Leia grew up in a small suburb north of St. Louis, Missouri in a house backing up to a creek. With her two sisters, the creek and the woods along it were their constant play place to imagine, make and explore. In high school she was introduced to metalsmithing via the local community craft center and became infatuated. Metalsmithing was a perfect blend of play and making things by hand. She continued her studies in college and eventually achieved an MFA.
As a kid, Leia was always outside in the woods playing and exploring. She was constantly digging and discovering fossils, bones, new plants and bugs. It seemed the wonders of the outside never ceased. Leia finds that same type of wonder and exploration in jewelry, inspired by the outdoors and the excitement she felt in first discovering it. She strives for those same feelings within her jewelry design as she notices in nature, wonder, the perfectly imperfect, and the unexpected.
"The presence of formulaic growth patterns in the botanical landscape inspire and intrigue me. Using these seminal patterns as a starting point, I create forms that strive to pique curiosity and familiarity from the observer." -Leia Zumbro
Materials & Techniques
With nature being at the starting point, it seems natural for the materials at Leia Zumbro Jewelry to be true to it. The studio strives to use recycled silver and gold in every piece. Along with constructing, cleaning and packaging it in the most ethical way, right down to packaging.
I’m from St. Louis and started taking classes when I was 16 at Craft Alliance. I got hooked. My teacher encouraged me to go on, so I went to college for metalsmithing and jewelry making and received my bachelor’s degree at SIUE. I was out of school working a few years and decided to go back to school for my master’s in metalsmithing. I got my master’s at East Carolina University in metalsmithing and moved back to St. Louis. I grabbed some teaching positions and started to get my work into galleries.