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Blog

Filtering by Category: North Carolina

Every city should have a cat cafe

Lisette Fee

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Okay, maybe I’m biased, cause ya’ll know I’m an official CRAZY CAT LADY but still, cats are SO awesome.

Which is why I’m so SO ecstatic that my cat claws are now at Crooked Tail Cat Cafe in Greensboro AND in Winston-Salem. I’ll paint the picture for you. Last year my husband and I took a lil’ trip to Greensboro, he had work and I had never visited so I walked around downtown (which is pretty awesome btw) and I happened upon Crooked Tail, of course, i had to pop in and get my cat fix while out of town. I had such a great time watching the cats play, there was one black tuxedo cat that seemed to own the place.

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I was fortunate that when I visited, Karen Stratman, the owner, was there, and we chatted for a bit. I love Karen’s story, her animal journey of studying them at the University of Florida (go Gators, I’m one too). And it’s pretty badass that Karen opened the first cat cafe in North Caroline too! Of course a light bulb went off in my head. My cat claws would be purrrrrfect for their cat shop area. I can’t believe the idea didn’t dawn on me sooner.

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And now here we are with my sterling silver cat claws are now being sold at Crooked Tail Cat Cafe! So if you’re in Greensboro or Winston-Salem pop in and give a cat some love and maybe you’ll walk out owning one. That’s the best part of Crooked Tail and all the other new cat cafe’s, there is the opportunity to find a loving home for a cute fur baby.

Fifi, my first cat model. Isn’t she fierce?!!

Fifi, my first cat model. Isn’t she fierce?!!

If you want to find more locations where Eilisain Jewelry can be found, click on my stocklist link below. Thank you as always for visiting!


The Power of Myth

Lisette Fee

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When I was eleven years old I distinctly recall picking up a book at the library about Greek mythology and finding the stories and deeds of Gods and demigods awe inspiring and fascinating. At the time I was intensely creative, I sketched fashion outfits, I made clay jewelry, and dreamed up my own stories.

Reading the infamous Greek myths gave me an opening into the massive tales of love, betrayal, deceit and loss of innocence. The myths were a window into other worlds and life lessons.

As I grew older I still found myself drawn to myths and legends. I became particularly enchanted with Celtic myths and the land sites that connected humans to the fairy realm. Not only that I LOVED learning about the sacred objects that connect us to the gods and goddesses of the Celts. There is something magical when reading about giants that roamed Ireland and fought over each other and called upon druids and witches to protect their offspring and homes.

Later when I entered university, my ‘major’ was Anthropology which seemed so fitting, for someone who is now a jeweler. See the intersection of handmade objects and human activity in our world resulted in culture which also ran it’s course with religion and mythology.

What I love so much about mythology is that their UNIVERSAL and most can relate to the human emotions in these epic tales, why do you think we’re so obsessed with Marvel and the Avengers movies, they’re essentially mythologies.

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When I first began creating my jewelry collections I knew that I wanted to create stories and themes to the pieces I created. For example my Valkyrie Collection was shot with my friend Claire who has gorgeous short red hair and the presence of a Viking.

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Mythologies guide us through life, and connect us to the universe at large. When our ancestors looked up at the night sky and saw the twinkling beauty of planet Venus and constellations they told tales of our our world came to be.

We can travel through time to another era when we read the Celtic, Nordic, Hindu and many other world mythologies and tales. We can understand how greed leads to destruction, rebirth and renewal of the earth.

Kaltes Collection drew from Ugric peoples of western Siberia. She was a shape-shifter.

Kaltes Collection drew from Ugric peoples of western Siberia. She was a shape-shifter.

I hope that this post gives you pause to open a Greek myth book or revisit old myths and legends. There are so many lessons and takeaways.

Flip through some of my lookbooks and videos inspired by Gods and Goddesses of past.


10 Reasons why I love Greenville, NC

Lisette Fee

Image from my Bast Collection photoshoot at the Tar River in Uptown Greenville.

Image from my Bast Collection photoshoot at the Tar River in Uptown Greenville.

I have a confession to make, when I moved from a bustling, cultural city like Washington, D.C. to a small college city, Greenville in eastern North Carolina, I was convinced I’d leave after my four years at ECU.

I’m a former Army brat and I was used to moving and I love being around international people and the traps of big city life. But something interesting happened, I grew to like Greenville and even more so I grew to LOVE the community and friends I made here. I swore up and down to my friends that I was leaving after graduation and moving overseas for a residency or something. However, my story turned right around when I met my husband during my last year in school. In addition to meeting my husband I had a perfect opportunity to move into Art Avenue in 2013 with several other friends and classmates from ECU.

Mural wall in Uptwon Greenville

Mural wall in Uptwon Greenville

Within the span of ten years of living in Greenville and now Farmville, my love for Greenville and for Eastern Carolina to has grown so much. Because as I said moving around so much, I found that when I settled here I realized that I was actually longing to grow roots and stay put for awhile.

