Category Archives: Written By…

Inspiration Artist ~ Nicole Ringgold

After discovering her work on Facebook in the online group Aspiring Metalsmiths, we were so inspired we had to reach out to her about her Botanical Series.  Here’s some great advice from an incredibly talented metalsmith and artist.  Every piece is hand forged, shaped, soldered and finished- pieces by piece, every intricate detail.
Botanical Series
Name:  Nicole Ringgold. Some people ask if I changed my name to fit my profession. Nope, it’s just a happy coincidence.
LJS: Where are you from originally:
NR: I was born in Massachusetts, but grew up in Switzerland and France. I have since lived in various US states, as well as in Niger, W. Africa. My home for the last decade has been in the Methow Valley, a community situated in the North Cascade Mountains in Washington State.

LJS:  Favorite show/movie/song of late?

NR:  My favorite musician is Macklemore…I’m more of an audiobook addict since I spend so much time in my studio. My favorite book of late is The Nightingale.

LJS:  What was the first piece of jewelry you ever made using either metalsmithing or carving techniques?

NR:  I took a couple of silversmithing courses in college over 20 years ago. I made a really fun ring with lost cast wax that I was proud of at the time.

LJS:  What’s a bench tip you’ve learned or figured out recently that’s changed your life?

NR:  My recent collection of botanical jewelry has taught me a tremendous amount about complex soldering, how to use heat syncs, how to heat just enough of the surrounding silver for the filler metal to melt perfectly into targeted seams, and how to make the most use of my pick while soldering.

LJS:  In your botanical series you create so many wonderful pieces, do you have a favorite among them?

NR:  Yes…this one. It’s a larch cone. Soldering on each of the tiny layers presented a challenge.

LJS:  Which piece challenged you the most as a metalsmith?

NR:  These poppy seed pods, primarily because it’s easy to explode a sphere while soldering on the additional components.

LJS:  Who’s your favorite artist, and how do they inspire you?

NR:  I can’t say that I have just one favorite artist, but I’ve recently discovered the work of John Grade: I would love to take him out for a glass or two of wine and listen to his story. As an artists, how did he reach where he is today?

LJS:  We can tell that you find inspiration in nature, do you have any favorite places you go or things you do when you’re needing a little artisitic push?
NR:  I live in the mountains and work inside a greenhouse, both of which give me endless artistic inspiration. I am an avid hiker. I love hiking to high alpine lakes where I can jump in. I take pictures and collect samples of native plants to bring back to my studio. There, I literally dissect the plants to understand how they’re constructed, and attempt to reconstruct them in silver.

LJS:  What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a student just starting out?
NR:  Dive in. Don’t worry about making mistakes. Most errors turn out to be happy accidents.

You can find more of her work at

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From the Studio – Etching!

Next weekend we’re hosting a super fun Weekend Workshop on Etching!

Saturday + Sunday | Jun 25+26 |11am-5pm | $240 | Register Now!

In this two day weekend workshop students will discover how to create raised patterns in metal without using any special equipment!  You’ll learn how to transfer images onto metal to etch a variety designs using a low toxic and safe method.  Etching is the process of using chemicals to cut a design or pattern into a metal surface. Etching your own designs into metal is a fun and rewarding way to customize your jewelry!

Class covers a variety of resist processes including ink transfer techniques and free hand solutions. We will also be covering basic metalsmithing techniques like drilling, filing, refining, and a variety of polishing and sealing methods, so this class is open to beginners as well as intermediate and advanced students.

Extra materials will be provided.

We spent a little time in the studio perfecting the technique this week, here’s some fun action shots:

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Here’s the pieces after they’ve come out:

And here’s a couple styles of the final products!

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From the Studio – Salt Casting!

This weekend we’re hosting a super fun one day workshop on Salt Casting!

Saturday | Jun 11 |11am-5pm | $179 | Register Now!

Salt Casting is the art of melting metal to its molten form and then pouring it over salt. This creates spontaneous forms and unusual shapes. In this workshop we learn how to recycle metal, create many different alloys, pour metal into different forms, and fabricate jewelry out of the salt cast pieces.  Your old jewelry and scraps (gold, silver, copper) can be cast into new and wondrous forms. The salt cast pieces can be made into earrings, pendants, and pins during the workshop. Extra materials will be provided.

We spent a little time in the studio perfecting the technique this week, here’s some fun action shots:

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Here’s the pieces after they’ve come out:

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And here’s the final products!

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Student Spotlight: Michaela Turley of Mijatu

Michaela Turley is the designer and maker behind small jewelry brand, Mijatu. Working out of her home studio in New York City, she originally came from the sunny shores of Australia where she was constantly surrounded, and ultimately influenced by the strength and natural beauty of the environment around her.

