Tell us about yourself and how did you get started with your art?
I am a Uruguayan-born, Colorado-based Jewelry designer and self-taught maker. I’ve been part of Commonwheel artist co-op for the past 4 years as a jeweler, blog contributor, art show curator and participating artist at many gallery shows with different designs, mediums and creations.
Making jewelry started as a hobby 14 years ago. Before that, I was focusing more on my architectural studies and I painted in oil as a past time. I took classes in pottery and photography for fun, I did pet portraits for friends and designed my own Christmas cards for my family. However, I found the most challenge with jewelry making, not only a whole new world of exciting gemstones, but also so many different jewelry techniques to create my designs. Within the first few months, my jewelry grew in complexity and craftsmanship and it didn’t take long before I started my own jewelry business. Today I still dabble in different mediums and keep exploring new techniques—you can read more about my last collection submitted to the Garden Art show at Commonwheel here.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on my Summer collection consisting of pretty, bright colors and a mix of statement necklaces and easy to wear bracelets—you can visit my Facebook page to check my latest news. My favorite style lately has been the long braided necklaces usually paired with ethnic amulets and vintage objects I find while rummaging through gem shows and antique stores. It takes many hours of design, creation and full attention to detail, however the end result is an elegant and strong necklace that feels soft and flexible when worn.
Tell us about your creative process.
I apply my own personal methodical process learned from my studies on Architecture, Art history, design and lots of practice and patience! I work with a variety of metals –sterling, gold filled, copper, brass—in a free but selective process. Most of my silver and copper pieces get oxidized and polished by hand to create a vintage look or to emphasize contrast between the gemstones and the metals. I use semi-precious stones and freshwater pearls with occasional swarowski crystals, African trading beads and Japanese beads, mostly depending on what the design calls for. When I was a child I loved to collect old coins and keys, so I bring that element into my designs as well, incorporating interesting found objects, amulets, crosses, religious medals, chandelier crystals and antique pendants that add an intriguing, old-world touch to the whole line. I want each piece of jewelry to have a special meaning and character so that the owner will cherish it and wear it with intention and appreciation to handmade.
What do you enjoy most doing?
One of my favorite jewelry techniques is wire-wrapping stones where I use very thin wire to link or attach gemstones or beads. Earrings are a process of love and patience. Teardrops are matched closely, wire wrapped like a science, and ear wires are shaped, hammered and smoothly filed on the ends for a comfortable fit through your earlobes. All the rosary-style wire-wrapped beaded chains you’ll see in my collection are entirely made by me, bead by bead, link by link, in a lengthy but therapeutic process. In the past years I’ve incorporated crochet, macramé and braiding as a way of mixing in fiber and bringing in a more organic feel to my wire designs. What I enjoy the most is to plan the whole collection with a cup of coffee in one hand and a sketch book and pencil on the other and seeing it come to fruition on my working table. It is very rewarding to admire the final result before it’s all gone to different boutiques and markets.
What tool(s) in your studio could you not live without?
Two tools are essential that I hold on each hand at all times: my round nose pliers and my chain nose pliers. Just add beads and wire for a great start!
Is there anything new in the shop that you are very excited about?
Besides my colorful crochet wrap bracelets that are fun to wear, I’ve introduced a new line of macramé bracelets with stamped words celebrating all things Colorado. I am working on new Summer colors that are really beautiful and easy gifts for any age.
Where can we find your work?
You can find a specially selected jewelry collection displayed at Commonwheel gallery at all times, as well as these local stores: Green Horse Gallery in Manitou Springs; Poor Richard’s Bookstore in Colorado Springs; EllyBlue in Old Colorado City; Honeycomb & co in Denver; Fratelli Restaurante in Colorado Springs.
If you are looking for something unique and love outdoor art fairs, visit me at any of this Colorado shows coming up: Greeley -Park your Art, July 28-29; Woodland Park -Mountain Artists, August 4-5; Loveland -Art in the Park, August 11-12; Commonwheel Art Festival in Manitou Springs, September 1-2-3; Rock Ledge Ranch in Garden of the Gods, September 14-15-16. I always bring one-of-a-kinds and special pieces that cannot be find anywhere else.
If you live out of state and wish to purchase online, please visit Commonwheel online store and my Etsy shop.
For more info about me and my line, visit my website www.dolcedeleti.com and
Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/dolcedeleti
Visit our Commonwheel Artist Co-op store to receive 10% off Leti’s jewelry through the whole month of July (in-store sales only).