Masters:Gold

I am so excited! After what seems like forever the book I authored "Masters: Gold," published by Lark Books is finally ready for pre-orders on Amazon. “Masters: Gold” 

I was approached to write the biographies for this book project in the fall of 2007 by Marthe LeVan. She asked me to submit a list of individual jewelry artisans whom I considered to be at the top of the art/metals field working in gold. We had several enjoyable conversations regarding the choices of goldsmiths for the book. In the end I was delighted and inspired by the illustrious line up of internationally renown artisans.

The “Masters: Gold” book is in the “Masters” series from Lark and follows on the heals of Alan Revere’s Masters: Gemstones. The jewelry and artisans featured in “Masters: Gold” differs from the previous book in that all the work show is made by the artisans themselves. The jewelry showcased in “Masters: Gold” comes directly from the hands of each artist/goldsmith. I am so blessed to have been chosen to research and write the biographies for 40 of the top jewelry artists alive today. 

Artist such as Namu Cho, Harold O’Connor, Barbara Heinrich, Michael Becker, Gerd Rothman, Claude Chavent, Michael Good, and my personal heros of Philip Sajet and Wendy Ramshaw. The Italian artists are strongly represented by Stefano Marchetti, Bruno Martinazzi, Giovanni Corvaja and many more from the Padua School. Japanese, British, German, and French jewelry artisans are represented along with their American colleagues. To my delight there are also the beloved friends and mentors like Mary Lee Hu and Abrasha. Many other wonderful art/jewelers are also featured and I do not want to slight them by not mentioning them, it is just all the artisans are incredibly talented.   

The “Masters: Gold” book is important from an Art Historical aspect since no current works by these masters are being included in traditional Art History texts. I am so proud that with this book, I can fulfill a promise I made to Mary Lee Hu during my masters degree program. That promise was to use my degree to promote and advance the study and documentation of the Studio Jewelry/Art Jewelry movement. 

The experience of working with Marthe and Lark Books editor Ray Hemachandra has been wonderful. It was fun to talk with Ray as he is a former Bellingham, Washington resident, having started his career as an editor for the local newspaper here. We were able to speak with understanding of the wild beauty of cross-country skiing along the Nooksack river and the friendly disposition of Bellingham’s residents. The professional and respectful exchanges I experienced with all the members of the Lark Books staff made the hard work related to the “Masters: Gold” book project an overall positive involvement.

I want to thank Marthe and Ray for the opportunity and support in creating such a beautiful and unexpected completion of my promise.


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Review of the Seattle Metals Guild Symposium

I have been attending the Pacific Northwest Metals Symposium every year for the last eight years. Each year the artist’s presentations seem to be stronger, while the program’s quality has become more consistently accessible and engaging. After David Freda and Harlan Butt spoke about their incredibly awe inspiring enamels in 2007, I thought the Symposium committee would be hard pressed to top themselves. But the 2008 Symposium which took place on Oct. 18th, 2008 at the Museum of History and Industry was one of the most exciting and wonderful collection of speakers I have ever had the good fortune to be in the audience for.  

 

The Symposium for me has always been about making connections, with past teachers, colleagues, former students, friends, and fellow members of this tribe know as metalsmiths. This year I was happy to bring a new friend, Kathleen Yorston, owner of Pouncing Rain - Jewelry Metals Center, to her first Symposium. The networking with friends before and between speakers is fun and rewarding on so many levels, that I always come away energized.

 

The speakers program started with Gary Griffin who’s work, to be honest, I was unfamiliar with. To my enlightenment the charming and dapper gentleman who spoke had been the head of the Metals program at Cranbrook Academe of Art in Michigan for the last two decades, retiring in 2006. His presentation focused on the work he produce as an artist in residence at the Kohler Co. Art and Industry program, and a series of gates he produced for private clients using CAD/CAM processes. It was fascinating to see.

 

Harriete Estel Berman gave an incredible presentation called “Crafting Identity,” which aptly illustrated how she has incorporated her identity as an artist into her work and into her signature on her work. During the break, Symposium attendees got the extra bonus of Harriete showing us two videos she produced that covered the making of her “Consuming Conversation - 200 Teacups” collection. 

 

Susie Ganch was next on the agenda. While I have never found the images of her work very compelling, the art-speak written about her work has compounded the problem by leaving me baffled. Hearing the artist herself speak about her work, suddenly made her work approachable and interesting in ways I had not anticipated. I thought to myself that this was truly the benefit the Symposium offers SMG members; to hear the artist’s own words about their work, their process, their ideas. 

 

Kristin Mitsu Shiga spoke next and related the making of objects to important events that occurred in her life. Kristin’s humor and humanity were artfully presented as the audience was invited along on her very personal journey through jewelry making and a life of Art. This remarkable young woman has not only established herself as an original voice in our field but has also brought her helpful organizational skills to the administration of SNAG and is now at the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts as the Director of the Extension Program.

 

The final speaker was a personal favorite of mine, Fred Fenster. The Professor Emeritus from University of Wisconsin at Madison presented a rambling conversation on the making of hollowware in pewter. His presentation covered the work of fellow metalsmiths working in pewter over the last 20 years. The historical importance of his personal anecdotes on metalsmithing may never be documented in writing making his lecture at the Symposium a true lesson in the importance of oral history. His talk made me really want to stay and take his workshop to learn more about pewter.   


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Lovin' the laughter

I thought it might be nice to show some of my new friends and students from the classes.

As you can see we are having a lot of fun.  

The students here are so motivated to learn jewelry making techniques it makes each class a real joy to teach. 

 

They are all makers who really understand the motivation to make jewelry.

As of Oct. 2009, I am no longer teaching at Pouncing Rain. It is sad to say goodbye to the great students, but somethings are better left behind.

Hang in there everyone, Look for my workshops at other schools, and I hope to see you all in the new year.

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Charles Lewton-Brain in Seattle

 On the evening of Friday, August 22, Charles Lewton-Brain gave a lecture at North Seattle Community College in conjunction with a fold-forming workshop he was teaching at the request of the Seattle Metals Guild (SMG). The lecture was on the jeweler's work bench. Charles has a new book out, The Jeweler's Bench Book, published by Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America (MJSA). Based on several years worth of research and survey results from his work with the Ganoksin project. Charles was able to show the capacity audiance the styles and unique adaptations of many different jeweler's benches. The book is meant as a reference for those jeweler's who are setting up their first bench or for those who are re-thinking the argonomics of their current work station. Charles' lecture and book are packed with insightful information on how any metalsmith could become more productive just by utilizing their basic jewelry bench and adapting it to fit their needs. 

Charles and I along with SMG member Jane Martin were able to share a fabulous Indian dinner before the lecture making the event informative and delightful. Several of my friends in SMG reported back to me that the next 2-day workshop on fold-forming was a whirlwind of technique that they would be mentally digesting for months to come. I have attended many of Charles' workshops on fold-forming and other topic and can agree. Charles also has his new book on Fold-Forming available through Brain Press

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