Surrounded by bugs in a forest setting, Betsy Lehndorff has been creating innovative jewelry for nine years. Sterling ants and spiders clamber over necks and ears; cedar leaves and bracken ferns are patterns for bracelets, pendants and earrings. And all of it is fresh, it's been a big seller at regional art galleries.
Another reason for her innovations is because, in a remote area she has to be resourceful. She has studied industrial tchniques through the Maufacturer's Boot Camp at nearby Alpena Community College. She's gotten answers to creative challenges from auto body shops, welders, wood workers, even her local dentist. She also seeks out jewelry industry experts.
Lehndorff's work was pushed even further creatively by a 2017 professional development grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs through Art in the Loft, which allowed her to study figurative wax carving with Kate Wolf of Portland, Maine. She is writing about these experiences in a national jewelry magazine in October and November.