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Our guest on Metalsmith Benchtalk on Thursday, October 1st, 2015 at 3:00 pm PST is Bill Fretz: jeweler, craftsman, teacher and designer of remarkable tools.
Join us for this LIVE interview- if you have a question for Bill during the conversation, log onto the chatroom at Blogtalkradio.com or send a message to Whaley Studios via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Bill's interest in making jewelry began with his interest in jewelry-making tools (no surprise) and grew after talking to renowned metalsmiths like Paul Evans. Developing his own line of tools was his answer to the design challenges he would encounter, challenges that traditional tools couldn't fix.
It's his love of tools and working with metal, seeing what overlapping hammer blows can do, that inspires Bill to design award-winning jewelry and custom tools. Fretz forming stakes represent perfected precision and unrivaled quality. His innovative, gorgeous tools are not only the prized possessions of scores of jewelry-makers, they have also been exhibited at trade shows and in galleries.
Today, Bill continues to design custom tools and teach students how to use them, all while running his business with his wife Marian in Bucksport, Maine. His best teaching moment to date? As a teaching assistant to jeweler John Paul Miller at Cleveland Institute of Art (his first job). And in every class he teaches, Bill's love of metal-forming is renewed as his students "constantly remind me that designing with metal is an exploration."
Hello and welcome to ART Talk, a series of conversations with the artists and master craftsman that make our world a more beautiful place. What inspires them to create? What does it take to make it in the world of handmade? Today I'm joined by artist, mother, small business owner, master craftsman, jeweler and nature lover Dina Varano. A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Dina has had a presence in the Connecticut River Valley for nearly thirty years. After spending several formative years living and studying in Italy, Dina settled into her studio, nestled deep in the woods surrounding her home and retail space in Chester, Connecticut. At her shop, that fittingly carries her name, Dina displays her stunning collection of jewelry and artwork as well as a mindfully curated collection of the works from other artists. She continues to draw inspiration from the natural beauty at her doorstep.
“I am inspired by nature. I study and explore through drawing in charcoal. My goal is to capture this essence and gesture in metal. I want to show the mark of my hand in each piece and achieve a rhythm of grace and movement. My parents are dancers, at an early age I learned the grace of rhythm and movement which has become a formative influence in my work. I want my jewelry to inspire and welcome play with the wearer.” ~Dina Varano
Our guest on Metalsmith Benchtalk on Thursday, June 4th, 2015 at 3:00 pm PST is studio jeweler and writer, Bruce Metcalf.
Please join us for this LIVE broadcast, and participate by logging onto the chatroom at Blogtalkradio.com or by sending a message directly to Whaley Studios via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Bruce Metcalf, born in Amherst, Massachusetts, is an American artist who uses different materials like wood, metal, and plexiglass. With these materials he uses diverse techniques for the jewelry, sculptures, and wall reliefs that he creates. Many of these works are whimsical yet restrained works that comment on the human condition.
He received his B.F.A. in Crafts/Metalsmithing in 1972 at Syracuse University. He also majored in Architecture at Syracuse from 1968-1970. From 1972-73 he attended Montana State University and from 1973-74 attended SUNY College at New Paltz. In 1977 he received his M.F.A. in Metalsmithing and Jewelry at Tyler School of Art at Temple University.
His entrance into jewelry – like his beginnings as a writer – was unpremeditated. He was an unhappy architecture major at Syracuse University when he took a blind leap into the jewelry department. And to his amazement, he landed in a perfect spot. “I found in that material and those techniques that I really, really fit. I felt, for the first time in my life, at the age of 20, that I had a home doing something,” he says. Fast-forward to the present day, and his jewelry appears in the collections of the Cooper Hewitt design museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Arts and Design, among many others.
Our guest on Metalsmith Benchtalk on Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 at 3:00 pm PST is jeweler Todd Reed, best known for his innovative use of raw diamonds.
Please join us for this live interview and participate by logging onto the chatroom or by sending a message to Whaley Studios via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
In 1992, Todd introduced the aesthetic of the raw diamond to the fine jewelry industry. With designs that challenge the common perception of luxury jewelry, Todd's work is one-of-a-kind wearable art for the true individual.
Todd pulls inspiration from the endless beauty found in nature--the most intricate details of the natural world can spawn an entire collection. Since the beginning, Todd has been involved in every step of the process. All pieces are inspired, designed and hand-fabricated in Boulder, CO and Venice, CA with recycled metals and diamonds that have been purchased through reputable sources.
