blacksmith loraleeartist Lora Lee Artist

Artist Spotlight-LoraLeeArtist

There is a story behind every individual…some long, some short, some wild, some tame. I don’t happen to think mine is very impressive but then I lived it and am still going strong so I guess that is something. I am a survivor of emotional and mental abuse. I firmly believe that words can hurt you as bad as a hand could! A bruise will fade, Words will be with you for the rest of your life! I had let myself be reduced to what my abusers believed I was. I have come to learn after being surrounded by some amazing people that truly love me that my value is not in what others think of me, but in what I believe of myself.

A few years ago I walked away from all the negative in my life. Divorced, Started College for the first time at age 37! Single mom with 3 beautiful children. They are 16, 19, and 22 now. I found out real quick that I could accomplish a lot of things on my own, but also learned that sometimes you have to ask for help. That doesn’t mean you’re not strong enough, it just means you’re smart enough to lean on the shoulder that is being offered. Two can be stronger than one!

I met Wayne Aug of 2010 and my world changed into this amazingly positive and inspiring eye opening world! He created this beautiful nickel ring for me as a surprise and it opened up a world of possibilities! I wanted to know how you could turn an ordinary nickel into something beautiful like that! So he showed me, and it started me on this strange and crazy dream that became Centsations. Created in Sept of 2011.

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LoraLeeArtist Jewelry

I started with a simple carpenters hammer, a nickel, and a concrete floor. Created my first ring, and then soon a matching set for Wayne and myself to wear. I was familiar with power tools of all kinds, but not a lot of hands on experience. With a lot of trial and error I now use a variety of tools, but still resort to those simple hammer and anvil, concrete floors rarely now. To size rings I used his socket set for the longest time, now I have a ring mandrel. Lots of elbow grease goes into so many of the coin projects. It takes a lot of strength to create the coin designs. The engraving wears out your hands and back. The hammering out rings wears your shoulders out. I work a bit on one thing and then switch to the next. So that by the end of a really busy day I hurt from head to toe, but the beautiful things that lay out before me are so worth it. I love what I do very much! I get inspiration from everything! The tv, the hardware store, other artists, magazines, nature! You name it!

hand hammered copper leaves

 

Creating this jewelry allows me to express my creative side, but more than that, I hope to use what I am learning daily to encourage, uplift and support other women and aspiring artists. I want women to realize they are more than society says. They are more than just a “mom” or just a “woman”. We can be blacksmiths. We can be teachers. We can be artists. We can be warriors.

woman sculture metal shild sword
Lora Lee Artist

 

I have worked hard over the past 5 years to excel in my craft. To constantly learn new techniques and to learn how to use different tools. When I couldn’t create in metal I created in paper. Learning how to build on a larger scale using materials I could handle. Ideas I sketched but had no idea how to build, a year, two years down the road, I now have the knowledge and skill set to create those things.

Skills I learned for jewelry making, I came to realize those same techniques can be used on a larger scale. So for example, instead of simple leaf earrings. I can now create copper tree sculptures with that same fold formed leaf technique.

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I am proud of who I am. I am very proud of how far I have come. I have a ton of people to thank for helping me get to where I am today. But I have to say, my biggest source of encouragement comes from Wayne. My husband! My best friend! He is my biggest delight in all of this. Sharing what he inspired me to create delights me to no end!

I hope I encourage others to try new things and to see the beauty in everything, even ordinary things.

I am one of those rare few that LOVE their job. But I really do love what I do. Every day, I walk into my workshop already excited about the possibilities of new creations coming alive. From painting to metalwork, I love each and every thing I create. I have learned over the years to do what speaks to my soul. Custom orders are wonderful but I have learned to accept only the ones that thrill me. Otherwise I won’t be doing my BEST on it.

Everything I do I have learned hands on. I have not taken any metalworking classes. I have read books, watched videos and looked at pictures and after all that….you really do just have to get out there and try it.

I have a pile of copper oopsies in a jar. Those are lessons learned. Each one of them taught me something about how the metal will or wont work. You can read in a book about why you can’t bend metal back and forth sharply, or you can try it and person and really figure it out. BTW it breaks. lol. So I learned early on, not to make cuff bracelets out of thin metals. Makes perfect sense once you realize the reason behind certain rules.

I don’t let fear of the unknown stop me from trying something new. Life is entirely too short for all that mess. Fuck Fear. Screw Self Doubt. Get that out of here. I don’t have time for all that. I want to have fun and create.

I want to create with LOVE.


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Lora Lee
Artist/Owner of Centsations

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