About Kristen Hummel

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Mother’s Day is May 10th!


Is there a mother in your life you’d like to recognize? She may be your own mother, the mother of your kids, or a friend’s mother who’s special to you?

Our gallery is full of great work right now and we just might have the perfect gift for the mother in your life. 

Use promo code MOMROCKS to get 10% off your gallery gift purchase until May 10th. 

For moms who would rather make than wear, we also have gift certificates which can be used towards any of our classes or tools.

Gift Certificate

The gallery is open Monday-Friday 11-6, and Saturday 10-6. Come visit and see if anything grabs your eye!

5619 University Way NE




Meet Bill Dawson, Metalsmith


Bill Dawson is one of our talented instructors here at Danaca Design. He teaches a variety of classes covering hollowware, forming, forging, metal inlay, engraving, fabrication, and tool making. We also sell a variety of his chasing and forming tools here in the shop. Bill got his start in metals with blacksmithing at the University of Oregon, and has been a working metalsmith and teacher ever since. Recently Sophie asked him a few questions. I loved reading through his responses, especially his take on functional art and artless objects- it definitely made me want to take a class with him!

Okay, here you go!


What’s your background? Is it in art, or something else?

I never really imagined doing anything much beyond art, because I never imagined being able to hold down a job.  My childhood hero was Georgia O’Keeffe, and I wanted to grow up to be more or less just like her.  I started out as an oil painter, at around four years old. Though I no longer have it the first painting I can remember making was of a grey dog on a green background.  I do however have the first metal sculpture I created, an iron pony I made when I was eleven. 



You work in all kinds of mediums and styles, what are your favorite materials to work with, and why? 

I divide creative work into four broad categories:  Additive, assembly, fabrication, etc; subtractive, carving, stock removal, etc; transformational, casting, and shaping; and ephemeral, performance and time based art.  I’m going to give you a favorite for each.  Painting is the medium with which I have worked the longest, and is my favorite additive art, though textiles come a close second.  Each new painting is a unique challenge, and they never become routine.  I like to carve all sorts of material: bone, amber, jet, antler, stone and so forth, but if I had to pick just one to work from now on it would be cedar, and specifically Port Orford Cedar.  It is a variety of yellow cedar that grows in Western Oregon, and has a texture similar to redwood.  I love its smooth strength, carveability, and smell. .999 silver would have to be my favorite transformational material, though there are many metals that I love working, including copper, bog iron, and high karat gold.  The thing about pure silver is that it is just about the ideal material for so many techniques: forging, inlay, casting, etc.  It is both beautiful and profoundly workable.  I don’t do much ephemeral art, but I do enjoy playing music.  My voice is not much to talk about, but I like playing woodwinds, especially playing early music.


Everything from tools to jewelry to sculpture to wood, you do it all. As a bit of a Renaissance man; what aspects of your artistry do you enjoy the most?

I most enjoy seeking the balance between the functional and the artistic.  I find that mass produced functional but thoughtless items have no life to them, and art without function is a bit like hothouse flowers that are inedible.  Making a beautiful tool is what I consider the highest form of creativity.  I don’t think of myself as a Renaissance man, but more an Arts and Crafts man.  I take far more inspiration from Hubbard and Morris, than from Brunelleschi and DaVinci.  I love to do a good job of creating, but I want others to be able to do that good work as well.  I think that the most exciting times are when I am working to rediscover some lost technique that I can revive and pass along to other artists.


What kind of imagery or inspiration do you use? Or, can you tell us about any recurring themes in your work?

The main themes in my work are place and history.  I very much believe in the importance of context, and creative honesty.  Much of my work is either rooted in the Pacific Northwest, or steeped in history, or both.  

100_8366 100_8950


Aside from the skills outlined in your class, what do you hope to bring to your students?

