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Artist Profile: Karen Leslie

Dichroic three hinge silver encased pendant with sterling silver curved tubes, Czech glass beads and sterling silver lobster claw clasp

Artist: Karen Leslie
The Jewelry Collection by Karen Leslie

Chunky Amethyst nugget beads with fancy Bali saucer beads and spacers with a fancy toggle clasp

Karen, how do you describe your work?
My designs consist of one of a kind and limited edition pieces. I pride myself on the ability to find individual, distinctive and truly unique components to incorporate into my designs to make a special creation. My designs are contemporary and timeless and can go with any outfit.

Lapis rectangle center stone with Lapis round beads and Bali spacers, sterling silver lobster claw clasp

What is your creative process like?
As far as my creative process, I choose my pieces because I like the different shapes of the stones, color, and texture. I don’t always have a specific design in mind when purchasing my components. It could be months later when something hits me. At that point, I will know exactly what I want to do with it.

I don’t sketch out my designs. I like to put everything on the board and let it evolve from there. I think its fun to play around with the different stones and try to balance all the components to compliment one another.

I usually have the TV on while I am working. Not necessarily listening to what is on but more for background noise. If not the TV, then I am listening to my iPod library of songs.

Sometimes I can work for hours at a time. It depends on what I am creating and what my deadlines are.

What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
My training consisted of someone giving me a “crash course” in basic jewelry making. In addition, I have taught myself various techniques and I am always looking to take classes, learn new things and advance in my skills.

Double strand multi color barrel bracelet with sterling silver hear clasp with Citrine stone in center of clasp

What inspires you to create?
I seem to gravitate more toward the colors of nature and everyday life. There are so many different things during the day that can inspire you. For example, just looking through magazines or even watching TV.

I also spend many hours searching, planning and designing for each “collection” piece. To find these pieces, I search for them from all corners of the world. I am always searching for that “special piece” to incorporate into my designs. To me, all of the above play an important part in what inspires me in designing.

What inspires you to keep going or when the work gets frustrating or tough?
When I hit a creative road block or get frustrated while working on a piece, I usually put it aside and start to work on something else. After a while, I go back to the piece that I have put aside and have a different prospective now to work on that piece. Sometimes just clearing my head from that design helps me a great deal.

Ruby Zoisite coin shaped beads with double sided Bali beads, sterling silver lobster claw clasp

What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
The handcrafted jewelry business is extremely competitive. It takes a lot of work, time and determination. If you want to succeed, you have to be persistent. The creative aspect is only one side. The business side is also another area that is often overlooked and is an important aspect.

What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
I have a teenage daughter who plays soccer in school and on a traveling team. We are busy with soccer year round which takes up a considerable amount of time. I try to set aside time for work and family and balance it as much as possible.

Sodalite chips and sterling silver double strand bracelet with fancy double strand clasp with a Sodalite stone in the center

What’s your favorite comfort food?
I have two favorite comfort foods, Cuban and Indian.

Turquoise rondelles with fancy Bali beads, fancy sterling silver front toggle

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