Jewelry exhibitor Lorraine Frelier wrote a guest post for our blog – going back to her earliest inspiration and giving an inside look into how she creates her pieces.
I’ve always been creative. My first love was sewing, which my mother taught me. I also love needle work, especially embroidery. This taught me patience, to follow directions and determination. I’ve made several quilts and love the colors and textures found in vintage linens, quilts, curtains and drapery. One of my pastimes as a kid was untangling costume jewelry found on my mom’s vanity. I wondered at how they were put together and how they were made. As I got older, I would go to flea markets, yard sales, church bazaars looking for antique, vintage and unusual things to wear and bring into my home. I’ve refinished lots of furniture, which my mother also taught me, and have repurposed many of my finds. I started making jewelry from some of these found items. I made pearl bridesmaid necklaces for my wedding party from some of these things. This was the seed to Carriage House Creations.
As I stayed home with my growing family, I found outlets for my creative interest. I was also making jewelry for myself and friends and thought I could sell some of my things. I was inspired by a vendor I spoke to at an arts festival. I originally made my jewelry upstairs in my 1870s carriage house, giving my budding business a name, Carriage House Creations. I have since moved to the basement in my home and have two kilns, a work bench and great storage. Like many jewelry artisans, I started with found items and craft store jewelry findings and beads. Through the internet the availability of more varied and better quality materials became much easier to obtain. As beading became more popular and the cost of silver went up, I noticed an increase in copper items featured in magazines and on some of the web sites I used. I recalled growing up in Ithaca and my 6th grade art teacher, Mr. Dobert, teaching us to enamel! I still have the piece. This art form uses copper and I thought enameling would be something unique. So, off to the library to find every enameling book published in the 1970s. YouTube was also helpful. I find a real joy in creating my jewelry pieces using simple materials: powdered enamels, raw copper and a high temperature kiln. The creative possibilities are endless.
It’s a very involved process containing many steps to successfully finish a piece. I shape the copper, clean it, decide how it’s to be fastened, enamel several times to get different effects. I incorporated these pieces with jewelry findings, some that I create and other I purchase (like chain) to make unique jewelry.
My jewelry reflects some of my beliefs. Not everything happens as planned and some of the most interesting things happen by chance. There are so many variables in both the enameling process and in life itself, things do not always come out as expected. I believe you need to be open to unexpected outcomes and always look for the “silver lining.” I love the uniqueness of each of my pieces. By using basic, simple scaled down materials – raw copper, powdered glass and fire – I’m creating timeless pieces of jewelry. I think the pieces have a unique, relaxed and comfortable feel to them.
I’m very excited I was chosen to participate in this festival this year. I have participated in the past and have really enjoyed the festival. My jewelry can purchased at Cheshire Union, just south of Canandaigua, Mendon Fountains and Flowers in Mendon and a new shop, Creations Gifts and Treasures, in Pittsford along the canal, in Northfield Commons.