Local artist takes inspiration from skies, depths and friendship to create jewelry


Jewelry pieces that reflect the skies and oceans of the world bring joy to Battle Ground artist Lois Steiner, owner of Windsong Design Jewelry. Steiner skillfully works on her jewelry projects to reflect her greatest passions in life.

Steiner attended Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California, where she obtained an art degree. Jewelry crafting became her primary medium three years ago, after working with sculptures, textiles and ceramics for 17 years. Jewelry craft combines her previous experiences into one medium, Steiner said.

“Sometimes the challenge [is] with making wearable jewelry and not just how to express it, but there’s some engineering involved,” Steiner said. “People forget that if you put a heavy thing here, you have to balance it with something over here.”

Steiner said she draws her inspiration from things she feels passionately about, including outer space, environmentalism or her favorite animal, the octopus.

Her Battle Ground art studio displays a variety of pieces, from bridal jewelry to everyday wearables. Her first piece of jewelry — a long beaded necklace featuring her favorite rust-colored carnelian — is displayed as a reminder of how her art has progressed over the years, Steiner said.

Crafting jewelry can be challenging, even with her years of artistic experience. Showcasing the stones and their natural beauty is important to Steiner. Many of her materials are delicate, brittle and difficult to use. Keeping jewelry pieces structurally sound and balanced involves both engineering and artistic talent, Steiner said.

Wrapping stones heavily in wire obscures their beauty but makes them sturdier, Steiner said. She prefers to keep things light, nearly ethereal, in her wire wrapping.

“Most of the wire wrap that I see is so burdensome on whatever they’re trying to enclose. You don’t get the flavor of what’s inside it,” Steiner said.

In addition to wearable jewelry, she also creates jewelry window hangings. Window hangings showcase the stone’s beauty and luster with sunlight, she said.

One window hanging, “Drone Support Station,” was inspired by Steiner’s friends, photographer Michael Kay and lapidary Richard Britschgi. Their drone flights from her art studio’s deck inspired the deep blue space station-like piece.

Another piece, called “Senior Moments,” was inspired by another one of Steiner’s friends with dementia, she said. He provided the painted stone, featuring a bear and salmon. Steiner said she created the piece to honor his brilliant mind.

Outer space serves as additional inspiration for Steiner. She recently created “Wormhole Fantasy,” a long window hanging created from stones and stretched copper sponges. The piece is based on what she imagines traveling through a wormhole would be like.

“You can look out these windows and see these beautiful designs in the universe,” Steiner said.

The polished slices of stone suspended within the sponge represent windows into space.

The piece has inspired Steiner and Battle Ground Art Alliance to host an exhibit at Battle Ground Community Library. The exhibit, called “Our Universe” will run this spring, featuring Steiner’s pieces as well as art from other community members.

“It’s not just outer space. It’s also inner space, which includes microscopic things,” Steiner said.

To learn more about Steiner and her art, visit windsongdesignjewelry.com, or email windsongdesignls@gmail.com.