Humboldt Hustle: With skill and hustle, you can have fine art jewelry even after the weed industry collapses.Lost Coast Outpost

Photo: Leonard Dormeier.

For some people, commuting means living in Eureka and working in Arcata. For others, that means living in Fortuna and working in Trinidad. Either way, remote work has changed our perception of commuting and, in some ways, the idea of ​​having a physical store.

Leonardo Dormayr, 28, typically wakes up at 9am, pours his coffee, powers up for his commute, and heads eight feet underground.

So he works in the basement of his company, Dormayr Designs. He makes jewelry from scratch. In all his creations, all materials except gemstones are handmade. Design, metal, wire, everything.

It all starts on his iPad, where he draws designs using the Procreate drawing application.

Now, Dormayr has done enough drawings over the years that he can now scroll through his designs and choose which one he wants to work on that day.

It took about ten years to gather all the necessary equipment, but Dormeier is able to plan and create jewelry every day. He often makes necklaces, pendants and rings. His work falls into his two categories: one-of-a-kind and production works.

A unique piece takes a lot of time to plan and create. From start to finish, it took him three days, roughly 24 hours, to create one piece. He spent his first five hours or so just on the planning process. This includes knowing what gemstones you want to use, the dimensions of your piece, and choosing the type of metal to use for your piece. Handcrafted pieces like this can sell for over $2,500.

Production pieces are much more affordable. For a production piece, Dormayr can spend hours planning and then spending the better part of a week creating multiples of that piece. It takes more time and materials than a one-of-a-kind item, but the quality is the same.

The Dormayr process begins with each center stone. He takes those features and creates a metal design that surrounds it. His process is essentially free creativity and is called Hand His Fabrication.

“Gemstones are generally cut the same way: round, rectangular, square, teardrop,” says Dormayr. “But every jeweler has a creative thought process to apply that makes everything unique.”

Dormeier draws his design on a sheet of silver or gold, melts it to make it himself, and uses a small handsaw to cut out each component layer by layer. He then cuts out another sheet and begins soldering it onto the first layer. He repeats this process until his own design is fully realized.

In other words, each piece is made up of stacked metal sheets that are soldered and finished to their final shape just like a 3D printed object. When all is done, Dormeyer manually polishes the metal and drills holes for placing the stones. The final step is to use gold wire to wrap the center stone and solder it to the metal housing. To add a little extra flair, he also engraves some of his pieces to make them just a little more unique than the existing ones.

Dormayr sources all his gems from people he’s met over the years going to gem shows. I buy most of them at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. It is said to be the world’s largest, oldest and most prestigious exhibition of gems and minerals.

“I meet people who mine their own stones. They have someone cut the stone and take it to a jewelry show to sell it,” says Dormayr. “I have spoken with people from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, China, Brazil, etc.”

Originally from Munich, Germany, Dormayr and his family immigrated to the United States when he was ten years old. His mom had a job offer in Los Angeles and they took the opportunity.Dormayr grew up in his San Fernando Valley and worked in restaurants, bars and other service gigs after high school.

At some point Dormeyer found himself talking to people selling jewelry at music festivals and began to show an interest in wire wrapping. Although he started it as a hobby, his interest soon shifted to other types of jewelry. Then, in 2015, online handmade he saw other people’s work in the jewelry space, which inspired him in Oxnard to take a course in the Gem and Mineral Society.

“Me and my friend were the only young men in this class of older women who chose this jewelery style.” It was… I wanted to learn something more complex.

After that, I took advantage of online resources such as YouTube and Instagram. Other artists tend to publish their processes online, but Dormayr took advantage of this by applying what she saw in her own work. In some respects, he had many formal and informal teachers in the industry.He also took his one-week stonesetting course in Tennessee.

Photo: Eduardo Ruffkorn Barragán.

Photo: Eduardo Ruffkorn Barragán.

In 2021, Dormeier decided to move to Humboldt County to escape the city and found work in the cannabis industry. He continued to make jewelry in his own time, and when people showed interest in his work, he figured he might be able to sell some on the side for a little extra cash. Then the cannabis industry took a hit and his job quickly became precarious and he decided to dive into jewelry full-time.

“I started thinking, should I look for another job? Or maybe I could work from home and make a living from my art,” Dormeier said. “I thought I didn’t want to worry about losing my job. Now it’s all on me. I’m my own boss.”

Dormayr’s early success came from selling his work at music festivals. Through trial and error, he was able to strategically choose to attend festivals where he was more likely to buy his work. Other than that, he mostly sells jewelry online. Instagram account, his websiteand local and non-local small markets.

Moving forward, Dormeier will partner with Aaron Brooks, Long Island Glass and Jerry Kelly this September toFinally…it’s a fucking art show” in Holtsville, New York. He plans to continue his tradition of selling at music festivals, and wants to take more jewelry-making courses to broaden and perfect his already impressive skill set.


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