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Mother Made: Interview with 'small pieces' jewelry designer, Carol Leskanic

August 15, 2016

CAROL LESKANIC - ‘small pieces’

Welcome to our first interview in CLOTH Journal called 'Mother Made'. These stories will highlight incredibly strong and inspiring women who are designing, creating and sharing their passions with the world.  Each woman is talented in their own way, I am happy to share my first interview with long time gilder, jewelry designer and personal friend, Carol Leskanic.  Her individual unique, children's necklaces are now available in our shop!   Enjoy, with love.   

At the heart of your art and design, you are a gilder. Tell us how you came up with the concept for ‘small pieces’, your line of necklaces that includes children’s pieces?  Usually I work on furniture or substantial art pieces which are time consuming and labor intensive. I was spending time in my studio one day and began gathering small bits of beautiful materials that I had saved over the years, remainders of past projects, when I had an idea to create an 'ingot' for myself. I've always been drawn to the idea that beauty can be found in unexpected places and these bits were so still so beautiful! After making the first piece, I realized the number of gorgeous, rich combinations of materials, colors and shapes was endless. I love the warm gentle feeling created by beautifully hand gilding a piece. I wanted to wear my ingot as a jewel and share it. I created 'Small Pieces' as mini works of art that would incorporate my refined technique and my knowledge of materials, acquired through my experience as a gilder, artist and designer.

You were a model growing up, how did your role in the fashion industry impact your career path later in life?  From a young age I was obsessed with design, craftsmanship and quality. I chose to study fashion design and then spent many years in the fashion industry. I was fortunate to work at a high level in that industry and was exposed to incredible talent and craftsmanship. Being around such creative energy and beautiful product helped me cultivate and home my own voice as an artist and designer.

The necklaces are so delicate, unique and one of a kind. What materials are used?   My intention was to continue with my love of high quality materials: so each piece is made of cherry or walnut with plans for other hardwood. Each piece is painted with natural ground pigment paints from Germany and then gilded with varying karats of the highest quality gold leaf. The piece is then strung on silk beading cord and finished with a 24kt gold bead.

This seasons collection included red, yves klein blue, and pale pink. What inspired your color palette?  The truth it is, its just a feeling from within.

You have two young children of your own, any tips for moms struggling to find balance?   It's hard, and I wish I had it figured out, but it just waxes and wanes. I think my best advice would sound pretty old fashioned: Our kids grow so fast; try to be present when you're with them, put down the phone, close the laptop, and when they are pulling, pawing, distracting and smothering you, give in to them. They will develop their own sense of security the more you're there when they run to you, and the quicker they will become independent. But, savor it all. There will be plenty of time to work.

We are excited for the Fall collection. Can you reveal any new colors that we’ll be coveting for our kid’s jewelry boxes?   Fall collection revolves around creamy, rich variations of black and white with yellow gold accents, and mini gilded cubes of various karats.

What are you and your daughters doing for the rest of the summer?   After spending most of July visiting close friends in multiple locations, for August, we've planned lots of nothing: relaxing, playing, swimming, enjoying sunshine, reading books and eating ice pops. And of course, snuggling for as long as my kids will have me!!! 

About Carol:  Ms. Leskanic, trained as a designer at FIT in New York City, had a successful career in fashion, then began an apprenticeship with a Master Gilder while continuing her studies in fine art, art history, as well as restoration and conservation.  She later became Head Gilder and Studio Manager at Gil and Lagodich in NY, a gallery specializing in period frames and museum-quality replicas, where she built a reputation for meticulous work and her scientific and creative approach to reproducing antique patinas.  Sought after for her fine finishes, she soon began working independently, collaborating with many leading contemporary artists,  as well as the internationally renowned designer Thomas O’ Brien.

Most currently I have adapted materials once again to create a collection of 'small pieces'... Signature jewelry created with the highest quality of materials, using pure pigment paints and varying karats of gold leaf.  Follow her on Instagram @carolleskanic.  For special orders email: carol@carolleskanic.com