LJS: What’s your background? How did you get into jewelry making, and when?

MT:  I actually work in advertising, which whilst useful in some ways, is not at all related to using my hands with making jewelry! After recently moving to New York from Australia two years ago, I was looking for a hobby – stumbled across a jewelry making class and have become just slightly addicted since!

LJS: Describe your process, from inspiration to final product. Do you draw a design first or do you just start creating? Is it different everytime?

Michaela TurleyT:  I utilize the lost wax process in creating all of my work, which suits the fluidity of my designs. My inspiration comes from nature, and it’s ability to create beauty from the smallest of details. I first sketch out the overall look of my design, usually with a few alternatives and then try to draw out a couple of other designs in other forms (such as a necklace or earrings if I’m starting with a ring) that builds out a potential line. If I’m happy with the overall look and feel, then I will jump straight into creating. The great thing with working with wax is that it can evolve as you are creating, which often means that the end result is usually a little different to my original sketch – but that’s what I think makes the design better, it evolves to where it needs to be, rather than constricting the design to a one dimensional sketch.

LJS: Do you ever hit creative road blocks? How do you remedy that?

MT: Yes! I think that’s what makes the process, and the design better. I welcome them, because once overcome, it makes me feel like the design is even better. When I do have them, I often flick back through my sketchbook – sometimes the answer has already been discovered, it’s just in a different form, or design.

LJS: What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever made?

MT:  My favorite piece to wear is my circle necklace and matching circle studs in 14K gold – I carved each circle by hand and I love how effortless and simple they are. That being said, I am very proud of my Stella ring – it has an art deco feel to it and took a very long time to carve, but it’s intricateness is something that is very eye catching on.

circle pendant mijatu circle stud mijatu

LJS: What class(es) have you taken at Liloveve?

MT:  Bezel Setting & Prong Setting

LJS: If you could collaborate with another designer/artist, who would it be and why?

MT:  I would love to do a collaboration with small, emerging nature photographers like Vivian Chen – a lot of my designs are inspired by nature and the way they are able to capture raw yet beautiful elements is very inspirational.

LJS: Where do you exhibit / sell your work?


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Student Spotlight: Jennifer Dunham

LJS: What’s your background? How did you get into jewelry making, and when?

JD:  While working a corporate fashion job, I was looking for something to put more creative energy into. I wanted to start my own business and find more fulfillment in my work- It wasn’t until Sept/Nov 2015 where the medium became jewelry. I took the silver ring making intensive (admittedly, after a breakup) and was hooked from that point on!

LJS: Describe your process, from inspiration to final product. Do you draw a design first or do you just start creating? Is it different everytime?

JD:  I’m most inspired by natural forms. I have a textile background so I tend to think of a sheet of silver as a muslin. I create jewelry much the same way- sometimes it’s “flat pattern” where I measure carefully before cutting. Other times it’s like draping techniques. I just start bending the metal and let it do something fun for me. I often draw before, but the process to the end result varies.

LJS: Do you ever hit creative road blocks? How do you remedy that?

JD:  The creativity abounds on paper! More often than not I hit the road blocks in practice. Problems always lie in our expectations, right? I think the metal sheet or wire wants to play with me and be cooperative…but that’s not always the case. Fair enough, I was torching it with 1500+ degrees, I get it. The remedy for me is always to take a breather. Put it aside and come back to it when I’m not frustrated.

LJS: What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever made?

JD:  I made an earring in the Hoops & Studs intensive that I call “the wave earring”. This is the perfect example of my ideal process- The sketch happened, the “pattern” cut out and the bending all came together very quickly and effortlessly. The process was almost as enjoyable as the end product and that, my friends, is magic.


LJS: What class(es) have you taken at Liloveve?

JD:  Silver Ring intensive, Intro to Silversmithing, Wax I, Hoops & Studs, and am currently enrolled in Wax II – Stone Setting

LJS: If you could collaborate with another designer/artist, who would it be and why?

JD:  I partnered with my dad to start the business and he’s very artistic and animated so that’s been really fun– as for a more “third party” artist…I think I’d have my little eye on a collaboration with Phetus. Check him out on Insta @phetus88 – I love how sweet and funny his monsters look! Wouldn’t it be cool to do some kind of micro-machines wearable version?? We’ll get there 🙂

LJS: Where do you exhibit / sell your work?

JD:  My dad and I have been hiding our wares out in Tulsa, Oklahoma – trying out protos and getting our bearings on a production level, but we are aiming for an April 21 website launch. I am planning on showing in NY within the next couple months so keep a lookout!