I could go on about this at length, but I will try to keep it to something reasonable here.  The first thing that any creative person needs is the courage to start a project.  Modern society tells us to fear making mistakes, which are part of learning anything, but too often that fear kills the creativity in us, before we can even get going.  The next thing that we all need is the humility to pay attention to our materials and change plans as they dictate.  You can’t force your work to be something that it is not, and if you listen the nature of your materials will come through in your work, just as your creativity will be expressed through your materials.  The final thing I want students to develop is the grit to see a project through, not to rush it, but to stay with it until it comes to a natural conclusion.


In what kind of environment do you work best?

I do most of my best work alone, even when working on a collaborative project.  It is not that I don’t want people around at all, but I like to have a direct and intimate connection to my materials, and this is easiest in private.  When I take breaks I like to get out of the studio and if possible outdoors or on the water.  I find that a long walk, a ride on the motorbike, or a paddle on the canoe helps clear my mind so that I can come back to my work ready to give my best. 




Bill is currently revamping his website, but you can still visit and check things out while it’s under construction: http://billdawsonmetalsmith.com

We’ve also started a new class series with Bill, Hollowware Fundamentals Beginning Series. Look for our Spring quarter schedule to see what’s next in the lineup! Join our mailing list for early access to each quarterly schedule: http://www.danacadesign.com


Valentine’s Day is Almost Here!


Heart Earrings, Tory Herford

Need a Valentine’s Day gift for your sweetie? It’s just under two weeks away, and we have a bunch of new work in our (recently rearranged!) gallery!


Necklace with carnelian, Dana Cassara

We just started carrying Todd’s work this winter, and he’s got several great rings to choose from.


Garnet Rings, Todd Hughes

Geometric Bling large and small 3

Diamond Necklace, Dana Cassara


Daisy Necklace, Dana Cassara

Dana’s been making these cute little sterling silver and gold daisies lately!


Daisy Ring, Dana Cassara

Amanda Bristow is a gallery regular and always has a variety of sweet pieces. I really love her work!


Arrow Necklace, Amanda Bristow

Dana also has a series of these great little heart necklaces in the gallery right now.


Heart Necklaces, Dana Cassara


Stop by and see what speaks to you!

We’re here Tues-Fri 11am-6pm, Sat 10am-6pm.


Hollowware Fundamentals Series


Raising in progress (source below)


This January we are introducing a new hollowware series at Danaca Design with artist and instructor Bill Dawson, The Hollowware Fundamental Series. Kicking off the series is Hollowware Fundamentals: An Introduction.

The series will include classes on a wide range of hollowware processes including angle raising, crimp raising, hollow fabrication, and mixed media with hollowware. After taking the introduction workshop (or another equivalent class) students may take the remaining Hollowware Fundamentals Series classes in any order. I’m really looking forward to seeing what our students make in the fabrication and mixed media classes!


Crimp raising in progress (source below)

Crimp raising in progress (source below)


Fabricated hollow forms (source below)

Volcano Cups by Bill Dawson

Volcano Cups by Bill Dawson


Hollowware Fundamentals: Introduction
Instructor: Bill Dawson
January 24 and 25, Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 – 5:00
Class Fee: $245|$25 Materials Fee Payable to Instructor

The Hollowware Fundamentals Series covers the diverse techniques and traditions used to create practical and artful hollow objects like cups, bowls, and other vessels.  After completing the Introduction students may take any of the workshops in the series offered throughout the year, including Crimp Raising, Angle Raising and Fabrication.  Students who complete the series will have the breadth of skill to choose the techniques best suited for any project and execute them with skill and flair.  Kicking off the series is the Hollowware Fundaments Introduction. This workshop will cover the basic techniques common to all hollowware including layout, proper annealing, boughing, plannishing, and simple finish work.  We will not cover patinas, or edge finishing techniques in depth.  Forming techniques in this workshop will include sinking and hammer stretching, allowing students the opportunity to complete at least one simple copper vessel.  No experience necessary.



