Nancy Lee is an IUPUI Fall 2020 alumni with a degree in English Creative Writing and a minor in Women’s Studies. While she was a student, she submitted to genesis three different times, one of which was accepted in the Spring 2018 issue, and two of which were accepted in the Fall 2019 issue. On top of that, she was an apprentice editor in the Spring 2018 issue and an editor in the Fall 2018 issue.
While one of the accepted pieces was a writing piece, we remember her for her incredible metalwork pieces. Very rarely do we get submissions as unique hers in terms of the medium. She continues this passion into her work, as she owns a metalworking company under the title of Nancy Lee Designs. I highly recommend checking her work out, it’s all stunning!
What follows is a summary of her answers to specific questions.
What interesting tidbits about you would you like for us to share (where you're from, how many siblings you have, favorite food, favorite book/author/artist, are you a coffee or tea drinker, etc.)?
She’s the middle child with an older and a younger sister (they’re both awesome). Her older sister is in the medical field teaching nursing students, while her younger sister is in the insurance industry as a manager.
Nancy is the artist in the family with a job in metalworking but she’s looking to improve her writing skills as well. She’s a part of the Fall 2020 class, graduating at 60 years old. Her favorite author is Adrenne Rich, who inspired her minor capstone project and major capstone poetry suite. She also performed her poems at Refusing to be Silenced - Women’s History Month Awards back in March 2021. She’ll be performing more of her poems at the Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Program celebration, which is scheduled for April 30, 2021.
During her time as an editor, she was one of the few that had some background in art, as her ex boyfriend was a career artist and gallerist, so she was a fantastic asset in guiding people in the art critiques. In fact, she’s responsible for the inclusion of the size and medium of the pieces being printed in our current issues.
Odyssey 1 - Kiln-fired enamel on Copper mounted in wood frame
Have you met your career goals with Nancy Lee Designs? Is there anything you’re still working towards?
She’s still got some goals she’s working towards, even though she’s been making jewelry for about 25 years. She says got lots of techniques she still wants to learn, not just as a metalsmith, but also as a human being.
She wants to expand her repertoire in techniques as a jeweler and expand production in kiln fired enamel paintings. She’s only been doing those kinds of paintings for five years, so she’s looking to find more techniques to improve in that field.
In her personal life, she’s looking to learn more about different writers and poets. In fact, she’s got a memoir in the works.
Amethyst Passionflower Necklace - Oxidized sterling silver with kite-shaped amethyst
What works were accepted into genesis and what issues were they in? Did any of them receive any awards?
She’s had three pieces accepted. The first one was a poem titledSharp Season back in the Spring 2018 issue, and she had two paintings accepted in the Fall 2019 issue, those being Sisterhood and Horton’s World.
Sisterhood - Vitreous enamel on copper
Horton's World - Vitreous enamel on copper
What was your inspiration behind any of those pieces? Any interesting stories behind them?
Sharp Season is a poem she wrote about her ex boyfriend.
Sisterhood is a kiln fired enamel painting on a copper box of three girls jumping into the surf. This one’s especially close to her not just because she’s got two sisters, but also because the ghostly shadow of the girls was actually a mistake. She’s not quite sure how to replicate it, which makes its beauty all the more special to her. The piece is also pretty small in size, only 5” x 5”.
Horton’s World is another kiln fired enamel painting on a copper box, but this one was made after the drawings of Ernst Haeckel, who’s made drawings of different single-celled marine life. Her piece was made by applying graphite pencil and white ink on a glass surface, then fusing it all together. This one’s also 5” x 5”.
What would you say to fellow students who feel they are struggling creatively?
Always have two pieces going on at the same time, one that’s big and serious and one that you can let go on. Doesn’t matter if they’re art pieces, poems, essays, or whatever it is you like to do, just have two projects going on at the same time. When the serious one starts to get tough, switch over to the other one where you can let out your frustrations without any restrictions.
Another good thing to consider is to put your piece away and out of sight, then come back to it later after you’ve depressurized. You’ll be refreshed and ready to go again.
Anything else you want us to write about we haven’t covered? Anything about Nancy Lee Designs? Other studio art work?
She’s looking to do alternative wedding rings for same-sex couples. She’s also trying to appeal to non big-box jewelry store clients, clients who are younger, clients who are interested in handmade work, and people who are interested in ethically sourced gemstones and recycled gold. If any of those interest you, consider giving her work a look!
She’s currently redoing her gallery space. It’s going to be refreshed whenever people come back through this summer. She’d love to see some IUPUI students when she reopens with an open house on the first Friday of June (June 4th, 6:00-9:00pm).
She’s also available by appointment through her website or Instagram.
Wedding Rings, Kacie and Kelly - White gold and red spinel
You can find more of Nancy Lee’s work on her website and social media, all of which will be linked below. We’re extremely grateful to her for submitting her work and we wish her the best!
Nancy Lee Designs Website