Shana's Artist - Enchanted Leaves
Tell me about yourself as an artist (where you're based, your name if you aren't shy, etc, how long you've been creating)
Hello! I am Nedda, the maker behind Enchanted Leaves Jewelry. I was born and raised in super sunny Southern California. As a kid I was always drawn to making things: traditional painting and drawing, organizing elaborate neighborhood plays, having bake sales in my garage that featured a handmade gift shop with my illustrated greeting cards, clay sculptures, and beaded jewelry. "Creative" was definitely a repeated word featured on my report cards. I was (and still am) an anxiously shy kid, so I always jumped at the opportunity to use creating art as an expressive way to connect with my peers. I have never gravitated toward any other interest outside being a maker. I went on to attend California State University Channel Islands, earning my BA in Art, with an emphasis on fine art, graphic design, and photography.
When did you start designing jewelry? What made you start?
Jewelry designing and fantasy illustration started off as a fun hobby while I attended college. Even after completing school, I sold real leaf jewelry online and at local shows while I worked as a graphic artist in the fashion industry. The leaves quickly became so popular, that I realized that I needed to market and brand them as their own entity. Stemmed from the element of fantasy, I started “Enchanted Leaves” for my jewelry designs. Shortly after, I was fortunate to be able to quit my day job and focus on my jewelry full time.
Most of your work is inspired by nature. Tell us a bit about that (maybe why or how you choose the subject you choose)
As a kid, you would find me outside collecting leaves and flowers to put in my pressed book, searching for caterpillars, beetles and ladybugs, climbing trees, hunting for mushrooms, making friends with the lizards, bunnies and squirrels, gathering shiny rocks and acorns, or down at the wash wading in the water catching frogs! I always had sticks in my frizzy mop of hair, grass stained knees, and mud on my feet. Naturally, I've continued to consistently draw design inspiration and styles from my love, admiration and fascination with the raw, whimsical beauty of everything that grows from up the soil and creatures that fly, hop, crawl, and sing. Today you can still find me outside, gathering leaves, acorns, twigs, pinecones, seed pods, moss, shells, and other natural materials to use to create unique jewelry designs.
Our readers would probably like to know about your electroforming talent! What is electroforming? Why does it make your leaf necklaces so pretty?
I use a really fun and creative method called electroforming, which is a technique that uses chemistry and electricity to plate nearly any material with copper. It has allowed me to have science meet nature in the most beautiful way.
To immortalize my leaves into pendants, I start the prep by gently removing the inner issue of the leaf, keeping the skeleton vein structure intact. Then I attach a bail/jump ring and any other embellishments (gemstones, a twig, more leaves, glass, clay- the sky is the limit!). Once I'm satisfied with the design, it gets a few coats of conductive paint on the areas that I wish to grow the copper. This creates a "road map" for where the current will flow in the electrical circuit it will soon be a part of. Next, the piece is ready to go as a cathode into a copper sulfate solution bath with a copper anode. Low current is applied (0.1A per in²), and the copper particles in the solution transfer onto the conductive painted areas on my design. Once it's formed to my desired aesthetic (anywhere from 8-24 hours!), I can either keep the raw, beautiful and shiny copper finish, or give the leaf a patina to bring contrast within the lacey skeleton veining. It's a very fun and addicting process!
Several years ago, my better half and I began running live demos of this process at our fairs and events. It not only helped to provide a better understanding of the process (most people assume they are simply "dipped" in molten copper), but it also sparked the drive in me to contribute to the maker community even further by continuing to sharing my knowledge in this fascinating technique. The response was phenomenal, and soon we began offering supplies, starter kits, and free online tutorials and resources for artists and hobbyists to electroform at home.
Do you have any pets? What are their names? Got any pics?
Yes! I have two 2 year old special little sister cats! Sierra is a silver speckled tabby, and Sequoia is a sleek bullseye tabby. They are both incredibly vocal and always eager to meet new people and show off their (very spotted) bellies to them. They are mischievous little sock thieves who can't resist a good fresh new cardboard box to explore and occupy. What gets them most excited is when a large cranefly makes its way into the house for them to hunt. They came from a lively litter of seven (4 girls and 3 boys) that were fostered by our friends at KittenDorm via Kitten Rescue LA. Fun fact: Jenna Fischer/Pam Beesly of "the Office" adopted their brother, Sonny, a spunky little orange striped tabby! Fun fact #2: Sierra and Sequoia are human-toilet potty trained!
You've worked with Shana for over a decade! What's that like?
Like I reconnected with an old friend! And I am so happy and honored to have the opportunity for another "reunion"! Her mission is so refreshing and necessary in a commerce driven world full of algorithms and corporations. (Also, did you know she is a talented artist herself??) I am looking forward to collaborations and exclusives in the future!
What's something that most people don't know about you? (it could be other hobbies, a place you which you could visit, a pet peeve, anything at all)
I used to be able to hear a song on the radio/tv/stereo, or from memory, and replay the melody on the piano without knowing the notes. One of my biggest regrets as an adult is not pursuing my "musical" ear and becoming properly trained in music when I was a child.