Metal Mixology by Denise Fletcher
How does one go from designing fragrances to creating jewelry?
Dallas-based jewelry designer Denise Fletcher, founder of Deda Designs, says the creative process is all about mixing the right ingredients.
As a fragrance lab compounder, she learned to follow her inspiration through the mixing and mingling of essential oils until she could successfully replicate a scent. Fashioning jewelry follows the same process.
“My husband and I met while working for the same fragrance company,” Fletcher said. “He worked as a food scientist on the flavor side of the business, and I was on the fragrance side.”
Fletcher worked on scents used in shampoos, air fragrances, floor cleaners, and even those memorable car fresheners shaped like pine trees.
Married and with two children, Fletcher decided to step back from the creative arena and spend more time with her family. But her self-expression wasn’t contained for very long.
When her husband was transferred to Galesburg, Mich., just outside Kalamazoo, Fletcher craved for a creative outlet. She decided to register for a jewelry class, expecting beads, string, and clasps.
What she got was heavy-duty metalworking that included brushy torches, hammers, and power tools.
Undaunted, Fletcher took to the tools of this new trade.
“I was hooked,” she said.
Her husband added, “Like a duck to water!”
Fletcher’s Mixing Skills in Fragrance Translate to Jewelry Making
“With fragrance,” she said, “you may get inspired by the scent of a waterlily or violet, and you bring it into reality through trial and error.”
She described this as the “rigors” of the creative process. Sometimes your efforts work, and sometimes they don’t.
With jewelry, her designs are inspired by shapes in nature, the expanse of a bridge, or even the fringe along a tablecloth edge. Often, the stone, itself, will inspire her artistic direction.
Deda Designs, Fletcher’s jewelry company, is now celebrating more than 17 years in the industry.
Fletcher credits her business success on practicality: all consideration must be made for ease of use and care. She avoids designing jewelry that could get caught in your sweater or scrape your neck.
While some metalworkers explore large sculptural pieces, Fletcher chooses to keep her work functional.
“My jewelry is easy to wear, carefree, and fun,” she said. Fletcher doesn’t sketch her ideas.
Instead, she lets the process unfold naturally, allowing her tools and talent to lead the way.
Always stretching her creative boundaries, Fletcher has grown fascinated with the concept of mixing silver and gold elements in her original designs.
“These pieces tend to unite a woman’s jewelry collection,” she said. “My newest designs combine gold and silver, and allow women to mix and match elements from their existing collections for a layered look.”
Her creative imagination knows no limits, and Fletcher is excited to continue her exploration of mixing metal elements as one would blend fragrance.
“I like when things work,” Fletcher said. “I really do.”
Where to Find Fletcher’s Jewelry in the Dallas Area and Online
After moving to the Dallas / Fort Worth area, Fletcher realized she will once again need to build her art connections. She recently participated in the Urban Artist Market and plans to attend the Milhouse ArtFest in McKinney.