So with that said, I felt I had to share some of the reasons why I love Greenville, (I won’t lie that I do miss the big city immensely tho).

  1. The Art Community - It should be no surprise that it’s the major reason I love Gvegas (how’d we get that nickname btw?). We’re a tight knit community. On any given day, you can find my dear friend Sim Asher (photographer, teacher & more) or Jonathan Bowling (sculptor) sharing their artwork or beginning new projects around town or Holly Garriott of the Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge organizing another successful community arts project like the Vincent Li mural at the corner of Evans and 5th street in Uptown Greenville. There is just SO much talent in Greenville. My dear friend Kelly Boutilier opened up Moxie Pop, a gallery and pop up shop location specifically to highlight and expose the rich community of artists, musicians and creatives. There is NO shortage of amazing creative talent in Greenville and Pitt County itself.

  2. The Tar River & Town Commons - There is always some kind of fun & FREE event going on at the Greenville ampitheater, we love going to the Sundays on the Park events with free live music and food trucks. Or we take Tallulah to the childrens playground & park. The Tar river runs through Greenville and Pitt County and there are tons of treasures to be found, shark teeth, fishing and a gorgeous walk way. Again, Kelly Boutilier also teaches yoga on paddle boards on the Tar River - oh and btw Kelly also helps run Starlight Cafe as well!

  3. Christy’s Europup - Okay I know it’s a bit of an odd thing to put a pub on this list however there are SO many special memories I have of ‘Crusty’s’ as my friend affectionately calls our local pub. The food is always good, the people are the BEST and the atmosphere is like Cheers, seriously, people know and remember name there! And it is the place I met my husband. They also have live music and open mic night.

  4. Starlight Cafe - Ha! Can you tell I love food & drinking? More beautiful and fond memories made at my favorite restaurant. Just like Christy’s, when I walk into Starlight it’s like a second home, they know my name and my favorite drink. AND it’s where my husband and I got married so there’s that major reason. But if you’re looking for gourmet cuisine and fine dining this is where you want to go.

  5. School of Art & Design at ECU - I mean this is the main reason I came to Greenville to get a degree in jewelry and metal design. The art school has serious talent and though the art building itself is crumbling a bit, the professors & programs they offer are stellar. If you’re an art student looking to learn from world renowned artists and professors then East Carolina University SOAD is where you want to go. The jewelry & metals department has the best professors, when I came I knew that I would get instruction from a wide range of talent and knowledge.

  6. The People - I’d say that I have a pretty good understanding of people & places considering I’ve lived in 3 continents and traveled through North & South America, and overall I’ve felt so welcomed and humbled by the generous people I’ve met here. Here’s an example of how generous people are here, when our current President came for one of his ‘rallies’, my favorite breakfast spot The Scullery made national news when they donated a days worth of income (over $5K) to an immigration nonprofit. And an op-ed was published in our newspaper condemning the xenophobic statements made at the rally, stating that Greenville is a diverse and welcoming city. Another example, I was at the Umbrella Market and a friend of mine just met newcomers to Greenville and she introduced me to them so that we could take about the art scene. Hows that for a welcome mat?

  7. First Friday ArtWalk - I think this is probably one of my absolute favorite traditions of the month and Uptown Greenville. Back when I had a studio at Art Avenue, we held all sorts of events that landed on the art walk evenings. We held music shows, exhibitions, fashion shows, poetry slam and more. This is where small town culture & art have a major impact on business and exposure. You really get a sense of what Greenville is all about when you walk through town on First Fridays and absorb incredible art and talent.

  8. Proximity - Think about it, you’re roughly 2 hours away from amazing beaches, OBX, Atlantic beach and so on. You’re also about an hours drive from other beautiful towns and cities like Wilson, Farmville, Kinston, Belhaven and Bath - all perfect getaways for the weekend. I never would’ve known about these fun adventures had I not lived in Greenville.

  9. Dickinson Avenue - If anything has truly evolved and changed it’s this street that used to be super sketchy and mainly the only reason to go was Jonathon Bowling’s epic parties. Now you can choose from a handful of delicious restaurants, throw axes, visit several breweries, shop and pop into an art studio, The Art Lab.

  10. The Wildlife and animals - So this last one isn’t specific to just Greenville, it’s more of Eastern North Carolina. Until I moved to Greenville, I had never shot a gun, tasted deer meat, let alone seen a wild bear. I made friends that went hunting, lived on farm land and had that experience of being out in the wild. Now I’m so much more familiar and I love being that close to nature. My jewelry is made by all of the beautiful animals of eastern North Carolina, the barn owl, bear claw, deer antler, sea shells, and so much more.

