MEET LISA LEHMANN: THE BOHEMIAN METALSMITH WHO FINDS SOLACE ON THE SHORES OF LAKE MICHIGAN

Words & Photos by: Paul & April Jendrasiak

"Grand Haven is my most favorite place to live yet. I love the small town feel. I often refer to it as living in "Mayberry." The people are incredible. The community is small. But the heart is big." - Lisa Lehmann

Lisa Lehmann is a free-spirited woman charged by the shores of Lake Michigan. When you first meet her, you will without a doubt notice her colorful hair, brightly beaming smile, and your eyes will quickly take notice to her hands and arms that are adorned with the beautiful jewelry she's created.  

A quick peek into Lisa's creative space, often referred to as a 'studio',  will reveal machines made for polishing, grinding, and manipulating a wide variety of jewelry pieces. All of this mixed in with bohemian tapestries and knickknacks give you a sense of the way Lisa's personality comes to life and is portrayed in her work.  Lisa creates everything from rings and bracelets to necklaces and earrings. In addition to non-metal pieces like the agate stone and leather necklace I can't leave the house without. Paul and I love her work so much that we had her make his wedding ring.

We hope you'll take the time to visit Lisa's website  http://www.StudioJewel.com/ and help her feel welcome in her new community! 

What's the most memorable piece you ever created?

Tough question. So many of my designs are made for the "pretty factor," but several have stories. A piece I created for the very first ArtPrize is called "The Journey." It's more of an art piece than jewelry. It is a story of the journey I was in at that particular moment of my life. Struggles. Depression. Triumph. Family. A lot of heart and soul went into creating that design. it was actually exhausting. Since then, another favorite is a piece that again explains my struggle with depression and what gives me hope. It's a beautiful stand alone ring, but for me the meaning is much deeper.

What attracted you to wanting to design jewelry?

It began as a hobby. I have a degree in fine art, I thought it might be "fun." Almost immediately people wanted to buy my designs...such a thrill. So I pursued more education in the art of metalsmithing and it was love at first torch. I fell in love with the raw intricate process of creating with metal and stones and fire.

What do you love about living in Grand Haven after having been born in NJ, and living in GR and Fort Wayne? 

Grand Haven is my most favorite place to live yet. I love the small town feel. I often refer to it as living in "Mayberry." The people are incredible. The community is small. But the heart is big. I feel embraced as an artist. I feel a freedom to be myself. And the water...the water calls to my soul and brings me a renewed sense of peace. I can't imagine living anywhere else. Even when it snows :)

"It was love at first torch. I fell in love with the raw intricate process of creating with metal and stones and fire." - Lisa Lehmann

Where do most of your customers come from?

The majority of my customers are Grand Rapids based since that is where I first established myself as a jewelry artist. But as an artist that sells online my customers come from ALL over. I have quite a large client base in Australia of all places! My jewelry has a MUCH more exciting travel life than myself!

Some have said there is a certain creative energy in Grand Haven. Is that something you've noticed? 

Yes. Yes. Yes. There is art and artist everywhere. People creating. People embracing those that create. I can feel it. It fires me up. I love the energy and knowing I "fit." As someone who is often a bit against the grain it's refreshing to feel i have finally found "my people"! Lol.

Being a female entrepreneur, What advice do you have for young women who look to make their creative pursuit their line of work?

Just do it. It's not easy. It takes work. You will face adversity and often feel your swimming upstream. But do it. Fight for it. Find your path and follow it. It is so worth it. To find what you love. To have others embrace it. There is nothing like that feeling. Yes. I work ALL the time. But I wouldn't change a thing. Knowing I get to make a creative impact on this world with the gifts and talents I have been given is overwhelming. Creativity is a gift. Use it.

Are you schooled in this or are you self taught? 

I have a fine arts degree in illustration and photography. But I have gone back to school at Kendall and the Revere Academy of Jewelry Art to learn the art of metalsmithing. I also have an amazing goldsmith mentor Michael Sturlin who has taught me so much. The rest has been a lot of trial and error and study on my own. Sometimes that is the best way. Struggle to find the answers and then let the schooling or my mentor refine the skills. I feel like I am still at the very beginning of this career. I have so much to learn and so many skills to perfect. I think this will be my lifelong story.

You can check out Lisa's jewelry creations at: http://www.StudioJewel.com/