Living 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 become patterns for bracelets, pendants and earrings. And all of the work is so fresh, it's been a big seller at regional art galleries and shows.
Another reason for Lehndorff's 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 and rock hounds. She even tapped her local dentist for advice when she developed a technique for carving freshwater pearls, something she now teaches all over the United States.
Lehndorff's work has been pushed even further through a 2017 professional development grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, made possible through Art in the Loft and the National Endowment for the Arts. This allowed her to study figurative wax carving with Kate Wolf of Portland, Maine. Her stories about these experiences will be published in a national magazine in 2018.