Meet Lily Smith, returning artist to the Holiday Artist Market. Lily is a jewelry artist who makes fruit & veggie enamel and sterling silver jewelry. Get to know Lily and her colorful creations.
Spruill: How did you first get started in your chosen craft or art form?
Lily: I started making beaded jewelry when I was about 10 years old. In fact, I sold earrings and necklaces on a card table in front of my parent’s beach house that summer, and was eventually shut down by the cops for not having a permit to do so. We put a sign up in front of the house, ‘shut down by cops, come inside to buy’ and I ended up making $200 that weekend.
In a more formal setting, I went on to pursue metalsmithing at Virginia Commonwealth University, where I earned a BFA in Craft/Material Studies, focusing on Jewelry and Metalsmithing, as well as Fiber Arts. In 2015, I received my MFA from the University of Georgia with a focus in Jewelry, Fiber Arts and Paper Arts.
Spruill: What do you like best about your chosen craft or art form?
Lily: My favorite part about being a jeweler is creating work that goes out into the world every time it’s worn. Rather than two-dimensional art that might exist on a wall in someone’s home, my jewelry adorns its’ owner and can potentially evoke all kinds of emotions. I hope it makes the wearer feel pretty, strong, happy, and unique throughout the day.
Spruill: How important do you feel handmade is in our world?
Lily: To me, being intentional with my purchases is of the upmost importance. I like to surround myself with well-made and thoughtfully-designed products, which means they’re often handmade. A lot of it comes down to the feeling I have when I use a handmade mug, wear a piece of hand sewn clothing, or write in a hand-bound journal. We have a collection of 20 or more handmade mugs in my house, and part of the ritual of making coffee in the morning is picking out a mug. I get to decide if I want a handle or not, how I want the mug to fit in my hand, and how I want the mug to feel on my lips. That action is so much more fulfilling to me than selecting one of six identical mass-produced mugs. It’s also fun to see which mugs guests choose!
Humans have created using their hands for centuries, and in an age where more and more is being mass-produced and automated, I think the handmade is become more precious and necessary.
Spruill: What is your favorite thing about the Holidays?
Lily: I love having my whole family together for Christmas. I live very far away from my parents and my brother’s family, so when we get together for the holidays we really have a fun time. The whole family participates in cooking (my brother is an executive chef) so we have really fantastic meals, and my dad and I have fun creating our own cocktails. I have two little nephews that are a blast at Christmas. I LOVE giving gifts, and start making and buying gifts over the summer for the following Christmas.