From 1975 to 2024 - what a trip it's been for this Maker.

From 1975 to 2024 - what a trip it's been for this Maker.

Skyscraper Scarf with Square Frame Shawl Cuff. 

Here, hot off the blocking mats, is my latest finished hand knit creation, a scarf by Canadian knitwear designer, Mary Martin. In this photo, it is combined with my recently made Square Frame Shawl Cuff.

Putting these pieces together triggered a trip down memory lane. Come along with me on this little journey.

Where it all began in 1975

I participated in my very first craft show, in the basement of the St. Gregory's Parish, in 1975 at the age of thirteen. It was really my Mother's idea. Since she had taught me how to knit at the age of five, I had blossomed into doing all sorts of "crafts". Embroidery, needlepoint and macrame, etc., or any hobby that seemed to involve either some sort of fibre, or making any kind of accessory. Think belts, bags, necklaces, bracelets, or earrings - lots and lots of earrings! (Well, actually, earrings didn't appear on the jewellery making scene until I got my ears pierced at about the age of twelve.)

But speaking of bracelets, this is my Quincy Bracelet, sterling silver and Irish Waxed Linen. It was definitely influenced by my macrame days as a child. I am sure my bracelets in those shows would bear a resemblance to what I build now. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures from those days - just lots of memories.

Quincy Bracelet, sterling silver and Irish Waxed Linen. Adjustable sizing for all genders and sizes. 

Kind of the same thing with the earrings.  Below are my Long Cascade Earrings, which are a new addition to my line, but quickly becoming a client favourite. And a distinct descendant of those long ago earrings. I went a little bit nuts with my obsession of making earrings. That was about the same time I discovered Fimo - the original polymer clay material, it's like playdoh, but once you're finished forming it into the shapes and colour combinations you want, you then bake it in the oven to harden and cure it.

I had to start with Fimo all those years ago, to get to the elegance of these.

Long Cascade Earrings. Long and light with lots of movement. 

My parents supplied me with the skills and knowledge that I use everyday, all these decades later. Knitting thanks to my Mother. Working with metal to make jewellery and accessories, definitely influenced by my engineering Father.

I used to go to Fabricland, Lewiscraft and my local yarn store with my Mother. I accompanied my Father on his Saturday morning trips to either Canadian Tire, or Atlas Tool on Queen Street. I really couldn't tell you which parent excursion I enjoyed more. They both held their special places in my creative heart.

Love Knot Shawl Pin on hand knit scarf. My parents' influences live on. 

For my inaugural craft show in 1975, my Mother and I split a table. On my side, I showed my collection of earrings, bracelets and necklaces made out of a combination of hand painted Balsa wood shapes, adorned with electronic circuits that were held down with Fimo parts. Yes, they were radical and strange for any thirteen year old to dream up, and I wish I had a picture of even a single item I made. On my Mother's side of the table, she made an unusually delicious treat for the times called, Chocolate Truffles. Very exotic for the seventies!

Spring Flower Necklace #1. Still using wood, but this time as a display prop. Flower made entirely from scrap sterling and 14 kyg. Necklace is sterling silver, either 16" or 18" available, it's made in Italy (so, not one of my handmade ones). Sold as a set. 

My Mother's chocolate side of the table sold out at every basement craft show we did, once people had a taste of her melt-in-the-mouth goodness. I, on the other hand, sold a few things, but always came home a little lighter in my jewellery selection with a slightly heavier pocket of change, that would just go right back into more supplies to try and make new and different things. 

Already a jewellery girl. No earrings, as Mum wouldn't let me get my ears pierced yet.

So fast forward to now, fifty years later, and I am really doing the same thing but with more expensive materials, bigger equipment, and the continuing inquisitiveness of a twelve year old, in a sixty-two year old body.

Suffice it to say, I have always loved the process of Making, and even after all this time, I get lost in it regularly - daily really. Which is why my blog posts are not very regular or on any kind of schedule. If you make things for a living, that's how you should spend a majority of your time, and that's the one schedule I do stick to. The schedule of Making, every day in some sort of way.

Dotted throughout this email are images of pieces I have been inspired to design and make over the years from my early influences as a Maker, right up to include a piece from my Missing Hearts Collection (below) that I released earlier this year. There are still a couple of great pieces left from that series at my website. Just type "missing hearts" in my website's search box and they should come up.

Hematite Missing Hearts Pendant. If you are unfamiliar with this series, it's related to my last blog post, which you can read here. 

Busy hands make me very happy. But sometimes, I have to break away from my studio and participate in shows and events, so people can see what I am up to. I always get some great feedback when people see me and my work out in the wild.

It would be great to see you at any one of my events this year. And with that in mind, here is a link to my Upcoming Events page for 2024.

Next event is the Muskoka Yarn and FibreFest, on Saturday, June 22nd, at the Bracebridge Fairgrounds. If you miss that and happen to be in cottage country at any point this summer or beyond, my jewellery is always available at Britton Gallery, located on Manitoba Street in the heart of downtown Bracebridge. There is free parking available behind the gallery for visitors and customers. Miranda (Britton) has a wonderful selection of fine visual art and craft in all mediums (jewellery, pottery, fibre, metal, etc) in her beautiful gallery. 

There are, and always will be pieces that you can only find at my studio showroom, or while I am out "on the road" at any of the events I am participating at. My website is the best resource to find out what I am up to, where you can find my jewellery at my Stockists right across the country, or making an online appointment to come and visit me. If you're looking for me in the social media scene, follow me @lisaridout on Instagram.

For a silly end to this memory lane excursion, I will leave you with this image.

My siblings and I, adorned in Hallowe'en costumes created by our mother - another life-long Maker. We were the hit of the neighbourhood year after year. In case you're wondering, I am the Joker.

Making is always in style. Because of the love that shows through.

Back to blog


Ah lovely stories I’ll send you a photo of the sweater you made Lara back a lifetime ago

joan Pajunen

Loved your story some of which I was around for. Would be great to see you, still in Yarmouth NS, now in a much smaller house and less gardens. Happy to see you continue to create these beautiful items. Less reasons to dress up these days but always find a time to wear the love bracelets, was always a bracelet lover.
Have a great summer Lisa, love Jean

Jean Clulee

What a beautiful post down memory lane. I enjoyed seeing your photos from your childhood.

Zubeida Razakazi

I always enjoy your e-newsletters Lisa. It’s a delight to read about your early beginnings.
See you one day soon!

Karen Franzen

Very interesting article. Wish I lived closer and could see you and your creations more often.Keep making your beautiful pieces. Hugs. Gail Macdonald Medicine Hat, Alberta

Gail Macdonald

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.