Sonchun by Bill Dawson

Landscape Lamp by Bill Dawson

Landscape Lamp by Bill Dawson


Look for these other Hollowware Fundamentals Series classes later in the year:
Hollowware Fundamentals: Angle Raising
Hollowware Fundamentals: Crimp Raising
Hollowware Fundamentals: Fabrication
Hollowware Fundamentals: Mixed Media

Find the complete class details on our website: http://www.danacadesign.com/

To register give us a call at 206-524-0916. We’re here Tues-Fri 11-6, and Sat 10-6








Bill Dawson came to art metals by way of blacksmithing at the University of Oregon. Since then he has been making a living with metalsmithing, both teaching and creating custom pieces for all manner of patrons. A close examination of metalwork of ancient cultures of Ireland has given Bill a deeper understanding of the character of the metal itself, as well as the aesthetics of the past. You can see Bill’s work at www.billdawsonmetalsmith.com.



I just love the hammer sound in this video on angle raising. It’s kind of musical.
The video runs through raising a basic copper vessel, it’s about 7 minutes long.





Tool Kits Now Available!

Starter Kit

Did you know we sell a variety of metalsmithing and jewelry making supplies? We also bring in new products from time to time as our students and instructors request new tools or supplies. We carry tools for forming, cutting, wax working, soldering, polishing and buffing, chasing, measuring, stamping, flex shaft machines and accessories, and safety. We also sell a variety of metalsmithing books as well. 

Now we’re also putting together tool kits! If you’re just getting started with metalsmithing and jewelry making, or are looking to set up a home studio, one of our kits may be a perfect fit for you! A starter kit would also make a great holiday gift for the metalsmith in your life. 

We have starter kits specifically for fabrication or soldering, as well as a couple others that are intended to flesh out your setup as you move on to more in-depth projects. We understand each artist will have different tool needs, but we’ve collected a set of basics we think just about everyone would find useful. 

Between now and Christmas our Fabrication Starter Kit will be 15% off! We’ll also include a complimentary Danaca Design canvas tote bag as part of the holiday sale. To request a kit just give us a call and we’ll put one together for you. 

Starter Kit - tote

The Fabrication Starter Kit includes

  • saw frame
  • saw blades
  • cut lube
  • sandpaper
  • dust mask
  • bench pin with anvil
  • needle files
  • steel ruler
  • dividers
  • chain, flat, and round nose pliers
  • hole punch plier
  • tapered flush cutters
  • ballpein hammer
  • rawhide mallet
  • book,The Complete Metalsmith by Tim McCreight
  • complimentary Danaca Design canvas tote


The Complete Metal Smith- Tim McCreight

The Complete Metal Smith- Tim McCreight

Nifty Hole Punch

Nifty Hole Punch



Give us a call at 206-524-0916 to reserve a kit or to learn more! We’re here Tues-Fri 11-6 and Saturday 10-6.




A Little Bit About Jeff Georgantes

3 rockpendant2 copy

Jeff Georgantes, Rock Pendant

Every quarter we offer a mix of beginning and more specialized intermediate and advanced classes with both local and visiting instructors. Next month we’re excited to have visiting instructor Jeff Georgantes in the studio teaching Fire, Forge and Flush-Stone Setting. While this class is more specialized and won’t cover the same material as our beginning classes, it’s still open to all skill levels. We have room for just a couple more ambitious students in this class.

Fire, Forge and Flush-Stone Setting
Instructor: Jeff Georgantes
December 13 and 14
Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 – 5:00

This class will lead you on a journey filled with twists and turns to explore a variety of core metalsmithing skills that culminate with a finished silver ring. First, using either your own or purchased recycled sterling silver you will cast an ingot. Then with the help of the rolling mill along with hammers and an anvil, you will forge out a silver ring. Next, you’ll practice flush setting faceted stones, getting ready for the real deal, setting stones into your hand-wrought silver ring. The class will be filled with tips and tricks for ingot making, forging and flush setting, including making your own setting tools. Open to all skill levels!