The ECU metals Guild from 2010, some serious talent in this photo!

The ECU metals Guild from 2010, some serious talent in this photo!

One Halloween night at Christy’s Europup.

One Halloween night at Christy’s Europup.

An image from the Bast Collection shot at the Tar River by Aileen Devlin.

An image from the Bast Collection shot at the Tar River by Aileen Devlin.

Our wedding in the Starlight Cafe courtyard.

Our wedding in the Starlight Cafe courtyard.

Living in Greenville and traveling and visiting the places of Eastern North Carolina has broadened my concept of community, it has opened my eyes to so much more than the usual offerings of a city. I tell many of my friends back in the DC metro area that it would’ve been so much harder to get my jewelry company off the ground in a bigger city but in Greenville, I was able to grow and expand my business.

Also the cost of living in a smaller city is so much more manageable. You can eat out more, spend your money on local art & culture, and maintain a art studio outside of the home.

I hope this gives you more reasons to visit and stay in Greenville. If you want more of this kind of knowledge and tips on everyday living, sign up for my email list below. Thanks as always for reading friends!

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Lisette Fee

Who truly holds the world up? Mothers. For real, they get shit done and also manage to be amazing. All the mother’s I know are absolutely incredible. They’re bossbabes, stylish women on the go that also make time to read to their kids, take them to whatever sport activity and run a household.

So let’s treat mom’s to badass jewels!

Here’s my gift guide for all the fierce women in your life, and to the fur mamas too.


This gift guide covers jewels for the dainty mamas to the fly standout moms.

The new bird bone and gemstone ring. You’ll feel like a fierce goddess.

The new bird bone and gemstone ring. You’ll feel like a fierce goddess.

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I do hope that you take time to honor the role of mother this year, especially for those that mother’s that may not have a large family or friend base. Send a card to an Aunt or family friend that has carried her role as mother with pride and dignity. I’ve created a list of women that have aided me in my life and been there for me.

I’m quite excited that my own Mother will be visiting our family this year and that we will have a chance to celebrate with Tallulah. When I think back to being a young child and not realizing how hard it must’ve been for my own mom to be strong and lift us up when we needed it, I am incredibly grateful and thankful.

Thank you for visiting and stay fierce!

PS - Don’t forget I’m releasing my Labyrinth Collection on May 8th just before Mother’s Day. These will be incredibly one of a kind and rare jewels. See the sneak peek photo below.

Swirly malachite is so rich and deep.

Swirly malachite is so rich and deep.

How being part of an Art collective taught me about business and my community

Lisette Fee

Having a community, especially in the art world, is like a warm fuzzy blanket. You feel supported, nurtured and warmed by the commraderie.

While I was studying at East Carolina University for my degree in jewelry and metals, I honestly didn’t have a plan for a studio or where I would work, it all kind of came together the year I graduated in 2012 when I moved into my studio space at Art Avenue. And it’s safe to say, I don’t think I would’ve been as successful in my city had it not been for my friends and companions at Art Avenue.

I tell this story a lot because I want others to know how much it helped my artistic development and I hope that others in the art field have the same kind of experience.
— Lisette Fee
Plant and Fug head by Andy Denton. Photo by Aileen Devlin.

Plant and Fug head by Andy Denton. Photo by Aileen Devlin.

I helped manage the gallery and retail space as well as the metals studio.

I helped manage the gallery and retail space as well as the metals studio.

The concept of the art collective/incubator came about from my friends Claire Edwards and Sarah Setzco. Claire’s father owns the building in which Art Avenue began. Claire and Sarah wanted to showcase local musicians, bands, artists and more. They began with several ‘pop up’ shows, I curated my first exhibition, Preyed Upon at Art Avenue and so within two years Claire and Sarah finally ordained the space Art Avenue. It worked out so smoothly because there was a good group of us ECU graduates that truly needed a place to grow and flex our skills. We had Aileen Devlin a photographer for the local paper, Andy Denton a sculptor and teacher at Pitt Community College, Jeremy Fineman a ceramicist and also instructor of ceramics and art, Autumn Brown set up the metals studio that I eventually inherited. While Claire and Sarah managed the business and finances of our collective the rest of us worked towards promotion of events, installing exhibitions and studio rental spaces.

Mind you, none of us were paid. It was a labor of love as well as perhaps some of our own self interests in understanding the mechanics of running a gallery space. Art Avenue was part of a new revival in Uptown Greenville, there were graduating artists from ECU that needed space to show and sell work.

What did I learn from my experience at Art Avenue?

  • I understood how partnering with local businesses helped expose each other and generate awareness and sales.

  • I learned how HARD it is to get the community and people in Pitt County to attend art events. In a strange we (the art community) lived in our own bubble, so it took extra exposure to get attendance.

  • Working with local press, influencers and social media is HUGE to generating excitement and appreciation for art.

