Community Craft

Designing this year’s Women to Watch Awards bracelet

W2w JewelryEarthy, organic, with seaside hues and abundant natural textures and structure; this is one way to describe the jewelry made by LISA BROWN, owner of Little Blue Bungalow Handcrafts.

For Brown, she says her jewelry leans eclectic and even a tad funky, with nature as the base of inspiration and wearability at the forefront of design.

Yet, before her transition to full-time jewelry maker, Brown had a prolific career and even won the Public Sector category for WILMA’s Women to Watch Awards in 2020.

Each year for the awards, WILMA works with a local jewelry designer to create the custom awards bracelet that the seven category winners receive. This year’s design will be unveiled at the awards event September 8.

“Many people who know me from my artistic work or from my previous role as Preparedness Coordinator (for the county) are surprised to learn that I actually began my professional career as a lawyer in Missouri,” Brown says. “I worked as an attorney representing the county, primarily handling abuse and neglect cases when a child came into custody.”

After, she worked in the nonprofit field, eventually transitioning into public health.

As fate would have it, Brown is now creating the same (albeit different) awards bracelet she received in 2020, an award she regarded as a community effort and, “an honor to be considered with such an inspirational group of women.”

Although she has since traded a career-focused mindset to embrace her long-held artistic pursuits, Brown is still finding ways to help others and give back.

“Most of my designs are comprised of ethically sourced and fair-trade beads, many are even handmade. I love being able to talk about where a particular bead came from or how it was made. There is something special about a piece of jewelry with a story behind it,” she says. “When that piece of jewelry also helps artisans like those in Ghana that make the recycled glass beads, or those in Haiti where my clay beads are sourced provide for their families at the same time, well, that is something else entirely.”

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Categories: Women to Watch