The Hippo


May 26, 2020








Good Gaud Designs. Courtesy photo.

Local Artist Series: Good Gaud Designs 

Where: Tangled Roots Herbal, 95 W. Pearl St., Nashua
When: Saturday, Dec. 23, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
More info:, or “Good Gaud Designs” on Facebook  

Set in stone
Wilton jewelry maker gets “gaudy” with designs

By Angie Sykeny

 For Good Gaud Designs owner Allisen Lemay, the best part of making jewelry is shopping for the stones. 

“I’m a sucker for stones. I often tell people, ‘I’ve never met a stone I didn’t like,’” she said. “I’m not an outdoorsy person at all, but I like the idea of making nature more accessible and taking something that was created naturally by the earth and turning it into something people can wear.” 
Lemay makes most of her jewelry at home in Wilton, in a studio she set up in her basement. There, she has a big work desk with her pliers, hammers and other tools, and multiple shelves and racks to sort all of her stones. A couple times a year, she rents out a studio space to do the soldering and metalsmithing needed for some of her jewelry, which requires equipment that she doesn’t have at home. 
The name Good Gaud, Lemay said, describes her style of jewelry, which is “gaudy, but a good kind of gaudy.” Her work consists mostly of precious stone focal pendants and large statement pieces, which people can put on a necklace chain they already have or on one of the sterling chains or colored cords that she sells. She also has a line of regular and geometric stone earrings and bracelets and crystal energy bracelets that pinpoint the metaphysical attributes of the stones. 
“It’s not my job to choose for people; I try to have a little of everything, all shapes and sizes and colors, something that appeals to everyone,” she said. “A lot of them are bigger pieces, but people are usually surprised once they try one on and actually love how big it is.” 
Lemay sells her work primarily at arts and crafts shows, which she attends sporadically throughout the spring and summer and nearly every weekend from October through December. At many shows, she gives demonstrations of her craft. 
“People are usually interested in seeing the process of how I work and how my stuff is created,” she said, “and it allows me to build my inventory at the same time.” 
That process starts behind the scenes, with Lemay shopping for stones in bulk at mineral shows and from stone suppliers in the Southwest, where she goes periodically to visit family. Her staples include jasper, various agates and her favorite stone, labradorite, which she loves for its versatility and ability to change color in different kinds of lighting. 
Lemay buys the stones pre-polished and with a hole already drilled. Her first step is choosing which sides of the stone will be the front and back, and which will be the top and bottom, based on which is the most visually interesting. Then, she does the wire work, running a single piece of silver wire through the hole and using pliers to form a loop for hanging the piece. 
“I try to make the stone the focal point,” she said. “I let the stone speak for itself without changing or embellishing it too much.” 
She does, however, add her signature silver spiral to each piece for a “touch of whimsy.” 
“Every jewelry designer has their own thing. Mine is that little spiral squiggle in the front of the stone,” she said. “When people see that, they recognize that jewelry as mine.” 
Lemay is currently starting work on a new line of bracelets for next year that will be less stone-centric and feature more intricate metalwork. 
“I wanted to branch out and try something different,” she said. “I wanted to go back to some of those metalwork techniques that I did a little in my jewelry classes, but never explored much.” 
Lemay has a degree in graphic design and worked in the printing business before she started experimenting with jewelry-making as a hobby. It’s been nine years now since she started Good Gaud Designs.
Her next appearance will be at Tangled Roots Herbal in Nashua on Saturday, Dec. 23, where she will display and sell her work as part of the shop’s Local Artist Series. Lemay’s work is also for sale at a number of local retail locations, including Marketplace New England (7 N. Main St., Concord), HollyHawk Flowers (196 Bradford Road, Henniker), Fresh Threads (515 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack), and the pop-up holiday shop Concord Handmade (18 S. Main St., Concord). 

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