My work is literal. This is because I feel jewelry should do more than just be a materialistic object. For me, I want it to tell a pretty clear story, or have an impact on the wearer. It should give the wearer some kind of bragging rights, something to talk about or have a personal connection to.

There is so much stuff I don't know. And this is a good thing. Artistic jewelry provides me with the opportunity for unlimited learning and exploration.

Like many creatives, I have a pretty wild background. My dad was a neurosurgery pioneer; my aunt collected Italian Futurism in the 1950s; we owned three homes, including a two-story residence on a small island in Lake Huron. I even went to a Swiss boarding school for a year and drove a Mercedes in high school in Ann Arbor. Yet for some reason, I became a crime reporter and specialized in prostitution and missing persons cases for five years. I felt it was a way to come to a better understanding of the world by working with people who had been so marginalized by society. It also taught me how to talk to just about anybody. Later, after a stint in a structural engineering office as a manager, I nabbed a design reporting job and interviewed every industrial designer coming through the booming Denver area. When this newspaper failed during the recession, I decided I wanted to work with beautiful things and melted three pounds of my late mother-in-law's sterling silver flatware in order to learn silversmithing, stone cutting and casting. Today I make and write about jewelry.

Betsy Lehndorff

Hubbard Lake Silversmiths

5990 Pine St., Hubbard Lake, MI 49747


Born in Ann Arbor, I spent my adult life in Colorado, working as a reporter. This includes a seven year assignment as staff design writer for The Rocky Mountain News in Denver, where I interviewed industrial designers like Jonathan Adler, James Dyson and Karim Rashid. In 2007, I began studying silversmithing and learned to cut stones, working with local minerals. I moved to Northeast Michigan in 2011, where I have a home studio. In 2016 I sold over $5,000 worth work through a single gallery. Although expenses increased, 2017 earnings are three times that amount through silversmithing, the creation of a line of inexpensive production jewelry, writing and teaching. Inspired by a manufacturing boot camp at Alpena Community College, I have been pursuing opportunities to learn more about high-tech manufacturing processes, and have been writing and blogging professionally about the combined power of handcraft and mass production methods.


Artist’s Statement

Three things play out in my work. One is the question: can I innovate? The second is: can my jewelry be something more than sterling silver and stone? Can it tell a story or a joke? Can it give the wearer a different kind of experience, beyond decoration? Finally, will my surroundings in the backwoods of Michigan find their way into my compositions? These objectives have resulted in a body of regional work that I feel has depth, wearability and distinctive appeal.



University of Minnesota, Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts, Minneapolis 1975

University of Colorado-Boulder, Master’s in Journalism, Boulder 1979

Metropolitan State College, Denver, 18th and 19th Century art history 1989

Art Students League of New York – life drawing, stone carving 1992

Clear Creek Academy, Denver with Joe Korth – silversmithing 2008

Hyland Hills Recreation Center, Federal Heights, Colorado – silversmithing 2009

Tom Herman, Denver School of Metal Arts – metal carving 2010

Kate Wolf, Portland, ME -- figurative wax carving 2017 MCACA POD grant

Don Friedlich, St. Louis – Multiples 2017 MCACA POD grant


Galleries & Retail Outlets

Three Pines Studio and Gallery, Cross Village, MI

Main Branch Gallery, Grayling, MI

Local, Hubbard Lake, MI


Ann Arbor Art Center 2016

WSG gallery, Ann Arbor, Holidays 2016

Art in the Loft, Alpena, MI 2015

Domaci Art Gallery, Rogers City, MI 2016



Ann Arbor Art Fair with Michigan Silversmiths Guild 2013, 2014 & 2017

Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center Holiday Show 2015

Birmingham Bloomfield 34th annual Fine Arts Competition juried by Terence Hammonds, 2016

Detroit Artists Market Holiday Show 2017

Dragonfly Gallery, Harrisville, MI – guest artist August 2014

Muskegon Museum of Art 88th Regional Art Show juried by Tom Lundberg, 2016, Gift Purchase.

Refined IX: Humor, Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts, Nacogdoches, TX juried by Andy Cooperman 2016

University of Michigan Health Services, Ann Arbor, Gifts of Art solo show, 2nd floor main corridor, 2014 and 2016



Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, November 2010 – Cripple Creek Turquoise and project

Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, December 2010 – Torch fired diamonds in PMC

Rock & Gem, March 2011 – The Perfect Setting – Low Cost Silversmithing Classes

Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, May/June 2013 – Michigan’s Copper & Large-Hole Bead Project

Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, July 2013 – Detroit’s Tech Shop and Cast Pewter Project

Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, January/February 2015 – Thunder Bay Amethyst & Pendant

Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, April 2016 – Trends in Pearls, Step-by-Step How to Carve Pearls

Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist March 2018 – MCACA grant allows me to study wax carving with Kate Wolf; look for grants in your area

Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist April 2018 -- Carving with Kate Wolf; 3D scanning and printing

Jewelry Making Daily weekly contributor posting topics, including those, which were a result of the MCACA grant.



2016: Freshwater pearl carving techniques at Studio JSD, Grand Haven, MI; Ann Arbor Art Center; Washington Heights Art Center Lakewood, CO, and private students.

2017 to date: pearl carving and lectures at Metalwerx, Waltham, MA; William Holland School of Lapidary Arts, Young Harris, GA; Florida Society of Goldsmiths, West Palm Beach, FL; Bead & Button Show, Milwaukee, WI.




Where to Buy

Work is not available for sale through the SNAG website. Please contact the artist directly to inquire about making a purchase.