Bio – Lisa Davis – jewellery artist.
A 50-something creative, Lisa Davis has been designing and creating all her life. Starting with pen and ink house rendering for property developers in Cheshire, and developing an artistic ‘voice’ early on she began her first business ‘Property Portraits’ aged just 24.
With her health conspiring against her and spinal problems escalating, she was unable to carry on commissions and had to close her order book. Already thwarted from following her silver smithing dreams shortly after qualifying, Lisa had turned back towards art and design hoping to be able to work from home, still searching for some solution to her health and mobility problems.
Whilst bedridden awaiting a spinal fusion, she planned and birthed her next business breaking into to the printed greetings card industry with a mail order catalogue aimed at independent gift shops and galleries. With orders coming in it was with agonising regret, she found out her condition was incurable and had to revise her life plan yet again.
Now, Lisa finds herself still at home, still in pain but thriving after discovering etsy.com. She opened her shop called No Ditto Designs and the ethos is just that. One of a kind, individually designed items of jewellery and lovingly handmade cards make their debut appearances on an almost daily basis; the look is modern with a boho chic twist and she’s constantly in product development and expanding her skillset.
“Running my own business is a challenge I relish; the wearing of all hats from CEO to mail room is a juggling act and I’ve had to become a half decent photographer too – it’s all fun, I just give thanks to being born in the age of the internet, otherwise I’d be screwed!” Lisa Davis x
this is me..... dodgy selfie I know!
I have over 500 items of unique jewellery in my shop, NoDittoDesign on etsy. More choices added as I do them.
When not upside down as a child, I watched my dad paint. He even let me put my little hand print on one of his huge oil paintings. He was an artist yet became a picture framer to feed us. That may explain why I couldn’t just be an artist. “It’s not a proper job!” So although I can’t remember a time I didn’t have a pencil crayon in my hand – just like I can’t remember my 1st cart-wheel (more later) I had to do something ‘sensible’.
As I had no idea what I wanted to be, at college I did Retail Jewellery and Gemmology: I was already working in a jewellers and spent school holidays elbow-deep in freezing water grading rough gemstones for my Uncle, a geologist and miner in West Africa. Watching his mined crystals being turned into beautiful gemstones in Idar Oberstein, Germany by Alfred Hutt, an expert jeweller as well as a lapidary (gem cutter) - sparked a lifelong love of all things shiny.
I’d always made miniature things too; teeny dolls clothes; tiny cross-stitch pin cushions; mini felt stuffed thingys so when, aged 25 with a toddler and a spinal problem, I retrained in Jewellery Design and Manufacturing (and looked for a new doctor) I was thinking, "soon I will :- be fixed up spine-wise; work from home; have exhibitions; do bread and butter repair work; buy a ramshackle house and do it up; recycle everything". Anything but a ‘proper job' - we’d get by and happily.
I still remember that eureka moment: 1st day at college; the magic that is soldering happened to my copper wedding band, (yay!) then I began the mesmerizing process of filing square wire into a D section with a huge file - I’d fully expected the tools to be tiny, but no, you get man-sized blow torches, rolling mills the size of me and standard tools you’d see in a woodshop, the tiny stuff comes later. I thought ‘This is what I’m meant for!”
Plans are made to be changed though. Back in hospital for the umpteenth time I realised silver-smithing was not going to be physically possible. It’s taken me 20 odd years, numerous career changes; businesses developed from bed waiting for the next big operation that would restore me to health; countless procedures - needles the length of my hand, (good job they were going in my back come to think of it, otherwise I may have baulked! my poor, oh so brave mother!) - and hours, days and months spent in physio to get to where I am now.
Although I’m much better than I was, I’m still at home – good job I’m happy in my own company! :) I have a wonderful partner who literally gives me 'good time' to use to run my little empire - without him shopping, cleaning and doing everything (not to mention keeping a jolly nice roof over our heads) I'd still be in way too much pain to do much of anything. Hugs to Richard!
I think everything I do is creative in one way or another. As well as making jewellery and cards, I write, sew, draw, design houses for fun – all bells and whistles in case we win the lottery, or humble multi-functional one room barn conversions.
Over the years, I’ve done illustrating, logo design, book covers, artist impressions for company Christmas cards and site plans for housing development companies and worked for a Spinal Charity on their 1st website and newsletter as well as my own Property Portraits and greetings card companies.
I am not always able to admit that there are limits. But I am never at a loss for something to do. I love reading and learning new things and as the pain is relentless - I can’t really pace myself - I spend my days pottering from job to job depending on how stupid I feel like being. My stubbornness is both a blessing and a curse. I’m just in pain – 24/7, but at least I’m able to see the silver lining in everything.
Having an enforced slower pace means you can appreciate the tiny things that may go unnoticed when striding through life frenetically - like I used to. I certainly wouldn’t have the technical drawing skill without the hours of practice I get. My artwork reflects this. I'm not prolific but I've developed a style and have a head full of what would best be called 'designs'. Funny, but my Dad never called himself an artist, he preferred 'painter' and so I prefer 'designer' too.
My work is as unpretentious as it is styalised and is definitely 'me'.
After actually designing and creating something - my next favourite thing to do is lovingly package something I’ve sold. Hurray! I’ve a brain chock full of ideas and the luxury of being able to make some of them happen.
And on Pinterest follow me!