At a very young age, Todd Reed was introduced to the world of fine art. His mother, a renowned commercial illustrator, ensured that Todd’s childhood was filled with creative work. When Todd was 10 years old, he witnessed a silversmith at work, and it forever changed his perception of design. “I watched in awe as this man turned sheet metal into body adornment in what seemed to be a very short amount of time,” says Reed.
Throughout his adolescence and early adulthood, Todd was drawn to creative arts such as culinary arts, painting, sculpting, clothing design, leather work and eventually, jewelry design. While in his teens, he graduated from culinary school with a developed appreciation for process before result.
Visit www.toddreed.com for more information
In 2004, Anthony Harris spent a pivotal year learning the art of the bench jeweler. For 5 years, he successfully managed one of the nation's largest jewelry repair shop chains. In 2009, Mr. Harris decided to step out on faith and he began building one of the few African-American owned fine jewelry businesses. Anthony's specialized technical experience allowed him to create one of Atlanta's best kept secrets, Harris & Company Jewelers. Tune in to find out what important questions you should ask your personal jeweler.
Our guest on Metalsmith Benchtalk on January 15th, 2015 at 3:00 PST/ 5:00 CST is artist and jeweler Jesse Bert.
Please join us for this live interview and participate by sending us your questions via social media (via Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook ) or by logging onto the chat room.
Originally from the U.S, Jesse relocated to Mexico in 2006. With eleven years of experience as a jeweler, Jesse has a BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from Rochester Institute of Technology, and an MFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from East Carolina University in North Carolina.
Jesse’s prefered work format is sculptural jewelry that incorporates recycled and found objects. Over the past five years Jesse has taught metalsmithing and jewelry techniques on a regular basis, to students of all skill levels, at his private studio in San Miguel de Allende, Gto. He also teaches annual workshops around Mexico as well as in other countries.
“When I am not teaching or working on new pieces, I love to be outside. I tend to my cactus collection or spend time exploring the Mexican countryside and hiking in the mountains.”
Visit his website and Facebook Page.
Our guest on Metalsmith Benchtalk on Thursday, June 18th, 2015 at 3:00 pm PST is metalsmith Pat Cahill.
Please join us for this LIVE interview and participate by logging onto the chatroom at Blogtalkradio.com or by sending a message directly to Whaley Studios via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. We love your questions!
Pat Cahill creates hand crafted sterling silver boxes and fine jewelry.
The boxes are fabricated from sterling silver sheet stock that is hand sawed, filed, soldered, and sanded. The only machines used are a buffer and flex shaft for surfacing finishing of the work. Pat prefers to use hand tools. Each box represents hours and hours of labor.
Pat Cahill's boxes can be used as pill boxes or presentation boxes for that special gift.
Pat Cahill started making boxes and jewelry three years ago after being laid off from his job as a molecular biologist.
Pat is a member of The Society of North American Goldsmiths and was recently featured as the Maker Profile Artist of the week.
This Thursday, September 17th at 3 p.m. PDT, we'll be going back into the MetalSmith BenchTalk archives. We'll be re-airing one of our favoite chats from 2013 with Kevin Potter of Potter USA, a manufacturer of artistic metalworking tools including hydraulic presses, metalsmithing stakes, and dies.
Bio: Kevin Potter began as fine jeweler in Tucson, Arizona. He specialized in carving custom waxes and casting but also drew the designs and set stones, essentially designing pieces from start to finish. He eventually worked into having his own line of jewelry that was sold in stores throughout the US. Kevin gained experience using machine tools while attending the University of Arizona, where he received a BFA in drawing/painting.
He worked in the machine shops on campus and eventually started his own machine shop where he used his tools for the production of stainless steel jewelry. He quickly decided to make silversmithing stakes. He always enjoyed using them in college, but could never afford to purchase them. After he made his first few sets, he advertised them on Craig's list in several cities known as artist communities: Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, etc.
Kevin always liked Otto Frei jewelry supply and contacted them about his stakes. They liked them and decided to carry his line of stakes. Gradually he began to make other tools and started the Potter USA website with the help of a friend who was a retired computer programer.
For more about Kevin and Potter USA, visit http://www.potterusa.com.
Our guest on Metalsmith Benchtalk on Thursday, January 8th, 2015 at 3:00 PDT/ 6:00 EDT is New Zealand jeweler and taxidermist Julia deVille.