Jeff G

Jeff Georgantes

A little about Jeff, from his website:

JEFF GEORGANTES has a MFA in Jewelry/Metals from CSU, Fullerton and a BA in Art and a MA in Sculpture, both from CSU, Humboldt. He taught Art at College of the Redwoods, Eureka, CA, for fifteen years and has taught numerous visiting artist workshops across the USA. He helped develop and coordinate the Jewelry/Metals program at the Mendocino Art Center from the early 1990s until 2005 when he started his position as head of the Jewelry/Metals program at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH. His work can be seen in Alan Revere’s book, The Art of Jewelry.

4 steelwasherring2 copy

Jeff Georgantes, Steel Washer Ring

ceramic ring copy

Jeff Georgantes, Ceramic Ring


Sophie asked him a few questions recently, and I really enjoyed reading through is responses! The questions and his answers are below. 


What’s your background? Is it in art, or something else?

I’m one of those oddballs that figured out their life’s path as a teenager. I went to a high school that offered Jewelry as part of its shop program. At 16 years old, I became obsessed with making jewelry and working with metal. It has remained my life’s passion ever since. One of the things that I’m most proud of is that since graduating from college in 1979, I’ve only been employed as an artist or in something art-related.  There’s been a lot of struggle and sacrifice, with many twists and turns, but somehow I’ve been able to pull it off.

8. shell locket open

Jeff Georgantes, Shell Locket (open)

7. shell locket

Jeff Georgantes, Shell Locket


Your narrative work is very unique, when did you start making artwork this way and how did you discover it?

I went to college in California in the 70’s.  West Coast Funk Art was big then had a strong effect on craft related arts across America. West Coast Funk was a movement of painters, sculptors and craft artists and was a reaction against abstract expressionism. Narrative format played a strong role in Funk.  Painters William Wiley, Wayne Thiebaud, ceramic artist Robert Arneson, and jewelry artists like Ken Cory, Jim Cotter, and David Laplantz were strong early influences of mine. I also took a lot of film history classes in college.  In my very early work, I imagined I was making movies with jewelry. That’s how my narrative work started.


What are your favorite materials to work with, and why?

I like working with the full range of jewelry material options. On a practical level, I don’t work with gold or diamonds in my own work too often, because they are so expensive and don’t leave a lot of room for experimentation.  But… I’m very lucky to have worked a fair amount in jewelry stores over the years and have gotten to a chance to work extensively with precious metals and stones.  That’s a real treat! The only way to really learn how to be a diamond setter is to set a lot of diamonds and how does an average person accomplish that? The easiest way is get a job as a bench jeweler in a jewelry store, which is what I did for a long time. 

In my own work, currently I use silver, gold accents, rough hand-cut stones, found objects and calibrated cabochons. I like being able to combine lots of different materials in unexpected ways.

4. amythest pen.back

Jeff Georgantes, Amethyst Pendant (back)

3. amythest pen

Jeff Georgantes, Amethyst Pendant


I find that jewelers tend to have one part of the process they love best, for some it’s sawing, for others it’s soldering. Do you have a favorite part of the jewelry process?

I don’t really have one process that I like above all others. My obsessions go in phases. Sometimes it’s soldering, sometimes it’s casting, sometimes it’s stone setting. When I was in high school I was obsessed with grinding and polishing my own cabochons.  I got a job as a dishwasher and saved every paycheck until I could buy a ’63 Volkswagen convertible and a lapidary grinder/polisher/rock saw.  The Volkswagen didn’t stay long, but the lapidary grinder has been with me ever since. Two summers ago, I unearthed that ancient lapidary set up and replaced all of the wheels with modern diamond wheels and brought it back to life. Now I’m obsessed with grinding found rocks.  Almost every piece in my current solo exhibition has found rocks that I’ve ground on that old high school tool.

