Cristina studied Art History and Anthropology at the University of Iowa, and over the years has worked with various media. Metalsmithing has allowed her to create pieces based on natural forms and ancient symbols, and her time working with other media still influences what she creates. Cristina’s work is mainly in fine silver, bronze, 24 karat gold and resin, incorporating precious and semiprecious stones.
Cristina began teaching in 2010 and has found it extremely rewarding. She is inspired by her students’ abilities to take divergent paths with the same materials. The "AH HA!" moment that comes for a student who is tackling a difficult problem in class has never lost it’s fascination for her. The practice of deconstructing a project or a technique while designing a class forces one to see the task in a whole new way. The process encourages Cristina to seek better ways to design and construct her own work.
As well as teaching in her home studio and at Bead Haven (beadhavenbeads.com), Cristina participates in jewelry shows and juried art shows locally as well as around the country. She also sells her work online (www.cristinaleonard.com). Cristina’s pieces have been featured in books such as "The Art of Metal Clay", by Sherri Haab (2010), the upcoming 5th edition of the PMC Guild Annual, and she is currently working on a project article for Art Jewelry