I encourage all to subscribe to our mailing list to get the first look before public launch 4/21 at

of course we’re on facebook at

and our insta is @shopjenniferdunham

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Artist Spotlight : Emilie Shapiro!

We absolutely love Emilie Shapiro’s work so much. Not just her incredible use of natural stone elements and recycled metals but how she pairs them with contemporary techniques and experimentation that are incorporated into her work as a celebration of the beauty of natural imperfection. All production and resources are kept as local as possible, and every piece is handmade in Emilie’s studio in New York City.

emilie in studio

She’s also one of our dear friends and a Liloveve instructor.  Emilie has a fantastic book launching April 5th at Artist & Fleas, however we have her giving a lecture in Jewelry Production here at the studio April 2, check out more info here.

“How To Create Your Own Jewelry Line”

emilie book

Here’s a fun Q & A we had with the talented designer:

Liloveve Studio: When did you first start making jewelry?

Emilie Shapiro: I started making jewelry when I was 13 and haven’t stopped since!

LS: What class(es) have you taught at Liloveve? 

ES:  I’ve taught just about everything but focus on wax carving, jewelry production and special techniques like keum boo and water casting.

LS:  Where do you draw your inspiration when designing your work?

ES:  Textures, color and movement in nature. I studied dance for twenty years and am very inspired by how the body moves and how pieces move with the body.

LS: Where do you exhibit / sell your work?

ES:  My work is sold in galleries, museums and specialty boutiques nationally like Anthropologie, Sundance Catalog and The American Museum of Natural History.

LS:  Have you been featured in any press?

ES:  My work has been featured in publications such as Vogue Japan, Elle Greece and Brooklyn Magazine.

LS:  What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever made?

ES:  That’s a difficult question because it always changes! My current favorite piece is the mosaic wilted collar. The construction and movement of this piece are really wonderful.

Mosaic Wilted Collar

LS:  If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

ES:  Mars. I can’t even imagine the colors and textures you would find there….

LS:  If you could collaborate with another designer/artist, who would it be and why?

ES:  I think I’d like to time travel to meet my great grandfather Abe Parker. He was an inventor and designer, most famous for his invention of the blue dot light that were used as flash bulbs for cameras. I would love to work on lighting and large scale mechanical sculptures with him – so waiting until time travel is possible!

LS:  What’s the most fun aspect of being a jewelry designer?

ES:  Working with my hands every day is so satisfying. Being a designer connects me with so many interesting people and brings me to interesting places.

LS:  Where can we see your work?

ES: | @emilieshapirojewelry

Book Launch Event details / ticket sales –

Register for the Production Workshop with Emilie here

Here’s a slideshow of just some of her fabulous work!

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MJSA Expo! Spotlight ~ Gangi Gems

Hi all!

This past Sunday – Tuesday was the jewelry industry’s MJSA Expo.  I went to the Jacob Javits Center on Manhattan’s west side on a cold rainy Monday morning to check out what’s new and exciting in the industry.   I’m so happy I did!  Among all the new CAD programs and laser machines I found a handful of local vendors that I would happily recommend to our students here at the Liloveve Studio.

One of which was the amazing and unusual gems that Bill Gangi presented.

Here’s some cool pics!

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Learn how to set some of these interesting stones in one of our 6-week classes!

Intro to Wax Carving


Mar 23rd – May 4th  (no class 3/30) | Wednesdays| 6-9pm | wax included + tool list | Register Now!


Class Spotlight! The Amazing World of Wax Carving

Spring classes are starting soon!  Intro to Wax Carving is a fantastic class to get your feet wet in this versatile medium!

You may ask What is Wax Carving?

Well, the art of wax carving dates back all the way to 3500 BCE!  Probably even earlier!  Ancient civilizations used the beeswax that had been leftover from harvesting honey to sculpt interesting forms, mostly depictions of animals and gods.  Today we have many different types of jewelers carving wax, each kind having its own special properties.  Carving wax is a wonderful technique for creating jewelry. Intricate details can be created in wax that you can’t achieve in metal. We are essentially making mini-sculptures, using  additive and / or subtractive techniques.

In this 6-week class we explore how to build up wax, carve and file it away at it to reveal a design.  Wax is extremely forgiving & versatile and can be used to make rings, pendants, bracelets, earrings or any other small object.  You’ll start off by making a ring for the first project and then a pendant for the second.  Students are encouraged to explore the wax as a medium as well as be challenged as designers by the instructor.   You can design, experiment, play, and create with the inexpensive wax until you get your piece just right.

We include a tour of the jewelry district and a complete list of trade references and supplier resources to provide the new student with a full introduction to the jewelry industry. Small class sizes are perfect for both beginners or those looking to refresh their wax carving skills. You don’t need any jewelry knowledge to take this class – absolute beginners welcome!

for all the class details check it out here!