  • My friends and fellow artists contributed to the success of my jewelry company. Aileen Devlin is still my go to photographer and she shares my jewelry with all her friends and family. Andy Denton and Autumn Brown helped set up the casting studio in which I created my jewelry.

  • I co-created my first fashion show event with my friend Paula Chrismon and began shooting videos and lookbooks because of the space and talent I had to work with.

  • Not everyone is cut out for an art incubator space; it takes an artist at a certain point in their career to work in a shared space.

  • when you have a community with you; the sky is the limit. Seriously, there is so much at your fingertips that you may not be aware of.

It was a complete volunteer effort in creating designated studio spaces.

It was a complete volunteer effort in creating designated studio spaces.

Andy Denton preparing our new studio walls.

Andy Denton preparing our new studio walls.

In the end Art Avenue struggled to survive (many of the original Art Avenue board members moved to new cities and opportunities), but the basis of what we created was a haven and space to share our art and that of others which provided so much culture and vibrancy to Greenville. And now there are new spaces popping up and I”m sure there will continue to be art havens. For example, The Art Lab run by the Pitt County Council of the Arts which pretty much has the same concept that Art Avenue had except this endeavor is funded by an already established nonprofit.

Art Avenue was very instrumental in getting my business off the ground, and I will forever be grateful to the community and support it provided me. And as it is with these kinds of posts, I urge you to support your local artists, makers and entrepreneurs because they are so vital to the health and happiness of your community.

I'm a guest on What's Up Greenville Podcast

Lisette Fee

I had such a great time recording with Frank and Bill.

I had such a great time recording with Frank and Bill.

I’m so excited to share with you my first podcast recording and with a local podcast nonetheless!

As you’ve seen from some of my previous posts, I so enjoy podcasts. Especially when I’m working in my studio and I can learn about all sorts of new things while also working on my jewelry pieces.

Frank and Bill Thurman of What’s Up Greenville created the podcast to share with people all the awesome and amazing things there are to do and learn about Greenville.

I share my story of working in the arts community of Greenville and Pitt County and also what it’s like working as a new mom and resident of Farmville, just fifteen minutes from Greenville. We also get into the current state of the arts scene.

I hope you’ll give it a listen and subscribe to What’s Up Greenville, because they are fun and share so much about our awesome city!

What it's like to be an Artist of the Month in Farmville

Lisette Fee

What a rush of amazing feelings and happiness to be surrounded by people that love art and jewelry! Yesterday I participated in my towns Artist of the Month reception sponsored by the Farmville Community Arts Council and it was probably one of the best local exhibition/shows I’ve ever participated in - and I’ve done alot of shows and exhibitions.

What I really can’t get over is how much of an impact social interaction and getting out and meeting people has on myself and my business. In this day and age of online media and networking has had on art and business, it goes hand and hand with actually getting out and talking and showing people what I do in my studio.

Processing a sale at my media table at the reception.

Processing a sale at my media table at the reception.

And I’ll tell you, when a small arts council like the FCAC sponsors a reception, they really turn it out and do everything in their power to get people there! I mean, the volunteers with FCAC sent out a card with my jewelry on it, emailed their list, provided the space AND food and drink for the event all to expose my work to the community and it truly means so much to have that kind of exposure!

I want to share this experience with you and hopefully with your friends to give you an inkling at how dedicated local arts community are and how essential they are to creating culture and vibrancy in a town or city. Not only that, they bring an amazing energy and vitality to the community. For example, in Greenville (our neighboring city) the Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge hosts an amazing variety of events that bring the entire city together like the PirateFest and so many other events. They also provide grants and FREE money to emerging and established artists.

And I will tell you this, with emotion and truth, I would not be where I am in my journey as a jeweler, businesswoman and artist without the support and generosity of my local arts council and the hard working volunteers that help and give their time. I am so blessed to have them share and be absolutely excited to expose local artists and makers. Deep down we are so interested in how objects are made, how an artist finds inspiration and curiosity in our world. We all want a part of that beauty and wonder.

So I take this moment to urge you to support your local arts council, if not with donations then with time and attendance to art events from music, theater, sculpture and more.

Here are photos from my reception, which took place at a local events space, 3865 South Main street in downtown Farmville.

I was really digging the exposed brick of the building.

I was really digging the exposed brick of the building.

The light that flowed in was wonderful!

The light that flowed in was wonderful!

Gotta have that fur to give emphasis to my jewels!

Gotta have that fur to give emphasis to my jewels!

To sum this all up, I’m incredibly appreciative and grateful for the opportunity my community and arts council gave me to share my jewelry with my friends and new town and I know first hand how much of an impact it has on my business. And someone like you that enjoys it, I hope that you’ll support the art council and artists in your city and region, you probably won’t ever realize how much it means to an artist.