Abby Leon, Paradigm Gallery Director
With all the time we spent at home this past year, were you one of many who cleared out some unwanted clutter? Or, maybe you are just now gearing up for some serious spring cleaning? Either way, take a moment to think about where all that stuff goes. Hopefully, not straight into a landfill. Instead, consider donating and recycling!
You can find artist Lisa Vetter scouring garage sales and thrift shops to take all your unwanted treasures and produce new, exciting works of art! Lisa is the “green” queen, and hand-crafts fun, fashionable, and environmentally-friendly jewelry. She and her husband, Paul Seifert, also collaborate to upcycle and produce quirky, mostly functional artwork. Their inspiration and purpose is to repurpose. Not only is their work environmentally conscious, but so is their way of life: they recycled their home and studio by restoring a 150-year-old farmhouse and outbuilding, which is now the infamous Art Farm in Spencerville, Indiana! This week, Lisa will share her journey as an artist, her dedication to caring for our planet, and a behind-the-scenes look into her jewelry-making process.
“For as long as I can remember I have been creating. From doing collage as a little girl, learning to sew with my mother, to building and creating environments, both indoors and out, I have always enjoyed creating something from whatever was on hand. My jewelry career started in high school but it took a long hiatus as I explored the professional world and furthered my studies, earning a degree in Interior Design from IPFW in the early 90’s. It was about this same time that I picked up my jewelry tools again and started creating. It was also during that time that I met the man who would become my husband, as well as my creative partner. Together, Paul and I began exploring the infinite possibilities in found objects. These things hold an energy all their own. Behind every found item there is a story, and it is my belief that these stories, when combined with others, go on to tell yet another tale of adventure.
I find inspiration for my work in myriad places: watching a bird preening on a branch, the unfolding of a flower, the layers of peeling paint on an old building, the drop of dew on the tip of a blade of grass in the early morning, or the simple shape of a leaf. Through our work we travel a great deal, and have spent a significant amount of time in Mexico where the colors and joyful people of that magical land are always an inspiration. They, like the farmers of old, are masters at working with what you have. We live in a throw away world; consumerism breeds waste, and there is no shortage of perfectly usable discarded items. By using these cast-offs it is my intention to call attention to the extraordinary in the ordinary.”
This photo journey shows the progression of a 1950’s Girl Scout Peanut Crunch tin to a custom pendant for a 50th birthday, as well as another custom piece. In all there are 39 “badges” on this tin; each one will be riveted onto either acid etched copper, nickel silver, recycled construction steel, or license plate backing, and numbered showing their limited edition.
First, I deconstruct the tin by cutting the individual pieces and the backing metal.
The pieces are marked and then pierced on the drill press, after which they are ground and buffed to smooth the edges.
Handmade wire rivets cold connect the layers. Other techniques include forging to create the handmade silver links and oxidizing to create the deep patina on the silver and copper.
Check out the finished custom work!
Here’s more completed work from this limited-edition series featured in the Paradigm Gallery!
And here is just a sampling of Lisa’s other pieces on display!
To see these pieces in person, or the entire collection of Lisa Vetter’s jewelry, come visit us at the Paradigm Gallery: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm; Thursday 10am-8pm; Sunday 12pm-5pm.
Also be sure to check out this recent 21Country segment featuring the Art Farm on News Channel 21!