As we stepped on to the front porch of jewelry maker Lisa Gent’s shingled Cape Elizabeth cottage on a cold, wet morning in April, we were drawn in by the golden glow that was shining out through the windows. With a smile, Lisa welcomed us inside where Daisy, Lisa’s long-time canine companion, added to the friendly buzz, sniffing our legs and graciously accepting a rub around the ears. Light bounced off the cheerful blue walls of Lisa’s cozy studio which is well stocked with all the wares of her trade; hammers rest on individually grooved beds and various hand tools stand in neat rows, like soldiers at the ready. It is here where Lisa works her fine silver and gold until it’s unique story has been molded into a piece of organic beauty.
Raised in Wilmette, Illinois, just north of Chicago, Lisa grew up visiting museums, but art did not have an overwhelming influence in her life. “My grandfather was a painter, and my aunt was a papermaker, bookmaker, and photographer. Her books were incredibly intricate and unique, but I wouldn’t say I was directly influenced by either of their work,” Lisa says. As a child she would make beaded jewelry and wreaths of dried leaves, but it wasn’t until she moved to Maine and met a friend’s mother that she became passionate about creating, and considered jewelry making as a viable career. “This woman was a quiet force and a free-spirit, and we spent time together at a period in my life when I was looking for that kind of connection,” says the artist. “I gathered materials from around my house, and we got together to make some jewelry. I made a necklace, and I just fell in love with the process.”
Devotion to craft and process is abundantly evident in the creative oasis of her studio. From hammering to metal-smithing to soldering, every design stage has a separate station where Lisa crafts her unique creations into superb works of art. “My organization comes and goes. I appreciate organization when I can afford it, time-wise,” says the artist. This calming order harmoniously co-exists with the poetic ease of the space, where posters and stickers are affixed to the walls that reflect her passions and offer grounding inspiration. “I’m deeply influenced by shape, color, and the way things are placed in my environment.”
A big believer in recycling and sustainability, nothing in Lisa’s workshop ever goes to waste. “I order my fine silver and gold from a few suppliers, and one in particular who only buys recycled metal. I also melt down and reuse waste from any one piece I’m creating,” Lisa says. And when her designs include gems and pearls, Lisa only purchases them from vendors who engage in fair trade. “I only buy natural stones that are not heat treated or dyed, and no blood diamonds. When I’m working with pearls, I buy cultured pearls that don’t deplete the sea.”
Shop Lisa Gent's jewelry here.
Comments will be approved before showing up.