custom Initials

    Part of the joy in making one of a kind pieces is creating something that people love to give and receive. My Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Rings with Custom Initials have been so fun to make, because each one is custom made with any initial you want! Whether it be your own initials, loved ones, a pet or a place, you can choose one to three letters that are hand stamped into the floating hearts.  Take a look at how these sweet little rings are made.

    Just like you saw in my earlier post, Behind the Scenes: Metal Clay, the individual hearts are made using copper clay.  Copper clay is a unique material, because in the early stages I can manipulate it just like clay.  For these pieces, I roll out the clay to a very precise thickness. Too thin and the metal clay will break, but too thick and it will be too bulky. Then I carve out my varied size heart shapes, texture each surface using hand tools and add your custom initials.  I love them because from ring to ring, the hearts are texturized in all different ways, each one unique. Once I am happy with each heart, I put them in my kiln for firing.  Here is a picture of the last batch of heart rings I made after they came out of the kiln and cleaned up.  You can see that some people order them without initials, which is nice too, because you can really see the texture on the surface.

    LPDstudios: Behind the Scenes - Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Whimsy Rings

    To make the sterling silver shank I start with square sterling wire.  It comes in big spools, so I cut the length of the wire based on the size ring desired, and flatten it using a hammer.  

    LPDstudios: Behind the Scenes - Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Whimsy Rings

    Using a hammer on sterling silver is a balance between using enough force to flatten and forge the wire without having thin spots or damaging it.  My goal is to get the shank thickness as consistent as possible on the entire length of the wire, but making the ends flatter than the rest in order to solder my hearts on!

    LPDstudios: Behind the Scenes - Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Whimsy Rings

    The next step is to fix my copper metal hearts onto each end of the sterling silver wire by using solder. To summarize the soldering process, I take a piece of solder and put it in between the copper and sterling pieces, heat the site, and the solder melts, affixing the two pieces together.  Here is a picture from above looking down at the sterling wire and copper heart being held in place with tongs before I take the torch to heat the solder to its melting point.

    LPDstudios: Behind the Scenes - Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Whimsy Rings

    LPDstudios: Behind the Scenes - Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Whimsy Rings

    After joining one side of the wire with a custom made heart, I now shape the wire into a ring shape using a mandrel and a jewelers hammer.  This special type of hammer typically has a head made of raw hide, rubber or plastic so that you can shape the metal without damaging the surface.  Here you can see what they look like after shaping some, and then I will repeat the soldering process to affix the other heart.

    LPDstudios: Behind the Scenes - Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Whimsy Rings

    This is the finished product after soldering the other hearts on and polishing everything up! What is nice about this ring is that it comes in two sizes, small or large, but you can also pinch it or pull it slightly for a closer fit.

    LPDstudios: Behind the Scenes - Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Whimsy Rings

      Visit LPDstudios to find out more about the Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Whimsy Ring, or the Copper Hearts and Sterling Silver Ring with Custom Initials!  And place your custom order within the next week to receive your ring in time for Valentine's Day!!!  

  • Behind the Scenes: Leather and Copper Cuffs

    From start to finish, my leather and copper cuffs are labor intensive, but so worth the work!  Here is a behind the scenes look at my creative process to make these unique pieces:
    I start by cutting copper metal in the size and shape I want for the cuff.
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    Then I snip and sand for rounder and smoother edges.
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    Next is the really fun part! I distress the copper metal using various hand tools, as well as my rolling mill to impress texture into the surface of the metal.
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    Here you can see how the copper metal looks after it has been through the metal rollers.
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    Next step, I cut a leather strip, slightly smaller than the size of the metal cuff, and cut out a unique design using sharp tools for precise lines.  I also use the same hand tools and rollers as the copper metal to create textural surface patterns into the leather.
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    For the rustic and weathered aesthetic of the cuff, I blacken and polish the copper metal, as well as dye the leather band. This is also when I water proof the leather, smooth out an rough spots, and polish both pieces for a low luster finish.
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    The leather is attached to the copper by a process called "cold joining". This is done by sawing copper tubing into small lengths, which are called rivets.  I then saw a cross pattern into the rivets on both sides.  This allows me to slide the rivets through each hole made in the copper and leather bands, and hammer the cross stitch down to keep the leather in place.
    Leather and Copper CuffsLeather and Copper Cuffs
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    Here is what the piece looks like after the rivets are in place and the metal and leather have been joined.
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    Up until this point, I have been working with flat pieces of copper and leather, and once the pieces are joined I can now shape it on a bracelet mandrel.  Using a rubber mallet I gently hammer the piece into an oval cuff shape. 
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    And here is the final product!! A one-of-a-kind Copper Leather Cuff with Floral Cut Out :)
    Leather and Copper Cuffs
    Click here to see my full leather and metal cuff collection!

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