Sunday, February 12, 2012

Introducing Lynnea Bennett

I want to introduce you to Lynnea Bennett!  Lynnea is a member of the Painting with Fire Ning, which, btw, has nearly 2300 members!  Anyway, Lynnea is a major contributor to the group in terms of her energy and talent.  I thought you might like to know a little more about her and her work.  Take it away, Lynnea!

How and why did I get started with torch fired enamels...

I discovered Painting with Fire one day while I was on Amazon...yes Amazon.  I was looking at books for metalworking and forming and up popped an ad for this book called Painting With Fire by someone named Barbara Lewis.  It looked interesting and so I Googled Barbara and found her website.  As I read the website and blog and watched a video I was instantly intrigued.  I loved that I could buy a few simple tools and create my own unique beads and focal pieces.  I did a bit more research online and decided that I would just go ahead and buy the kit (the glory of the internet) and then waited for it to be delivered.  I set up a spot for my work area.  I also signed up for the Ning in case I had any questions and stalked, I mean friended Barbara on Facebook.

I've been making torch fired enamel pieces for about nine months now.  I would love to take a class, but so far I haven't been able to.  Yes, I burned up a few beads and there is a spot on the carpet that I so far haven't had to explain to my husband (hint – hot metal will melt acrylic carpet).  At least if I ever need that shape again I know where to look!  Between the book and the group of artists I get to chat with every week at the Ning, I have jumped in to enameling with both feet.

How have my other interests/hobbies/career influenced my enamel, glass or jewelry designs

 My work began to evolve about 3 years ago and then in 2010 I was in a pretty serious car accident.  I had a head injury and wasn't able to create easily for about 6 or 7 months.  Then one day I had my mojo back!  I started to do some work with resin, stamped metals and other mixed media.  Making my own enameled pieces was another piece of this artistic puzzle I had started to put together.  Enamel work led to fold forming metal.  I made some beautiful leaves and lilies and enameled them.  I have it on good authority that the ribbon I won this summer was because of the enamel work I had done.  Painting with Fire opened a door to lampworking.  Since I already played with fire why not make glass beads too?  So I took a class in that and now I make most of my glass beads.  My jewelry designs are now truly custom and one-of-a-kind pieces of art.  I can create enamel and beads that are unique to that piece.  I often make beads first and design later, but I also will think of something I want to make and will make beads to fit what I see in my head.

What inspires me and what makes my work unique

I am inspired by colors, shapes and texture.  Yes I know this isn't very specific.  I usually have one thing that I look at and think...hmmm what can I make with that?  Since I started to do enameling and lampworking, I will often just make beads and when I am done (and the lampwork comes out of the kiln), I let them all sit together on a plate and decide who goes with who.  Then I start to arrange them and add things to the plate such as sari silk and various metal and glass beads and charms.  If I can't figure out how to make it work, I may walk away for a day or so and come back and play with the components again.  If I really can't figure it out, I may put everything away and then some day in the future bead A rolls next to chain C with charm F and … voila! … a piece of jewelry appears.

I never thought what I did was very unique until recently.  I have gotten so much positive feedback that I had to stop being so critical of my work.  You can only have so many people tell you that what you do is art before you have to believe them!

Do I sell my work/where/what is upcoming that I am excited about

I have a web site with links to my stores on Etsy and Handmade Artists Shops.  I mostly sell in person at a variety of art shows and gallery shows.  My client/customer/fan seems to be like me...they want to see and touch the jewelry and talk to the artist.  I like to tell them what inspired a particular piece.  I name most of my work and they seem to really like that I know the pieces by name.  I have had people say, “I bought some of your jewelry and when they describe it to me I say, ‘Oh, that is (name of the piece) I loved making that.’ ”  They seem to really appreciate that personal connection I have to my work.

I am slowly applying for shows in 2012 and there are several I did last year that I will definitely be doing again.  I also have a standing offer to show at a small local gallery and I have a large dance convention that I will be selling at again this year.  I plan to add a few more shows this year and see how it goes.  I am sticking with shows in the Cincinnati/Northern KY area for now, not quite ready to hang with the big guys at the national shows yet.

One thing I am working on this year is doing better with my website/online stores/blog presence.  As an artist I just want to make the art, but I know that if I don't sell what I make I can't buy more stuff.  I also will be participating in Lori Andersons 5th Bead Soup Party.

My advice and the rest of the story

I was in a class and one of the participants was worried that what she made didn't look right and that she wasn't doing it right.  I told her that there was no right in art.  Some of the things that I didn't think were very good turned out to be beautiful once I got over trying to be perfect and right.  We tend to be our worst critics.  Be happy and make what you love and you will find others who love it too.

Please visit Lynnea at
her website:
Handmade Artists' Shop:


Patti Van said...

I like her last comment the best - "there is no right in art"...that's my mantra! Lovely post today!

Lp said...

I've only been active at Barbara Lewis's Ning site for a few months. Lynnea was/is immediately likeable and is multi-talented. It's fun to look at her new work get inspired by it, and her enthusiam. YOU GO LYNNEA!

Sharon Driscoll said...

Wonderful work Lynnea - I need to get to the conversations...

Ruth Shapiro said...

Congratulations Lynnea! I loved reading your post and seeing your gorgeous pieces! You are a true inspiration!

Lee Anne said...

Great Blog today Barbara. So glad you picked Lynnea. She is so talent. Love it. and great websites Lynnea..

Penny said...

Beautiful pieces Lynnea, and wonderful advice. Great post Barbara.

Pretty Things said...

Holy cow but her work is utterly amazing.

Kathy Combs said...

Love this post, Barbara. Lynnea is creating some awesome work. It seems like she's "on fire" with creativity. Hope her spark is contagious!

Sally Anderson said...

What gorgeous work! Wow! So impressed, Lynnea!

Leslie Todd said...

Lynnea, I love the many textures in your work. And the colors! Gorgeous work...and you're right, we do tend to be our own worst critics. I keep reminding myself that I need to just jump in and do things.

Vicki said...

Thanks for publishing this.

Lynnea's work is beautiful and demonstrates a wealth of talent.

Love it.