Meet Elana Levine of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Elana is the talent behind Little Sister Designs. She grew up in Ohio, then moved to Ann Arbor to attend the University of Michigan and never left! Most days of the week she works as a kindergarten teacher at Haisley Elementary School on Ann Arbor's west side, where she mingles with some of her favorite people who are under the age of 10.
Little Sister Designs actually started on accident after Elana received jewelry making tools as a gift from a friend. Although she used to rely on her sister to make her jewelry, she discovered her own artistic abilities, unique from her sister's, which was perhaps an even bigger gift! She hopes that her pieces bring you just as much joy!What makes your artwork unique or distinctive?
I think I take the time to choose exceptional stones and beads, and then work to create something that's delicate yet noticeable. I use only sterling silver for all components and for a little added value as well. Also, I do not make copies of my pieces except for a few designs, so what you get is generally your own original piece! Where do you gather most of your inspiration for your art work?
I sometimes pursue magazines and catalogs, but really it's more of whatever strikes my mood. I am drawn to a certain stone first, and then I work from there. What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
Well, this is actually my part time job. Full time, I have been an elementary school teacher for 17 years. This is my 11th year teaching kindergarten.
What do you remember wanting to be when you grew up?
I love this question! I TOTALLY wanted to have a talk show and be my own talk show host! Guess who watched too much TV? I am a very chatty person and really thought I could hold my own! Sadly, Oprah, Sally Jessy, Maury, and Montel never called and asked me to join!
What do you most love about the creative process?
Generally, it's a nice outlet to my other responsibilities in life. I am totally in charge of the process of each piece and can change my mind and do what I want! It's allowed me to tap into a more creative side that I guess I didn't have until starting all of this.
Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
Do you have any interesting hobbies or maybe a fun story about an experience involving your artwork?
I love cooking (and eating tasty food!). I enjoy a lot of television shows and movies, and I like to stay active! Crossfit-type workouts, running and paddle-boarding in the summer are all fun.
Funny experience with my jewelry - someone close to me bought a set for a gift two summers ago, and they recently brought it all back to me completely blacked with tarnish. She'd forgotten to actually give it as a gift! I cleaned it for her (a few times with my scientific cleaning method of baking soda and boiling water over tinfoil!), and it was giftable again! We laughed at how she'd had it hidden away for nearly two years! Then, of course, concluded that Little Sister Designs pieces are clearly "timeless" additions to one's jewelry collection. What is your favorite...
Pet and/or animal: Dogs
Movie: Hmmm...tough one...maybe "Beautiful Girls"
Board game: Scrabble
Website: My own Facebook
Best cup of coffee: Latte
Any other trivia you would like to share about yourself?
I ran the Chicago Marathon once and lived to tell about it! I'm under 5' tall, though my driver license says that I am. I like to make my mom laugh!
You can find lots of Elana's gorgeous one-of-a-kind jewelry at Yellow Door and online. Stay tuned for more interesting facts about Elana all week!
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