Artist of the week: Leta Zellerbach, Cedar Ridge |

Artist of the week: Leta Zellerbach, Cedar Ridge

What is your career and your current job title? Jewelry designer.

Describe in a sentence or two your art: Handmade modern silver, gold and copper jewelry that is bold, urban and hip. Architectural and unique one-of-a-kind pieces of wearable sculpture.

How long have you been working in this discipline? A few years.

Why do you do it? I love it.

What do you hope to accomplish? International exposure in high-end galleries and boutiques. Lots of quality time with family and friends. A strong community. Help our local economy by hiring Nevada County residents. Our line is and will remain California made.

Do you create your art with an exact message you want the viewer to receive and if yes, what is that message? I want people to be excited about the work. I want them to buy a piece of Zellerbach jewelry and feel beautiful wearing it. After buying a piece, I want them to walk away knowing they invested in something that will add in value, like a piece of collectable art.

Where do you want to be with your art, in terms of part-time versus full-time status, art positions and where your works are seen? I want to be totally self-sufficient, traveling around the world, showing gallery owners and boutique buyers my latest designs. I do it full time now and I want to continue to do so.

What kind of special training did you take? I was raised by an artist and continue to surround myself with inspiring people. I attended the Academy of Art in San Francisco; however, I am mostly self-taught. I worked for a traditional jeweler as a teenager but never enjoyed it as much as I do now. Making my own designs come to fruition is a thrill.

What’s your favorite part of your endeavors? The fashion shows, photo shoots, art shows, parades, meeting interesting people, finding cool art galleries and boutiques in my favorite cities, sanding silver with my friends, doing trades, working side by side with my husband, coming up with new designs quite by accident, to name a few … I love it all! It’s fun!

What’s your least favorite part of your endeavors? I don’t know, maybe paperwork.

How many hours a day, or more appropriate, a week, do you spend on your work? At least 40. Even when I’m not actually designing and making the jewelry, I’m marketing it, planning our next show, ordering materials, searching for unique stones, etc.

Do you consider it hard work and could anyone do it? It is hard and dirty work. Not everyone is cut out to be a jeweler, especially those who don’t want to ruin their pretty nails. You have to have strong hands and an eye for design.

Any other comments you’d like to include? The Zellerbach Collection will be showcased and for sale at the Julie Baker Fine Art Store/Gallery. The opening is Friday, 6-9 p.m. at the new location, 246 Commercial St. in downtown Nevada City (next to J.J. Jackson’s); http://www.juliebakerfin Find more information on the collection at


To suggest a creative talent to be profiled for this feature, contact Pam Jung at or 477-4232.

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