We love featuring people who are chasing their dreams and making waves in Atlanta, and when those people are our friends AND just generally really, really awesome it makes the opportunity even more exciting.
lmnhandmade is the jewelry brainchild from Leslie Martin, an Atlanta-based designer who recently launched her line of American-made custom and commissioned pieces for sale on Etsy. Leslie harnesses the beauty of polymer clay, first introduced as a dollmaking and modeling material in Germany around 1930, and beautiful accents like wooden beads from Australia and colorful gems. It’s clear that her eye for beautiful design is inspired by both her love for southern art and culture coupled with her inspirational world travels.
While the beauty of her pieces is why we (begged) her to let us feature her designs on peachtreeroeadies.com, we were most delighted to learn that Leslie’s line is everything that makes homemade and independent design special and wonderful. Each of her pieces has a story and was inspired by something she experienced. That’s not to say she can’t create an enviable Georgia Bulldog tailgate necklace, she can and Kelly has one that she adores!
We sat down with Leslie (featured here with Davis, Chief S’mores Officer of lmnhandmade) to get the scoop on her beautiful line and what makes her handmade process so important.
What inspired you to start designing jewelry?
I majored in Fashion Merchandising from UGA, so I have always enjoyed fashion and playing with color and texture. It took a trip to Australia to get me inspired to start using my degree again! While in Australia I noticed a lot of jewelry being handmade, especially with polymer clay. I bought some Australian clay while there and played around with some designs. After being back home in Atlanta and wearing a few of the necklaces I made, I started to receive compliments on them from strangers and friends. My friend Ruthie encouraged me to start selling them and therefore I started lnmhandmade!
What inspires you?
I get a lot of inspiration for the colors and designs I use in the jewelry from fashion, art, textiles and this is random, but album covers! I am also an inspired by nature, specifically natural wood, and gem stones. The first necklace I made in Australia featured a wooden bead mixed with mint and white granite colored polymer beads. I contacted the shop in Berry, Australia where I got the wooden bead and ordered more! I’m excited to use those in some more necklaces in the next few weeks.
Why is the handmade concept exciting and meaningful to you?
Making something handmade is exciting because it is unique and one of a kind. I hand form every polymer bead I make, I do not use molds. Each bead has a different shape and texture. It is so easy to go out and buy something that a machine made, but to buy something that someone took time to make themselves makes the piece meaningful.
How do you select your colors and the unique combination?
I honestly select the colors that I like and go with that! I have a gotten a few requests for colors that I may not work much with, but that’s ok! It really is an organic process when it comes to the combinations. I like to play off of asymmetry too when making the jewelry.
How are you inspired by Southern design?
Being from the south, Albany, Ga., has definitely inspired my designs. I have already started thinking about college football (Go Dawgs) and how we like to dress up for game day! I will be happy to make custom necklaces based on team colors. Also, I am going to start experimenting with antler pieces for some necklaces for the fall! My brother-in-law is a hunter and so he, my sister and I are going to work on those. Pearls are a very southern staple in jewelry in the south but I think we also like to have unique/statement pieces that are good conversation starters. I hope that my jewelry can be that unique piece with a story.
Leslie’s shop is : https://www.etsy.com/shop/lnmhandmade
(We were not compensated for this post – in fact we had to chase Leslie down and beg her to let us feature her new line – it’s THAT incredible. Visit her shop and you’ll know why – just don’t buy everything out from under us!)