Lynette Andreasen

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Like ancient leaves preserved in amber, lynette Andreasen’s jewelry captures a moment and holds it in time. “What I do with my work is take memories and time and freeze them,” says Andreasen, an artist-in-residence at the Mesa Arts Center. “I collect things that I find at thrift shops – things at the bottom of a pile that got tossed aside, and I try to restore them to their former glory.”

Andreasen, 27, uses copper, sterling silver, glass, embroidery, door knobs, precious and semi-precious stones, pearls and even hair to create jewelry and sculpture inspired by Victorian and vintage pieces. Working with her hands and a few tools, the metal smith has created earrings from silver baby spoons and sculpture from discarded silver platters. She doesn’t sketch out her ideas but allows her pieces – which range in price from $20 to $1,200 – to evolve as she works.

“I kind of sketch with the material. I lay things out on my bench and put them together and if that doesn’t work, I try something else,” says Andreasen, who graduated from Arizona State University with a master’s in fine art in 2010. “I let the material dictate to me what it is going to be.”

Andreasen grew up in Tucson in a family that valued heirlooms and history. The bombardment of antiques and vintage tchotchkes inspired “a lot of eye-rolling,” she admits, but “eventually it totally influenced who I am and what I create.”

Andreasen is part of Elemental, a three-person show that runs May 25-Aug. 12 in the North Gallery at Mesa Contemporary Arts in the Mesa Arts Center. For more information, visit