Mar 23rd – May 4th  (no class 3/30) | $450 | Wednesdays| 6-9pm | wax included + tool list | Register Now!

here’s a fun slide show of our last classes finished projects, get inspired!

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Student Spotlight: Huan Wang of Jewelyrie

LJS: What’s your background? How did you get into jewelry making, and when?

HW: I have been a stay home mom ever since one year after I graduated from prestigious Parson’s school of design, I wanted to be a top notch high end fashion designer back then. Instead I spent the past 20 years build my family, I have 3 beautiful kids, and loving husband. Somewhere along the way I found out that my love was in metal, not fabric. It started when I was browsing Ebay back in 2007 and was fascinated with all the jewelries and with not much money in my hand to indulge my new obsession, I purchased a piece of handmade necklace, made by the seller, a necklace of multi-link opaque freckled earth tone square stones with hand cut grove all around and wire wrapping that fit in the grove and some wire pattern that later I found out were made by using a tool called jig. This the very first piece of jewelry that inspired me to start making my own, because I said to myself, I’m not gonna spend rest of my life drooling over my expensive obsession and get torn inside because I wouldn’t be able to afford it. So I came to a solution: I’ll make my own jewelry. After I tried to bend a piece of silver wire, and ball up the tip with a butane torch, I could never stop.

LJS: Describe your process, from inspiration to final product. Do you draw a design first or do you just start creating? Is it different everytime?

HW: I’ve been selling what I created on Etsy for 8 years and recently shifted direction to go pro and do wholesale. So the design process is very different before and after. But either way my inspiration is alway technique driven. Before, I make whatever I want to, randomly. Through out the years I’ve alway been self teaching, so Etsy became a great platform for me to learn, practice, and sell what I created. When I wanted to test out a new technique, I usually do lots of research and then I came up with what I wanted to do. I never sketched out ideas, just picked up my silver stock and start working, and I’ll say it’s the working process that inspired and guided me, and I let the design take shape gradually, step by step. It’s a painful process because some time it take lots of attempts, but I work till I can please myself. Now with enough skills and techniques to deliver the designs that’s truly original, I design with much clear direction, I plan out the whole collection before I start working. I will focus on one design detail and expand that concept to the whole collection, and I found its a very good way to keep your design cohesive.

LJS: Do you ever hit creative road blocks? How do you remedy that?

HW: This also has a before and after difference. Before when I sell on Etsy, I got creative road blocks all the time!! Main reason was lack of design direction, and also because of the mindset that I wanted my creation to be different. What I did was I had to see a lot, and I slept on it, and eventually I would get a light bulb. For now, I feel that I’ll never run out design idea! I already have 5 or 6 collections sketched out and only waiting to be turned into reality! I can’t wait! But I constantly look back to my random pieces I made before, because there were lots of originality in those earlier creation and I believe I can further expand and explore and turn those into collections.

LJS: What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever made?

HW: My favorite pieces I’ve ever made are very often the last piece I created. That makes me want to create me more. My favorite piece for now is the first project we did in the Introduce to Wax Carving class with Kate. It’s the biggest ring I’ve ever made, carved out in wax first then casted in silver. I had no idea what to make at the beginning, simply follow along the process until 30 minute before the session about to be done, I got the light bulb, and start carving these stripes and dents all around the ring. It turned out great. I was lucky I got it done on time. And now I want to explore more on that and work on a collection base on the same concept.

LJS: What class(es) have you taken at Liloveve?

HW: I took Introduction to Wax Carving class with Kate, and the Business for Designers workshop with Caroline.

LJS: If you could collaborate with another designer/artist, who would it be and why?

HW: I would love to collaborate with Jeanette K. Caines. I have been an admirer for years, and I’ve been saving money to take her classes! I’m fascinated with her intricate fusing and granulation on high karat gold technique. I’m more into metal smithing than stones I think that’s why!

LJS: Where do you exhibit / sell your work?

HW:  You can view my work at and my artist number is 28587. I will be also showing my latest collection and expecting 1 or 2 more collections.  I’ll be in JA New York March show at the Jacob Javits Center.




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Class Spotlight: Bezel Setting!

Join us this weekend for a great foundation class in stone setting!

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This Saturday and Sunday, Dec 12 + 13,  11am-5:30pm Register Now!

The bezel setting is the earliest method for setting gemstones into jewelry – and hasn’t changed much over the last few thousands years. To create a bezel, you take a piece of metal and fabricate it to the size and shape of the outside of the stone. You then place the stone inside the bezel and push the metal over the top the stone.

Bezels are a simple, clean and secure approach to setting gemstones. They keep your gem safe and clean from dirt and don’t catch clothing.