Handcrafted. It’s a word that holds so much meaning in the handmade and artisanal world. We wanted to meet with some of aftcra’s talented artisans to share what “handcrafted” means and the importance of buying handmade goods.
Leanna Prejean of aftcra’s Lemon Lime Creations shared the inspiration behind her work, the what she enjoys about creating her beautiful custom hand-stamped jewelry, and what handcrafted means to her. You can visit Lemon Lime Creations to view and shop her work.
We hope you enjoy Leanna’s story.
Can you tell us a little about Lemon Lime Creations?
I make hand stamped jewelry. I specialize in cuff bracelets. While I mainly make completely custom order items, I also am constantly searching for new phrases to put on bracelets.
My inspirations are life in general – my family, experiences (good and bad), news articles, the Bible and classic books. Quotes, sayings and phrases have to mean something to me if I am going to put it on a bracelet and offer it to the public. After all, I might be hand stamping that phrase over and over again if it strikes a cord with others.
What does “handcrafted” mean to you?
Handcrafted means taking talent, tools and materials to create something. The tools might be improvised, the materials something re-purposed; or, state of the art equipment and top of the line materials. However, the maker, using talent, skill, vision and (depending upon the situation) interpretation of the customer’s description, is creating something original with their own two hands.
What makes handmade goods so important?
Handmade items require dedication to be made. They require strength of character, determination and love. A maker puts their heart and soul into their items – this is their dream they are fulfilling in making the item, their skills they are using. I love the uniqueness of each item. Even when making an item using the exact same material, pattern and tools, no two handmade items are exactly the same. And that is beautiful.
As an artisan, how do you keep reinventing yourself?
I think you reinvent yourself everyday, simply by living in our world. You are not the same person going to bed that you were when you woke up that day – you’ve experienced new things, thought new thoughts.
My line of bracelets continually grows and revolves. Phrases I made constantly a year ago are not often requested. Sometimes they don’t inspire me anymore, and I replace that item with a new item. Or rework the sample into a new design and different font.
I retake product pictures as often as time permits – cameras are my nemesis. I am constantly looking for new ways to stage a picture. I am constantly curating photos. If the picture wouldn’t catch my eye, doesn’t reflect my style and taste, it will get replaced, even if it looks like it was taken by a professional photographer. I have probably 100-150 bracelets currently that I have not added to my shops, because I have not been satisfied with the picture.
What do you enjoy most about making?
I am working with my hands – crafting something that will be worn and loved. I love what I do, and I feel that when a maker loves their craft, it shows in the workmanship. I love that if I keep making mistakes (we all have those days), I can go sit outside with my cats in the sunshine for a while and then come in and start over.
I love that I am creating something that I designed with my customers. All of my bracelets can be customized on the inside as well as outside. I find it interesting to have that little peak of what “hidden” message a buyer adds to the inside. It gives you an insight to the buyer and wearer, a little glimpse of someone’s soul. Often, I will spend hours trading emails with customers, until we have come up with the perfect phrase, font and personalized inscription for a gift. That is what makes this all special and unique – the one on one communication and personally crafting something that becomes a meaningful piece of jewelry and a heirloom.
Visit Lemon Lime Creations.