We checked in with San Francisco jewelry designer Denise Lee of Denise’s Pieces for the scoop on the silver jewelry she forms into pendants ranging from skeleton keys to musical notes and bullets. Read on for more about this local designer’s process, love for experimentation and latest work. You can also peruse more of her work in her etsy shop and find her on Facebook.
How many hours do you work on a typical day?
I try to work four hours and day, two to three times a week.
How many pieces of jewelry do you produce within those hours?
The time it takes varies with every piece. If you were to include hours for designing, some have taken months. Once I complete a design, to replicate it or make something similar, two to three pieces can be made in a day.
Your designs are all very unique. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I love all different mediums of art. I love photography, sculpture, painting, music, film, etc. These things inspire me and directly or indirectly my pieces.
What is the process of creating each piece of jewelry like? Do you follow a similar process for each piece or do you experiment with different techniques?
The process of creating can often be frustrating for me, but I think that’s necessary. A piece never really comes out the way I originally envision it. There’s a bit of problem solving in each one, depending on the materials I use or the aspects of the design. I love the challenge and it’s gratifying when a piece is complete. I love to experiment with different techniques. There are so many great tools and techniques to play with.
How have your designs changed over the years?
I feel that I am finally finding a theme in my pieces. I started doing jewelry in metalsmithing. Then, I started experimenting with beading. I love both techniques and had fun doing so many different designs. I am more focused on what types of pieces I want to make, incorporating the various techniques that I’ve learned.
You worked at a well-known bead shop in Palo Alto. Did that experience prepare you for launching your own jewelry line?
Very much so. Working at the bead shop was such an incredible experience. I got to learn and work with so many great designers. They were all so inspiring and encouraging.
Tell us about your most recent collection.
My recent collection is still being built upon. My pieces are very eclectic, with a vintage feel. I think they’re fun pieces. I am currently working on more to add to it.
— SF Indie Fashion Contributor Kristina Wang