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5 questions with Challenge winner Lisa Tornello

AugustWireDCWinner_wtext
The winner of the Facet Design Challenge for August, 2016, in the Wire category was Lisa Tornello for her piece. The theme of the challenge was HARMONY.

Her piece, Charoite Scribble necklace, features cascading triangles of argentium sterling with brass accents, surrounding a beautiful charoite cabochon. 

Lisa Tornello was born in Baltimore and left for New York in 1980 to follow her career. She now resides in New Jersey and is a professional graphic artist by day and an award winning jewelry designer by night. 

Coming from a fine arts background, she worked in oils, watercolors, pottery, basketry and quilting, before discovering her true passion for metalsmithing. From early on, her interest in the environment has influenced her choice of materials and design, ergo “Cycles of Nature”. 

Each piece of Lisa’s jewelry is hand-fabricated using traditional metal and wire working techniques. Lisa works primarily in Argentium sterling silver accented with gold, copper and brass, along with semi-precious stones and the decidedly not so precious stones she picks up on her travels or walks along the beach... a unique combination of metal and imagination!
driveway stone earrings
Driveway stone earrings
Photo/Lisa Tornello
Spanish beach stone pin
Spanish beach stone pin
Photo/Lisa Tornello

1. ARE YOU A PROFESSIONAL JEWELRY-MAKER, OR IS THIS A HOBBY? HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN CREATING?

I am a graphic designer by day and a jeweler by night.

2. HOW DID YOU LEARN JEWELRY-MAKING?

My first exposure to jewelry making was during my senior year of college in 1975. I was part of an exchange program with the College of Ganado in Arizona, located on a Navajo Indian reservation. I took a silversmithing class taught by Mr. Roanhorse! Looking back now, I realize how rudimentary it was (we used handheld propane tanks), but to this day I still have and use the mini file set we each received.

The next class that I took was about 10 years later, after I had moved to New York. I took a night class at The County Center in White Plains. Then, another 10 years later, after I had married and moved to New Jersey, I took an adult-ed class in a neighboring town and have been hooked ever since.

3. WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN ESTHETIC?

In advertising, it’s non-stop deadlines and trying to please the person above you (who is just trying to please the person above them and so forth and on). My jewelry is my solace. I make what I want to make, when I want to make it, and the only person I have to please is myself. Each and every one of my creations is a piece of me, and I feel truly honored when someone connects enough to spend their hard earned money to purchase one of them.

4. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE MATERIALS TO USE IN YOUR WORK?

I love working with silver, specifically Argentium. I also love stones—and not the perfect ones. I love stones with inclusions and matrix and interest! And almost never calibrated stones—I love freeform irregular shapes. And not just gemstone or semi-precious stones—some of my favorite pieces have been created using stones that I have picked up off the beach or out of driveways. 

5. WHERE CAN PEOPLE SEE MORE OF YOUR WORK?

Because I am so busy working my day-job and the fact that all of my pieces are one-of-a-kind I have never quite gotten around to creating a website. Once I retire, that will be my first priority!

I do a few shows each year and now have some of my pieces in two shops: The Craft Lounge in Leonia, NJ and The Gallery of Bliss in Basking Ridge, NJ.

If anyone would like to contact me for a PDF of available pieces, please email me at sketchyb@verizon.net

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