I have always been involved in the arts my entire life whether it was playing flute in the school band, creating “masterpieces” in art class or taking a fieldtrip to a local art museum. I was exposed to a variety of cultures growing up a “military brat”. Due to the adventurous spirit of my mom and Dad, I was never allowed to sit on the sidelines and just watch. I was led, sometimes reluctantly, into all the experiences that my surrounding environment could provide in the short period of time we would remain there. As a result I was exposed to a plethora of cultures, art forms and life experiences that laid the ground work for the art I create and the artist I have become.
As a non-traditional married student, I earned a Bachelor degree in Metals at Ball State University. While exploring the many avenues of artistic expression that the art department had to offer, I fell in love with fiber and metals. Each medium offers a myriad of design and texture possibilities which are not mutually exclusive. I love to play with texture as is evident in all my pieces. I find precious metal wire lends a wonderful texture to the semi-precious stones, glass and other elements that I use to create my jewelry designs. As a former weaving major in college I find it very satisfying and almost “thread like” in the way the wire can be manipulated into a final one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art. I recently have begun to explore the ancient technique of Viking knit as a method of making unique bracelets and other pieces. It has some great possibilities.
At present I participate in 22-24 art shows a year and have been privileged to receive a few awards along the way. Among those awards are Best of Show in Effingham Art Show, Effingham, IL; 1st place in 3-D at River Arts Festival, Hannibal, MO; 2nd place in 3-D at Christmas in July Show, Sedalia, MO as well as others. I belong to three great art organizations. I am a juried member of Greater St. Louis Artist Association (GSLAA) and juried member of Best of Missouri Hands (BOMH), as well as Membership Chair for the Society for Midwest Metalsmiths (SMM).
I would not have been able to accomplish any of this without the undying support of my business partner and loving husband of 35 years. His full time job has allowed me the freedom to explore this new career path unfettered. After watching my two beautiful daughters blossom into wonderful young women with lives and families of their own, I find myself enjoying my new role as a full time artist. My life has been and continues to be a wonderful adventure. Lee Richards