lisa vetter’s talisman neckpiece workshop: a day in the country making art

I didn’t go into work on Thursday. Instead I had an art day in Spencerville, Indiana at Lisa Vetter and Paul Siefert’s Art Farm. An easy 2 1/2 hour drive from Ann Arbor took me into the Amish countryside of eastern Indiana where The Art Farm sits, surrounded by working farms.

Lisa and Paul are art geniuses, turning reclaimed objects and materials into home goods and jewelry. Generously sharing their wonderful life, Lisa offers workshops in their studio from time to time. My niece Rebecca makes jewelry and friend/haircut client Karen makes all kinds of art, including jewelry. When Lisa announced Thursday ‘s Talisman Neckpiece Workshop, I knew just who would hit the road with me for a fun art day.

While I drove, Karen and Rebecca showed each other the objects and beads they were bringing to the workshop. Our level of excitement was as high as the things we each brought with us were cool. Imagine how geeked we were when we drove through the Spencerville Covered Bridge, minutes from the Art Farm. We were well into old country coolness! And the road to a day of art.

After the thrill of the vintage covered bridge, what fun to pull into the Art Farm drive, horn honking, with Lisa waiting for us outside the purple studio!

A-R-T screamed everywhere — especially when we walked inside! I was so distracted by what I’d find inside, I didn’t get enough pictures outside. Lisa and Paul’s restored 1860’s home and studio exude artistic cleverness in frugal recycling and reuse of found and thrown away goods. The talented couple have filled their home and studio with their work and the works of artist friends they’ve on the art fair circuit, nationwide.

But, back to the workshop. Here’s Becs and Karen getting ready to get to work. To participate in Lisa’s workshop, we were instructed to bring trinkets, charms, old jewelry, anything that can be turned into a charm to hang off the necklace we would be creating. Talisman neckpieces are the outcome of putting these personal mementos onto this wearable artpiece.

.  .  . man o man did we have fun! Lisa provided supplies and tools and her expertise, while we spent over three hours creating our neckpieces. I brought old jewelry from home, earrings, necklaces and charms from the store that hadn’t sold and trinkets I found around my house. None of us had a “plan” for what we’d create, but the creative process got juiced the moment we took our places at the work table.

My necklace on its way . . . and Karen’s progressing.

Bec’s is done!

. . . and so is mine!

A day worth taking off from work, for all of us! And here’s Lisa at work in her studio.

. . . and showing off my necklace in front of a painting of her.

Here’s a few images from Lisa and Pauls life:

Pauls’ lamps and candleholders made from reclaimed objects.

Their incredible shower and studio sink made from recycled tiles and objects.

Lisa’s clocks and wall icons.

Lisa’s collection of fiber used in wall icons, jewelry, and upcycled clothing.

Lisa’s jewelry on display in the studio.

Two token pieces in process.

. . . and a completed one.

Paul makes fabulous homegoods such as lamps and lighting, tables, candleholders. Everything is created from recycled objects, including bowling balls, found lamp parts, globes, pieces from kids toys. Really feckin’ cool stuff.

Paul’s lampmaking workshop.


Check out the trim detail they’ve used throughout the house. Yardsticks! Feckin’ brilliant!

Lisa and Paul on the road selling their goods. What a life.

I guess you can tell I thoroughly enjoyed my day off art day in the country. Today I wore my talisman neckpiece to work. It was such a hit — you made this?! — I now have a list of people who want to go with me to the next workshop! So girls, start collecting your throw-aways. They’re going to make great fodder for a really cool piece of wearable art — made by you!