We invite you to participate in this live interview by logging onto the char-room or sending a message to Whaley Studios via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
About Julia: Arriving in Australia from New Zealand on the cusp of adulthood, deVille trained as a jeweller and learned further crafting skills studying shoe design before her long hunt for a taxidermy mentorship was successful. Driven by a strong commitment to animal rights, deVille’s sculptural assemblages belie the heroic, trophy-hunting culture associated with mounting dead animals. In a form of gentle protest she combines precious gems and metals with antique ‘ready-mades’ to challenge our disregard for and consumption of both wild and domesticated fauna.
Commissioned by Hobart’s MONA to create a permanent installation in 2011, deVille also won the City of Hobart Art Prize in 2012. She has taken out the People’s Choice Award in the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize twice, and in 2006 her work was included in the MCA’s important Primavera survey exhibition. deVille’s work was acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria in 2012. She exhibits regularly in Australia and overseas.
Our guests on Metalsmith Benchtalk on Thursday, September 10th, 2015 at 3:00 pm PST are lapidary artists and jewelers Tom and Kay Benham.
Please join us for this LIVE interview and participate by logging onto the chat room at Blogtalkradio.com or by sending a message directly to Whaley Studios via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
About Tom and Kay:
Tom has been a lapidary and jeweler for more than forty years. Kay, the beneficiary of his creations over the years, eventually yielded to the lure of creating jewelry and joined Tom in the workshop.
Over the past 15 years, Tom and Kay have had more than 50 lapidary and metalsmithing articles and projects published in the Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine. Since January 2002, they have co-edited a monthly column in which they field questions and offer advice on a variety of jewelry making topics.
They taught Intarsia classes for several years and currently teach Chasing & Repoussé classes at William Holland School of Lapidary Arts. In addition, Tom and Kay have taught Chasing & Repoussé and metalworking and lapidary workshops for The Florida Society of Goldsmiths; Creative Side Jewelry Academy, Austin, TX; Denver School of Metal Arts, Denver, CO; and for gem & mineral societies in Florida and Texas.
Our guest on Metalsmith Benchtalk on Thursday, March 12th, 2015 at 3:00 pm PST is French Canadian jewelry artist Matthieu Cheminee.
Please join us for this live interview and participate by logging onto the chat room or by sending a message to Whaley Studios via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
“I was born in Paris and at the age of 19 moved to Taos, New Mexico, where I started learning jewellery making from Navajo, Hopi and Zuni silversmiths. Seven years later I moved to Mali, West Africa where I studied with Touareg and Bambara jewellers for several years.
I then established myself in Montreal where I joined a jewellery school to learn a more classical view of the trade. Since my arrival there I have been making jewellery and selling it in galleries and shows throughout Canada and the United States. For the past seven years I have been teaching jewellery at a professional school.
For many years now, I have been working to give back to the West African jewellers who taught me and have given me so much. One of the ways I have been doing this is through a teaching collaboration. I have been filming old techniques in Guinea, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso and then creating a course from those videos. I offer these classes in Montreal and split the proceeds with the African jeweller. The revenue created by this equitable collaboration is leading to formidable changes in the lives of these wonderful and skilful jewellers.
I have also been giving many conferences on West African jewellers, their techniques and their day-to-day lives. My hope is to open a jewellery school in Guinea in the near future.”
This Thursday, July 30th, 2015 at 3 p.m. PST on MetalSmith BenchTalk, we will be re-airing one of our favorite past episodes with guest Robert Liu, Editor Ornament Magazine.
About Robert: Robert Kung Shan Liu was born in Rome in 1938 and immigrated to the US from China after World War II with his mother and 4 siblings. Trained as an ethologist and ichthyologist, the Dr. Liu received his Ph.D. from the UCLA where he worked on experimental gerontology and immunology in the Dept. of Pathology, School of Medicine until 1975. Founder of the magazine "The Bead Journal" in 1974, Dr. Liu and his wife Carolyn L.E. Benesh are publishers and coeditors of its successor, "Ornament" since 1978.
Self-trained as a jeweler and photographer, he has written extensively on ancient, ethnic and contemporary personal adornment, as well as gerontology, ichthyology (Ichthyology [from Greek] is the branch of zoology devoted to the study of fish), animal behavior, military technology, and construction equipment. Liu started collecting and researching beads in 1972, in addition to designing jewelry that incorporated beads and other artifacts. In 1995 Dr. Liu wrote/published what is considered to be the most thorough resource on beads "Collectible Beads: A Universal Aesthetic". Check out his book on Amazon: http://bit.ly/7ORn5L.
For additional information on Robert, see: http://www.ornamentmagazine.com/.