studio visit : liz hanson


liz hanson has been a familiar face – both around town as a longtime charlottesville resident and as a customer at scarpa. over the past year, we’ve come to know liz in a new capacity: as designer and maker of her namesake metal jewelry line. we visited liz’s beautiful home and studio at the end of the summer to chat about her work.



on one end of her house, liz’s studio perches like a tree house (an entire wall is windows looking out into a canopy of green). historically it was a space for legos (her kids’ playroom) and then her daughter’s studio, and now it is liz’s space, and it is brimming: three workbenches, enough tools to fill each one, and of course, jewelry – organic shapes in brass, steel, and silver finished & adorning the walls (& two more tables) and in progress on each bench.


dissatisfied with the ease of beaded jewelry, which she had been making, liz took a class in steel at penland school of crafts, with the goal to make a bracelet for her husband – steel wire bound with sterling silver. liz admits the difficulty of her first piece (and the reason why she only made one), but it sparked her interest in working with metal, and returning home, she says she was, “either going to jump in or not.” so she jumped, ordered tools, and began crafting her first pieces from steel.  since her first visit to penland, liz has returned two additional times, and has also studied at arrowmont school of crafts. at both institutions she has worked with some of the foremost metal craftspeople in the country.

liz takes us through the various processes, evolutions, and expansions of her work, and I hardly believe her when tells me that all of this began in the past two years (her first visit to penland was just a year and a half ago). while liz’s finesse as a metalsmith is immediately evident and captivating (she moves around the small space chatting and demonstrating with ease while her two dogs tend to her every motion), the fact that this realm of her work is relatively new suddenly makes it all the more remarkable.  not to mention her infectious joy and energy; it’s hard not to get excited about whatever liz is describing.  at one moment during our visit, she declares, “this is my brand new hammer,” brandishing the tool, and then her voice lowers to a lively whisper, “look at it!”
I didn’t think I could be in awe of a hammer, but I find myself marveling at it while liz has already begun to put it to use against a glimmering piece of silver.
thank you, liz, for welcoming us into your home and work space!  shop current pieces from liz here.