Artist Profile: Lisa Frazer of Zoe Pea
During this season of giving, local artist Lisa Shaw Frazer creates pieces of jewelry that she often finds herself giving to others.
“I give pieces away frequently,” the Corinth-based silver jewelry maker explained. “I love seeing people enjoy my work.”
Frazer is a local artist with roots; she has been creating all sorts of artwork in the Capital Region for over twenty years. Approximately five years ago, she tried her hand at making silver jewelry.
“I’ve been creating art my whole life. I was grounded as a kid for making dolls out of toilet paper that clogged the toilets. I drew on everything,” she laughed.
She’s painted, drawn, photographed, and studied most mediums in the interest of testing her limits. “I made tutus when my kids were little and mailed them to Europe. Art is about reinventing yourself over and over.”
Frazer studied art at Greenfield Community College until she received a scholarship to study at Pratt Institute in New York City. “You know, I felt like a football player being recruited to play at a major league school, except it was for painting. And even with going to Pratt, I learned the most about art from Greenfield Community College,” she recalled.
Her first job after high school was as a Certified Nurse Aid at Brattleboro Retreat’s Nursing Home for dually diagnosed residents. “I learned a lot about life there. You see one person with Huntington’s and you feel lucky to be diagnosed with MS.”
Frazer is diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis), and it is advanced. Often her symptoms disrupt her ability to create, limiting her strength and energy levels.
Making jewelry became a puzzle for her, allowing her to push materials as far as she could go with them. In fact, the night before, Frazer admits she broke everything she had worked on.
This didn’t seem to phase her though. “Failure,” she reflected “can always be turned around.” She shared a graded piece she completed in college, her first pair of earrings, earned a failing grade. “But someone else loved them,” she smiled.
Frazer became serious as she explained how advanced her MS has become, limiting her time in the studio to approximately two days a week. “My mind is foggy a lot,” she noted, but also reflected that managing heat control and design keeps her mind sharp.
“I don’t follow any of the rules I was taught, but I do listen to my customers,” Frazer explained. She often collaborates with her clients, listening to their feedback to create pieces reflective of their interests and stretching her abilities beyond their normal limits.
Frazer is hard on herself. She admits she tends to see her mistakes and raises the bar pretty high on her work. Soldering silver into pieces that express movement and ideas is more than hammering out work simply for sale. Frazer often spends hours on a piece to make one-of-a-kind works, spending days in her studio on a single item.
“But I love going there, and get a natural high from creating” she mused. She also enjoys seeing people, and as a result, attends many different local markets to support community marketplaces. “I commit to the markets so I will go, and although I never feel like going, once I’m there I’m glad I went. I get energy from people” she explained.
And her work gives energy to people as well. Some of the pieces reflect movement, while others demonstrate geometric shapes that are more abstract and hold a sense of mystery.
Frazer will be at local markets throughout the year and encourages people to support local artists by checking out markets such as River Street Market in Troy on Friday evenings.
Her complete schedule is on her website: zoepea.com. ZoePea is named after her two children, Zoe and Payton, both artists in their own right. You might even catch Payton’s artwork at some of the local markets, professionally packaged and ready for gifting. Interested in previewing some of her work? Lisa’s Facebook page also features her stunning works of art.
They make great gifts, and are locally produced art you can wear!