Growing up in my family meant being surrounded and mentored by creative souls. Sculptors and furniture makers, painters and potters, dancers and musicians were ever present throughout my childhood. It seemed only natural for me to follow in their footsteps and I am forever grateful for the encouraging and supportive foundation they provided.
Primarily a self taught metalsmith, I am driven by curiosity and the continuing desire to explore new techniques, freeing my imagination to create whatever I see in my mind’s eye.
Experience has been my greatest teacher.
The young journeyman, full of wonder and discovery
My very first piece of jewelry was a copper hair clip, made for my wife using a claw hammer, a hunk of railroad rail, and an acetylene torch.
For the first few years, you could find us eagerly hawking our hand forged copper and silver creations at flea markets and antique shows. She would sketch her jewelry fantasies while I would bring my anvil, a couple of hammers and pliers, a plumbers torch, and a trusty 12 volt polishing motor, making pieces “on the fly”. We could hardly keep up with the demand.
In fact, we were so successful (and, after all, these were the 1970’s), that we decided to take the act in the road. Outfitting a 1963 VW Microbus camper with a bed, a kitchen, and a mobile jewelers workbench (How I wish I had a picture of that vehicle), we hit the road. Soon after, we began meeting other “Gypsy Artists”, who had the same idea. Caravanning with other artists and forming long standing relationships, we spent the following ten years traveling up and down the east coast in a succession of bigger and better mobile studios, attending endless numbers of art festivals, collecting blue ribbons and prize money.
“Those were the years”, they say… learning to be self-sufficient and making the most of the freedom to follow our creative processes wherever they led. It was a great experience, an idyllic period. Eventually though, time came for change… Remaining friends we parted to follow separate paths.
…The trade years, 1979 - 89 - providing repair and custom services to retail shops, gathering bench tricks, knowledge, fine tuning my engineering and problem-solving skills.
...Toiling in the back room of a pawn shop in rural Florida, learning “basic jewelry skills” and performing repairs and some very dubious modifications. What a “test of fire”, for a young artist, fresh off the road! Nothing in my prior experience had prepared me for this job. The contrast in values from the art show lifestyle to this environment was almost traumatic. I scrambled to adapt, gained proficiency soldering chains, learned to resurrect hopelessly worn out jewelry for a second life, and to use manufactured findings in place of hand built. I developed a talent for engineering with elegance, fabricating original “art jewelry”, by incorporating parts and pieces saved from the scrap bucket, previously destined for the refinery.
Trade work from local retail shops began to trickle in. It was only a matter of time until custom projects began to fill my days. To this point, I had been primarily a fabricating metalsmith (making jewelry directly in the metals). Offering to coach me, a friend insisted that I needed to learn to carve wax, make molds and cast metals. His lessons were a true gift and changed the way I approached design. Now able to achieve shapes I had only dreamed of before, designs for clients began to incorporate some of the qualities associated with jewelry produced for the retail trade.
…The “Good Job” years… As craftsmen, we should all be so fortunate, once in our lives.
I received an invitation to become the sixth member to a group of award winning goldsmiths under the umbrella of a successful and vibrantly original Jewelry Gallery in Durham, NC. It was a revelation. Here was a group of metalsmiths who, with the encouragement and support of the management, submitted yearly entries to world class design competitions, consistently garnering national and international recognition. The environment provided teamwork, collaboration, and spirited competition. We shared techniques and challenged each other regularly.
We came from all walks of life... the common thread being the aspiration to do the best work we were capable of. The experience of having worked intimately with such a talented and professional group is something I will never forget.
For the past twelve years
For the past several years, I’ve been blessed with a fruitful and supportive relationship with a premier designer gallery in Chapel Hill, NC, producing the finest of custom designed jewelry in platinum and gold, diamonds and precious stones, designing hand built jewelry for hundreds of clients, catering especially to couples seeking an original design to celebrate their unique commitment.
To this day, I design with an eye toward fabrication, and developing a personal style of engraving coupled with a creative, relaxed, and integrated approach to stone setting. It is not unusual for me to go months without carving a wax model. Once a fabricator...
People age. Careers morph and evolve
Spanning over forty-five years, my journey as a metalsmith has truly been a great adventure. The sheer volume and diversity of the projects I’ve created through the years, is a constant source of amazement to me.
These collections offer you an opportunity to look into my past, while I navigate the future.
I hope you enjoy your visit.