BIO: Lee Cunningham Designs evolved out of my personal interest in bold, statement piece necklaces. I was buying necklaces from a woman who had a wonderful collection of beads. I’d pick out the beads and tell her how I wanted them strung and soon realized that I was more than capable of doing the stringing myself. The design work was the interesting part of the process. The rest of it was easy.
My necklaces are inspired by and informed by the beads themselves. I rarely have a preconceived idea of exactly what a piece is going to look like. Rather I fiddle with different bead combinations until I arrive at what looks and feels right.
To finish the pieces off I work with a local silversmith, Leslie Wind, and together we design hand wrought sterling silver pendants, each specific to an individual necklace.
I am currently working with a ceramic artist in Belgium who has designed wonderful, brightly colored, ceramic beads to my specifications. The process of creating the beads takes about four weeks as each bead is handmade, needs two weeks to dry, and then another two weeks to be glazed and fired.
There is a great deal of joy in derived from working with the artists who create the components of my pieces and there is a great deal of pleasure that comes out of seeing one of my pieces worn with pride.