Liz Sabol



Liz Sabol has won her third consecutive Saul Bell Design Award with her colorful collection inspired by the planet Jupiter. This fashion collection is handcrafted by Liz in her Pittsburgh studio. She wanted to interpret the breathtaking storms and colors that NASA has captured of Jupiter, while incorporating her passions for painting and metal working.

Artist Interview:

How did you decide on the title of this collection?
The collection is inspired by the planet Jupiter. NASA’s Juno mission is in an elliptical orbit around Jupiter and the images they are sending back are so fantastic. I was blown away. For the first time, we can see the poles, and they are blue and green!

Will this collection inspire other pieces?
Yes, I am thinking about doing a series on another planet or two. Some of the other planets have their own individual great colors. I have symbols of all the planets on the edges and perimeters of these pieces.

What did you feel when you heard?
Amazing! I feel it is the best thing I have accomplished in my career, and three times in a row is really great.

Have you won other awards?
In the Saul Bell Design Award, I was a finalist in 2016 and won second place in 2017. I also won silver in the A’ Design award in 2017.

Name fun facts about yourself.
I grew up on a dairy farm. It taught me a good work ethic. I can fix equipment, weld and drive a tractor.

Of all the arts and crafts, why did you choose jewelry?
I have always loved jewelry, and I love metal. I wanted to bring painting and metal together. Since my designs are very intricate, the small scale of jewelry makes sense.

In such a competitive industry, what do you credit your longevity to?
Creating something different than the usual. I sketch a lot, so many designs might not get made, but I keep developing new ideas.

What would you say you know now about living a happy and successful life that you didn’t know when you were 20?
I don’t worry about what other people think. Save your energy for the things that are really important instead of things that aren’t.

What do you want your legacy to be?
To show my children that you can achieve your dreams if you never give up.

What makes you passionate about metalsmithing/design?
Seeing the end product and thinking, “Wow! I really made that.”

What was the biggest challenge you have faced in your business?
Sales and promotion. There are so many people making jewelry now, it’s getting harder to stay in the business and be successful! I did get my online store up and going this year. That was a lot of work.

What is the best advice you received?
My dad always told me that the best career is to find my passion and work for myself.

What is your definition of “success”?
Being happy doing what I love. A plus is having a financially viable business and getting recognition for my jewelry.

Who has been most supportive in helping your business grow?
My kids are really supportive, and my significant other is my metalsmithing instructor, Pat Fablo.

What was your training/academic background in metalsmithing?
I have taken some classes in metalsmithing, but I am not formally trained. I started out in chemical engineering. I love math and science. I then switched over to art and transferred to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, where I received a degree in Communication Arts with a minor in Illustration.

What is your favorite tool?
My flex shaft is very important. I could not live without it. It does so many different things.

Is the product or the process more important to you?
Both, but if I had to choose just one, it would be the process. If it was the just about the product, I would outsource all the production.

What is the biggest change you have seen in the jewelry world since you have been around?
The shift to 3D printing and casting. It has been huge.

What is your strongest metalsmithing skill?
My creativity and problem solving.

Describe your studio.
It is still in two spots; however, it is more consolidated now. One room in my basement is where I do most of my production, and the really messy stuff— buffing wheel, soldering, pickle— is all out in the garage.

What is your differentiator?
My unique designs combined with all the color. I am trained in design and science, and I draw from that in my work.

Interview by Marlene Richey