Jeweler Lesley Aine McKeown sits at the workbench that previously belonged to her late father in her Prescott studio, surrounded by tools she’s purchased and tools she’s crafted by hand. Since 1984, after apprenticing with Jerome silversmith Jed Deutschman, Lesley has been crafting her own wearable works of contemporary art. She embraces low-tech traditional metalsmithing techniques and an array of stones you’ve probably never heard of (rutile or kyanite, anyone?), making her work all the more covetable.
Earlier this fall, Lesley joined Rowe Fine Art Gallery’s family of artists. The gallery’s curated offerings include Lesley’s one-of-a-kind, award-winning earrings, rings, necklaces and pendants.
Lesley was born in Kansas City, Missouri, before her family moved to Sedona in 1979. Both of her parents were artists, and she says that growing up in such a creative environment was highly influential and educational. Lesley painstakingly sketches every one of her pieces to scale, thinking through each step before translating her designs to high-karat gold and sterling silver. And those aforementioned exotic stones? She cuts each one by hand. Lesley’s work, though still abstract, has become more literal in recent years. She says she’s still inspired by technique, narrative and emotion, but right now she’s truly focused on beauty and elegance.
“It’s been a challenging year, so work that’s peaceful and quiet has been soothing,” Lesley says, “which is why I’m leaning toward stones in blue and green colorways. At this point, I’m looking for space, quiet and clarity in my work and in my life, and I think a lot of people are feeling the same way. I hope my art brings that and a sense of beauty to the wearer.”
In addition to her artwork, Lesley teaches advanced jewelry techniques and design principles all over the country. She’s in the process of writing her first book.
Rowe Fine Art Gallery represents traditional and contemporary southwestern artists. The gallery, located under the bell tower in Patio de las Campanas at Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village, is open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 928-282-8877, visit rowegallery.com, or find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.