Lee is truly blessed for having a passion, that of metalsmithing. She has been creating jewelry for over 30 years, continually designing new pieces, made of gold, sterling, bronze, copper, silver plate and gemstones.
"Art and craft in Georgia historically is based on handmade items. I would like to imagine my art as an example of this. Copper and silver plate is cut with shears, edges polished with files and sandpaper, then hammered into shapes. Each piece is buffed to a sheen." For a more “earthy look”, she melts bronze on hammered copper, using an oxygen/acetylene torch.
Playing with copper and bronze wire is both fun and full of surprises, because there is so much creative freedom. Wire jewelry is where Lee began her career, collecting cast-off copper wire from construction jobs. She stripped the wire of its casing and twirled it on mandrels to make jump rings for necklaces; or braiding the wire for bracelets.
Lee is originally from Oregon and husband, Bill, hails from Philadelphia; from his work and their many varied interests, they have lived all over. They both have worked for large corporations, owned and operated a real estate brokerage, and started the League of Maryland Craftsmen shop in Annapolis, Maryland. Living aboard and cruising their trawler “Frolic”, they sailed from Annapolis and dropped anchor in Florida, where they started the League Florida Craftsmen Gallery in Hope Sound, Florida. They featured both their artwork and that of 47 local artists, who created jewelry and other wonderful works of art.
Deciding that Florida was too warm for them, they decided to explore areas in the north. They fell in love with the Georgian mountains after leaving Florida, and opened the Lee Johnson Gallery in Clayton, which featured more than 50 local artists. They retired from retail in 2009. They plan to exhibit at local craft shows, sprinkled with golf, hiking, fishing and enjoying this fantastic area with great neighbors. They now reside in Tiger, Georgia.