ArtTalk: Different materials influence style of handmade bohemian jewelry

Friday, May 2, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT
Mary Anne Flesch creates jewelry in a modern bohemian style. She makes necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings. She most enjoys creating collage pieces and resin jewelry. She uses a variety of materials, new and vintage, to give each piece its own look and feel.

The Columbia Missourian is relaunching a project called ArtTalk with the goal of celebrating and discussing local art and artists. To submit one yourself, fill out the form at the bottom of the story.

This story was contributed by Missourian reader Mary Anne Flesch.

Q: What kind of art do you create? Tell us about your medium and style.
A: I create jewelry in a modern bohemian style — I make a lot of necklaces because there's more surface area in which to design, but I also make bracelets, earrings and rings. The two styles I enjoy the most are collage pieces, using both old and vintage components and resin jewelry. With both styles I have the opportunity to use a variety of materials to create a definite look and feel to each piece.

Q: What is it that inspires you? And why do you create art?
A: My Grandfather taught me to embroider when I was very young, around age 9-10.  He was very meticulous in teaching me to make even stitches, and how to make a curve turn smoothly. I have carried that perfectionism on into many different mediums: sewing, knitting and eventually jewelry. I create jewelry because I love the feel of making things with my hands. I love holding a finished piece and having it turn out like I envisioned. It is a wonderful stress reliever, too. With a busy modern life, that part alone makes creating art worth it.

I look in many places for inspiration — nature, art (modern and classic), vintage jewelry. I use Pinterest to find vintage art and images to incorporate in my designs, as well as vintage postcards that I pick up at antique malls and shops. I belong to several jewelry-based Facebook groups, where members show off their work, learn and gain inspiration from each other. I try to keep up on fashion trends in a very general sense, but they usually don't dictate what I design.

Q: What sets you or your work apart from other artists?
A: I think most artists are set apart by their individuality. Because many of my designs include vintage bits of jewelry, watches, etc., they are often impossible to duplicate because the materials I used are no longer available. And many times when I have tried to repeat a design, it turns out different anyway — perhaps because I had different creative energy flowing on that particular day.

Q: Can your work be found around the community (or has it been in the past)? If so, where?
A: You can find my work displayed most Sundays at the North Village Farmer's and Artisan's Market, (9 a.m. to1 p.m. at Wabash Station) beginning April 27 and running through Oct. 26. I also sell my designs on Etsy, at

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.

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