Cindy Liebel never planned on becoming a jeweler. Yet after receiving a lesson in metalworking about 12 years ago, it was hard to avoid her interest in the craft.
“I took some classes in metalsmithing and wire wrapping, and then after that I just got completely hooked and invested a good amount of money in books to enhance my knowledge on it all,” says the Fredericksburg resident who has since turned the hobby into a full-fledged business by the name of Cindy Liebel Jewelry.
Since opening the company in 2014, Liebel has released nine collections of jewelry, consisting of earrings, necklaces and rings, which she makes herself out of metals and gemstones. The pieces are composed of both gold and silver, portraying a modern look that is unique in its simplicity.
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In September, Liebel debuted the latest compilation of her work, the Aurora Collection, featuring several earrings and necklaces made solely from pure metal. While you won’t find her pieces at a storefront in the region, you’ll likely see her at a nearby pop-up or holiday market this winter.
Before showcasing the collection in person, we chatted with Liebel to find out more. Highlights from our conversation are below.
Your pieces are so complex and unique. Where do you gather your design inspiration from?
From everywhere really, but I am very interested in architectural and interior design. On top of that, the material itself inspires me. I love to play with shapes and figure out ways to create very clean, minimal lines that still have movement. Also, patterns I notice in fashion and clothing materials tend to have an influence on my work.
What’s it like being part of the maker community here in NoVA?
It’s nice because it’s different for me. When you work full time for yourself, you are alone. But there are so many makers in the NoVA, DC and Richmond community that keep me going and inspired. I don’t have my own storefront, rather I sell to stores throughout the U.S. and abroad in Canada and Japan. Only a few things in Japan, but still. I make all of the pieces by hand in what my husband built for me—he calls it my lady lair—which is my workshop in our backyard.
You debuted the Aurora Collection in September. Tell us about the pieces.
The collection is composed of circular movement with a very simple shape. Ironically, it was slightly inspired by archaeology, and mostly this one painting. There’s a painting in my home that I created during a wine-and-sip event, and in it there are light pink swirls in the background of the sky. That image itself really inspired me, so I started playing with the wire in a similar way. By taking a really simple thing and transforming it kind of made me think of space, leading me to name a lot of the pieces within the collection after gods and goddesses. It all sort of ties in together.
Do you have a favorite piece to make?
I love my new Aurora Threaders, they are so fun to make. I just love how I can create these pieces that are so dramatic when you wear them, but so pure and simple on their own without any work.
In the coming months, view Liebel’s most recent creations at these nearby events:
Art Star Holiday Craft Bazaar
Nov. 23-24, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Event Center at Sugarhouse Casino: 1001 N. Delaware Ave., Pennsylvania; free
Unique Markets Holiday Market
Dec. 1, time to be announced
Union Market: 1309 Fifth St. NE, Washington, DC; tickets available soon
Dec. 6-8, times vary
Heurich House Museum: 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, DC; $3-$20
Crafted Holiday Brunch Market Esoteric
Dec. 15, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Esoteric VB in The Vibe District: 501 Virginia Beach Blvd., Unit A, Virginia Beach