Panama City's sparkling blue waters and breathtaking sunsets are the perfect inspiration for creativity. As a result, talented artists of all stripes and colors call Panama City home. Every month we feature the handmade objects and inspiration of this creative core. This month, meet jewelry makers Laurette and Jeff Greenfield.
Meet PC Artists Laurette and Jeff Greenfield
How long have you been doing this and how did you get started?
I have been creative all of my life through drawing, music, scrapbooking and now beading. I have been creating beaded jewelry for around eight years. My mom shared her beads and my late grandmother's beads with me. I fell in love with beading instantly and had to have more beads to create more pieces with. I found old magazines and books among my grandmother's stash displaying the different varieties of beads and techniques. Through these books I taught myself techniques like bead weaving and wire bending.
Jeff has been creating pieces for about four and a half to 5 years. He's been in the construction field for nearly 30 years which has given him a love for wood working. He was given a lathe as payment for a job. He started spinning wooden vessels and then bracelets. He fell in love with how the exotic and domestic woods brought out their grains during the lathe process.
How has your work and technique evolved over time?
I have evolved my own style of creating, by
improving my materials, hand-picking my beads and always researching and looking through old and new styles of accessories. I began beading to help me cope with emotional and physical loss. Now, I create pendants, bracelets and earrings that assist others with their healing and with their losses. I create custom orders hoping the wearer and recipient will feel the intention of love and comfort I send to them as I create their jewelry.
At first, Jeff was spinning wooden bracelets on his lathe. Then he saw pictures of some cuff bracelets and it took him back to his teenage years. He wanted to bring cuff bracelets back. After several tries of developing cuff style that was sturdy enough with the wooden grains he found a design that works very well and holds up to pressures. His brother came to visit us and showed Jeff colored pencil art. Together they gathered all of our children's colored pencils and adventured into the creative process together. They experimented with glues, epoxy, resins all kinds of different ways to keep the colored pencils together and make them strong enough to create cuff bracelets. By the time his brother left they had the perfect bracelet. That's how the cuff colored pencil bracelet came to fruition.
How do you source your materials?
Jeff and I shop together when it comes to wood, pencils or beads. We like to handpick our wood and our beads. Some items are donated like the aforementioned beads from my mother and my grandmother's beads. As for colored pencils we normally buy them new.
How does living here in Panama City influence your work?
Our family relocated here from Danville, Virginia. Living in Panama City has been a huge change. The sun is always shining which creates a much happier environment. I love the colors of the sky with its big cotton ball fluffy clouds and the white sandy dunes and beaches set against the aqua, and often emerald green of the water. The atmosphere of artisans feeds my ambition to create. The environment definitely encourages artistry.
You can view and learn more about their work by clicking here.