We had the good fortune of connecting with Marisa Leslie and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Marisa, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I absolutely love this question as art is something I am intensely passionate about and could discuss at nauseum!

For me, the pursuit to establish a career centered in creativity, was more than the regurgitated advice of “finding a job you enjoy, so that you never work a day in your life”. Art is subjective and limitless. It can be a pleasant pastime, or a plethora of professions. It is therapeutic. As a small business it offers flexibility in all facets. You can build an empire on something as cost effective and small as stickers, or as intricate as carved marble statues. There is total freedom and potential in this field.

Throughout my entire life I found solace in creative hobbies, often winning competitions or having pieces I made, displayed in local art galleries; further fueling my insatiable thirst for this niche. There are many ebbs and flows in life, however I found creativity to be a constant, regardless of what age or period of my life I was in.

When I made the commitment to build my own business, I knew without a doubt, it would involve forging handcrafted items. This wasn’t to expel the notion of labor in a “job”; in truth I have never worked harder in my life. Instead this choice was to maintain the anchor of my life, the layer of my persona that has evolved with me over time. The freedom to be unapologetically me via creative expression in my pieces.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The jewelry that I create is birthed from a process called electroforming. I utilize both chemistry and conductive electricity to essentially “grow” metal. This method has been around for a few years but is still relatively new to the community. Resources and information on the skill is mixed and nuanced, and this hobby turned profession, has certainly been one of trial and error.

The process involves painting the item intended for jewelry (a gemstone, wire, foliage, etc.), in a copper conductive paint comprised of graphite and an adhesive glue. Pieces becoming jewelry need to be coated a minimum of two times, each requiring a curing time of 24 hours between. Once the painting has been completed the items are suspended in liquid acid-based solution of copper sulfate and connected to metal anodes (pieces of metal which will be broken down) in preparation for electrolysis. Specialized rectifier equipment is attached to the anode and piece being electroformed, providing a slow and steady electrical current. This current forces metal to be striped from the anode and deposited onto the areas of the item which have been painted, as well as any portion that contains a conductive metal. This process will layer copper onto your design, strengthening the item over time spent in the liquid “bath” as it is often referred to.

Electroforming allows for endless possibilities. While I enjoy making jewelry, I have also used this process to preserve items such as flowers, and even made large home décor from it. From the hazardous chemicals, equipment, safety gear, and tools, I frequently feel as though I have adopted an alter ego of a mad scientist and I truly love every minute of it!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Arizona has a reputation to non-residents, of simply being a desert. While this is partially true, the state is vast and offers so many unique experiences if you simply know where to look. Personally I am enamored with nature and there are a slew of locations here that grant you the opportunity to be rooted deeply within it. I never miss a chance to recommend or take someone to Oak Creek, Arizona. Nestled near Sedona, this area features the gorgeous pigmented red rock seen in postcards, while encroached in towering trees and brush. There are crystal clear creeks and rivers, with the notorious Slide Rock in the heart of it all. Naturally carved waterslides within the rocks provide entertainment for all ages; prepare your inner daredevil as there is cliff diving and the water is generally ice cold. The area features tons of camping grounds, a fish hatchery, and delicious restaurants suited for all dietary lifestyles. Whenever I need a little getaway, have an urge for adventure, or want to entertain a friend who is visiting, Oak Creek is my go to!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Throughout my journey my sister Cristina, has been my biggest inspiration, wing-woman, and regulator. She has without judgement, been supportive of my many creative hyper-fixations. Despite her having no obligation to my business and practice, she advocates my capabilities and talents to anyone she can. Most meaningful to me, Cristina is transparently honest when I seek her advice about anything. I know that her intentions are pure, and that her bias of being my sibling, will not deflect her from offering guidance in something I may have overlooked in my work. She continues to drive my authenticity, and no words will ever be enough to describe just how much I love, and am grateful for her!

Website: www.keeloscreations.com

Instagram: @keeloscreations

Other: TikTok: @keeloscreations

Image Credits
Keelo’sCreations LLC

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