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August 16th, 2008Diamond in the rough

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by Kristan Billing
MyKawartha.com

Creativity and passion flow differently from every artist.

A painter channels it through a brush and canvas.

A sculptor shapes it through clay.

Musicians combine melody with words.

For Melissa McLean, owner of Liss designs, her art is something to wear and her medium is glass.

Surrounded by her creations at her kiosk in Lansdowne Place Mall, Ms McLean seems like the kind of person who puts everything into what she does, but does it happily. The kiosk opened about a month ago because people were dropping in, looking for things to buy at Ms McLean’s downtown studio, which she just moved into her home.

“I wasn’t getting any work done,” she says with a laugh.

While only 33, Ms McLean has a long background in fashion and business, working as a buyer, make-up artist, designer and as a teacher for Humber College where she toiled for five years.

“It was a neat experience,” she says, pointing out that all of these different positions taught her all of the different things involved to run her business.

“Because I started in the corporate world really young, I knew early on that I needed to not work for someone else. You learn from your mistakes and and find your way.”

While working in fashion, Ms McLean says she made jewelry out of beads for friends which turned into a part-time job. After sketching ideas for pendents, she was invited into a studio and through plenty of trial and error with glass blowing, her style was born.

“I’m still learning everyday. It takes longer to figure things out when you don’t go to school. But people say my style is unique and maybe that’s because I didn’t go to school, then it might be too regimented.”

And considering she started five years ago, to say her one-of-a-kind glass pendents are doing quite well is an understatement. Still, she’s provided jewelry for magazines and movie shoots, participated in New York fashion week and has made jewelry for Canadian rocker Sam Roberts and musician Esthero.

Glancing at the different pieces in the glass casing, she says they’ re inspired by her love of fashion, art and beautiful architecture.

“I like the idea that you won’t run into someone with the same one. They’re all unique and different,” she says with a smile.

For more information log onto http://www.lissdesigns.com or stop by the Liss Designs Kiosk, located in Lansdowne Place.

from MyKawartha.com © 2008

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