Hi! I'm Lori, the creator, designer, and artist behind LoriMeg Designs.
I'm a professional jewelry artist with a flair for creating unique and high quality handmade pieces that are carefully crafted, yet embrace the beauty of imperfection. To be honest, it seems that not that long ago that I was living a very different life—I’m actually a surgeon, but after vision problems prevented me from continuing to practice, my part-time jewelry-making hobby became my full-time passion. Now I use the skills I honed as a surgeon to create stunning works of art for my customers.
Want to hear my full story? Read on...
Art has always been a part of my life
Growing up, art was always a part of my life. At home, my mom always encouraged us to be creative, making cards (usually watercolors with ink drawings, which we called “minglings”), wall hangings, gingerbread houses, and cornhusk dolls. I was always dancing (I was in the Orlando Ballet Company on Long Island), playing the flute, or taking art classes—from ceramics to silversmithing.
Exploring other interests
But as much as I was drawn to the arts and creativity, I loved science and the workings of the human body as well. After college, I went on to medical school and ultimately became a surgeon. I studied at NYU School of Medicine and I did my residency there. I loved problem-solving and working with my hands and my head. And I also loved the tangibility of my work—at the end of the day, I could tell you exactly what I had accomplished. Every day brought a new challenge, which was very fulfilling.
As I practiced surgery, I also found time to pursue my hobbies, including ceramics and jewelry and I even took classes at Baltimore Clayworks and the Maryland Institute College of Art. For physical activity, I started riding a bike, challenging myself to go longer and harder, often riding 40 or more miles at a time—a habit which I continue today. Exercise is definitely an important part of my life and being outside on my bike gives me inspiration for new jewelry all the time. Cycling is my biggest passion. I am in charge of creating new routes for my "team" every week. I have a group of people who will follow me anywhere, and who have become my very best friends.
When the trouble started
I was a practicing surgeon for 15 years when I developed double vision and blurry vision. I underwent no less than six surgeries and numerous other treatments to help solve the problem with my eyes, but to no avail. It was then that I was faced with the difficult quandary: what kind of meaningful work could I do now? I decided to turn my jewelry-making hobby into a new profession. Here I could use skills I had honed as a surgeon, such as problem-solving and working with my hands. I could also be my own boss, working in the studio when my eyes functioned well enough, and planning new projects or handling other tasks when they did not. Early in the day, and late afternoons and evenings are most challenging for me.
I have learned to design around my disability: I avoid straight lines, creating pieces that move in tandem with the body. As Claire Patterson Blome wrote in an article for American Style magazine, “Lori Gottlieb’s organic jewelry pairs great attention to detail with a total embrace of imperfection.” Personally, I think of most of my pieces as “sketches.” My goal is not to execute a perfectly straight line or capture a flower exactly as it blooms, but rather to be representational. Everything I do has some kind of movement and generally, some curves, which I find very sensual.
When other people describe my work, they use terms such as “lyrical," “fluid," ”energetic,” and “versatile."
So, where do my creative jewelry ideas come from? Mostly, from the world I see around me as I travel by on my bike. It’s as if there is a little camera in my head capturing images as I roll by—a little out of focus, blurred around the edges. I love the layers of texture in the bark of a tree, the flutter of leaves, and the swirl of pebbles at the edge of a stream. I enjoy curves in the road, the bow of stems and branches, the sinuous path of rivers and streams. On vacation I take great pleasure in exploring the outdoors: stalactites and stalagmites, canyons and mountains, and beaches garlanded with seaweed. Natural elements spark ideas for my designs.
My personal philosophy
My point of view is that you should project your best self every day and my jewelry helps you do that! Put it on, feel the energy, feel the power of your individuality, and just feel good! And if you feel good about how you look, you will bring that positivity to the rest of your life, empowering you to do great things!