She creates treasures from treasures
Anyone who creates with their hands knows how long it takes to make beautiful things. Whether it’s a lace doily, woven basket, knitted scarf, or beaded necklace, handcrafted treasures require a lot of literal, hands-on work.
Jewelry maker Andrea Lyman treasures these treasures. On her global travels, she is on the prowl for what she calls “vintage ephemera” — the beads, antique buttons, and scraps of lace and trim and fabric that are sometimes all that is left of a project made long ago and now residing in a thrift shop. She ferrets out the unusual, the rare, the handmade, to incorporate into one-of-a-kind necklaces, beads, and bracelets.
“I use a lot of vintage materials,” the Moscow, ID, artist says.
“I do this first, because I love them and find them unique and beautiful, appreciating their detail. But I also like the idea of recycling or repurposing things.
“My mother used to crochet, so I know the care and time it takes to make beautiful, handmade things. I love the idea of keeping these things circulating around, bringing joy to others with their beauty and good energy.
“Every piece of lace, every button, every old bead — these treasures delighted someone, were loved by someone, so I want to spread that love around!”
Treasure Hunting around the Globe
As a Director of Waldorf Music Teacher Training, a broad-based educational method developed in the early 20th century by Anthroposophy founder Rudolf Steiner, Lyman travels regularly around the world. And while teaching music in some form has been her career “day job,” fashioning jewelry is also a lifelong passion. The two forms of art, both requiring creativity, skill, and an eye for detail, complement one another, she feels.
“I have been making jewelry most of my adult life,” Lyman says. “At first, it was just for me. Then it turned into gifts for friends, relatives, then small commissions. Eventually, friends convinced me to start selling it at fairs, their small shops, and so on.”
Everywhere she has lived, Lyman carves out space for working on her art. Sometimes, this is no more than a corner of the room, but it is a well-used and well treasured corner. Right now, she has a studio in a spare bedroom, with an area dedicated to jewelry making, another to sewing and a third to painting.
“I make jewelry in spurts (when I have time, since I am quite busy), and am always reminded how much I love doing it!”
Lyman has sold her treasure creations throughout the U.S. and Canada and Mexico, as well as Ecuador and Europe. She operates under the business name of Awe and Wonder, which she says encapsulates her views on life and her art.
“It describes my personal world view, and it’s also something I would hope people feel when they see, experience, and wear my jewelry.”
Every Jewelry Piece Is Unique
Lyman especially loves commissioned work. It is an opportunity, she explains, of fashioning a piece or set unique to the person requesting it. During the entire creative process, Lyman focuses on thinking fond thoughts about the client, thoughts she hopes are imbued into the final piece.
But whether the work she is making is commissioned or not, Lyman allows the materials themselves to speak, adding their voice to the final work, the finished treasure.
“I have all my materials very meticulously organized by color and shape.
“I may be inspired to ‘visit’ the pink and purple department/drawers; then things will catch my attention.
“I consider various aspects and start trying out a few things, and soon, I end up with the perfect combination or style it wants to be.”
This is where the treasures that make up the finished jewelry truly shine: the vintage, the odd, the unexpected. They are the results of forays into flea markets, second-hand stores, artisan shops, and markets.
“I always have my eyes open to possibilities — even seeds or stones lying on the ground.
“My jewelry is fashioned from a huge variety of materials — found materials, vintage findings, beads and beads, semi-precious stones, felted wool, tassels. I also imprint and enamel brass pendants for my jewelry making — each and every piece is unique.
“I’ve never made two of the exact same thing!”
Andrea Lyman is the Featured Art Event from Monday, December 2, through Saturday, December 28 at Wenaha Gallery. She will be at the gallery for the Christmas Kickoff Art Show Friday, November 29, from 2 to 6 p.m. Lyman will be joined by Colfax rope basket creator Nancy Waldron and Kennewick photographer Nancy Richter.
Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment.