Metals have been a lifelong romance for jeweler Carrie Armstrong. Her background in metals started with welding when she began working for Italian metal sculptor Ron Bertocchi in 1997. While working there she was introduced to the torch, metal forming, patina, filing, soldering and foundational concepts of metal sculpture. She honored her skills a decade later with a BFA in printmaking from Southern Oregon University. Etching, engraving and numerous concepts around metal properties became additional tools lending to the lead up of entering the jewelry world. Upon meeting her husband Ali (Aurthur) Lee and his father Karl Lee, it was a natural progression in her metal explorations to be introduced to the jewelry bench. Karl recognized her interest in jewelry and began teaching her apprentice level fabrication techniques and tricks while encouraging her to create independent designs of her own as an accentuation to the studio. When Karl Lee passed in 2013, he passed on the studio and faithful Eski dog “Sugar” to Carrie and Ali.
Each piece is individually hand fabricated in studio and approached with the idea of unique high quality jewelry over anything manufactured or mass produced. Armstrong offers original artisan jewelry that is pleasing to those who appreciate delicious gemstones, high carat gold, and excellent craftsmanship with a wide breadth of technique and design. All jewelry is entirely handcrafted using traditional old-world methods in hand fabrication such as fusion, keum-boo, gypsy setting, hand-rubbed bezel setting, reticulation, granulation, and hand forged chain necklaces. All metals are alloyed and milled in studio using reclaimed silver and gold. A wide variety of gemstone materials are used with an extra emphasis on tourmaline, ruby, sapphire, diamond, garnet and turquoise.
Carrie currently works a bench studio in the Pacific Northwest on the family jewelers bench of Karl Lee Big Sur in collaboration with Big Sur Goldsmiths, combining over 50 years of original fine studio jewelry. In addition to her passions for art and jewelry, she enjoys strolls along the beach, growing things, painting, live music, and generally anything that sparks humor or fascinates. Mother of two daughters and three doggies. Studied under Master Goldsmith Karl Lee, Big Sur. MAT in secondary education from Southern Oregon University. BFA from Southern Oregon University.