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Bella Beads

Jewelry Artist / Bella Beads (Owner)

Leila Martin brands herself a born jewelry designer. It was this innate passion for creating that directly resulted in the opening of her retail store, Bella Beads, in Marquette, MI. Both the area and her store provide Martin with inspiration. Having grown up just two blocks from Lake Superior in Ashland, WI., the Lake was a part of Martin’s daily life. That, in conjunction with her parents’ decision to eliminate TV and video games for the majority of her youth, taught Martin a steadfast appreciation for nature. She draws motivation for her own pieces from her time spent combing the beach. Since the opening of Bella Beads, not only has Martin been able to provide the materials and instruction for clients to create their own jewelry pieces, but she’s been able to help them find their own inspiration for the craft as well. Not unlike her deep respect for the natural environment, Martin believes in honesty, especially when it comes to her work. She stands behind the notion that you must give your work an honest amount of time without cutting corners. Only then does an honest product result.

While no medium is off limits for Martin, she does find copper to be the metal of the U.P. She sites its ability to be sculpted and formed as its most appealing attribute. Martin uses COPPR clay, bronze clay and PMC (precious metal clay), each of which allows her to form and sculpt metal by hand. Initially soft and pliable, the respective clays become hardened once they dry. Martin then gives each metal piece a detailed sanding. She then fires the pieces in a jewelry kiln after which she hand polishes each item. Some are given a patina treatment. The result is a one of a kind pure copper, bronze or silver piece of jewelry.

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