Lisa / Behind the Scenes

  • 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!
  • Behind the Scenes: Metal Clay

    Creating has always been in my life.  Starting with my love of vintage cloths and sewing to my education in art and design, moving through a fifteen year career in fashion and now being a creative person with a family.  About five years ago I felt that I wanted to explore a new art form and on a whim enrolled in a metal smith class.  Since that class and many workshops later, I have been invigorated by a new art medium, metal clay!

    A majority of the jewelry pieces I create are made using bronze and copper metal clay, which is a clay like material made up of fine metal particles combined with an organic binder and water.  In the early stages I am able to use it just like clay.  I roll it out, cut any desired shape, add texture to the surface, and manipulate it in any way I want to create my pieces.

    LPDStudios Metal Clay Tools

    Once happy with the shape and design, I cross my fingers and place pieces in a special kiln designed for metal clay.  The high heat of the kiln is what burns off the binder in the metal clay and the metal particles fuse together to create a solid metal item.

    LPDStudios Metal Clay Pieces in Kiln LPDStudios Metal Clay Pieces in Kiln

    LPDStudios Metal Clay Kiln

    Once the firing process is complete, I reach into the cooled kiln and remove the finished pieces!! Even though the binder has burned off, there is still a residual white reside present on the metal, so I brush, rub and polish to bring out the true luster in each piece.

    Here you can see how much of a transformation metal clay takes between its pre-fired state and post-fired state!

    LPDStudios Metal Clay Pieces pre-fired   LPDStudios Metal Clay post-fired

    LPDStudios Pre-Fired and Post-Fired Pieces

    I really love working with metal clay and am always in the studio exploring new techniques to create original work.  Keep checking back to see whats new!

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