Carlee Seele worked in dentistry when she discovered that her dental tools had another purpose: jewelry making.
After she created her first piece, a dragonfly pendant, her friends began to ask for custom-made jewelry of their own, so she set up shop in her basement. Now, she has opened her brick-and-mortar shop, Moss Creek Art, in New Cumberland.
“Having this new location, I want to focus on better customer service, being a little more personable with everybody and letting people know I’m available,” Seele said. “I’m just trying to stay afloat and help people along the way.”
Although the New Cumberland native started her career making jewelry, her work now includes glass wall art, cremation pieces, lighting, dishes and wall art, among other glass pieces. Seele does not blow glass, but she creates her work through a process of kiln-fusing and torch fire.
Seele relies on her history in dentistry and on the help of online jewelry-making communities to create her one-of-a-kind pieces.
“Jewelry-making is not really that much different from dentistry,” she said. “You’re using a lot of similar techniques where you’re molding the metal and then polishing it. It’s just that you’re working in a studio versus a sterilized oral cavity. But I’m still using a lot of the same instruments. Dremel tools are just like dental drills.”
Of Seele’s most popular items are her cremation ash pieces, in which she incorporates a small amount of ashes or hair from a deceased loved one or pet and incorporates it into a piece of glass jewelry.
“Someone who has had a loved one pass away comes in and they’re distraught, and you make a connection with them and help them feel better,” she said. “The cremation pieces give people a chance to carry their loved one around instead of just putting them on a fireplace mantle.”
Seele said that the biggest inspiration for her pieces is nature and travel. However, although she enjoys making nature-inspired pieces, her main focus is creating pieces to satisfy her customers.
“I try to pay attention to what people are asking for,” she said. “You can always make what you want, but if it doesn’t sell, you’re not going to make rent. So, I’m trying to pay attention to what touches people and what talks to them. It’s really about what talks to the person, so a piece of me becomes a piece of them eventually.”
In the near future, Seele hopes that other artists will open stores in New Cumberland.
“I want to bring back a resurgence of art and music down here,” she said. “There are a couple vacant spaces, so hopefully, we’ll have more galleries move in. The more the better. I think competition’s good, because I’m not the only artist around. Come down to take some time, walk around and explore the area.”
Moss Creek Art is located at 315 Bridge St in New Cumberland. For more information, visit https://www.mosscreekart.com/.