Recently I bought a PUK pulse arc welder. I’m definitely obsessed with that. With pulse arc technology I’m pretty much able to throw away all clamps, literally hold the parts together, tack them and solder after that. It’s not an understatement to say, this is life transforming!!


What kind of imagery or inspiration do you use? Or, can you tell us about any recurring themes in your work?

Every morning that I can, whether it’s in the forest, at the beach or on a city street, I try to start my day with a walk or a run. I seem to get my best thinking done on those morning journeys. I think about everything and I think about nothing.  Love, politics, what I have to do that day, how pretty the river, a tree or a flower is, new ideas for sculpture and how cool that thing on the ground would look in a piece of jewelry.  I spend a lot of time looking at the ground.  Part of that is so I don’t fall on my face, which sadly I do every once in while. On another level though, it’s because there is so much amazing and wonderful stuff down there that I can’t stop from picking it up. Sometimes my running short’s tiny pockets get so filled that I have to carry things as well.  Not a very practical idea when running, but it’s an obsession. 

I like to juxtapose those found objects, which have inherent, yet overlooked beauty and contrast them with conventionally thought of precious materials such as calibrated gemstones, gold and silver. In my time working as a custom goldsmith and stone setter, I learned that almost all forms of stone setting mechanically entrap the gem. At some point, I realized that I could utilize many of those traditional techniques to hold other types and shapes of objects.  I am endlessly intrigued with coming up with imaginative ways to entrap found objects. Besides traditional stone setting techniques, I love using miniature nuts & bolts, taps & dies and whatever else I can figure out as well.


You have made everything from engagement rings to saddles, what kind of work is the most inspiring to you?

You know…. I just like making stuff out of metal. It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s a diamond ring or a 13’ steel sculpture.  The ability to work and learn new things is what inspires me the most.  When I first started in college I wanted to become the best metalsmith that had ever been. It took me about two weeks to realize that was impossible and not a very smart goal, but what replaced it was to learn as much about metal as I could.  Over the past 40+ years, I’ve tried to learn or at least be aware of as much of my ginormous field as I can. 

All of these phases bring rewards.  Stone setting is introspective and disciplined. I love that. Making the silverwork for Skyhorse Saddles custom saddles, led me to learning how to ride a horse and owning an Arabian mare and doing endurance rides. What a gift!! Steel and bronze sculpture taught me how weld and how to cast things bigger than a grape. That’s influenced my work both big and small. It’s all inspiring.


Jeff Georgantes, Georgantes Brooch

9. Kastelli

Jeff Georgantes, Kastelli


Jeff Georgantes, Fence


Of all the places you have taught, which has shaped you most as an instructor?

I fell into a job teaching jewelry at a small Northern California Community College, named College of the Redwoods.  The previous instructor had a family emergency and had to cancel right before classes began. At the last second, I unexpectedly got the job. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I had a gift at teaching and over time it became a co-career.  Teaching at a rural community college, I had a very diverse mixture of students. I learned that everyone has a story and that many have to power through tremendous adversity to move their lives forward.  I worked with homeless students who lived in the forest surrounding campus or the school parking lot. Others were recovering drug addicts and alcoholics. Occasionally, there were students who were convicted of a crime and were given a choice of jail or college. There was an endless stream of reentry students, who for infinite number of reasons wanted to go back to school, to try and make their dreams come true. Many were fresh high school graduates who didn’t really didn’t want to be there, but somehow stuck with it and found their place. The age range was 16-80. It was an honor and a privilege to meet and share time with every one of them. What I learned at College of the Redwoods is that everyone who takes classes whether towards a degree or just a weekend workshop is there to transform their life in some way.  My job as a teacher is to help them accomplish their goals in whatever way that is appropriate and possible.

That philosophy helped get me my current position as head of the Jewelry/Metals program at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Many people don’t realize that the big colleges like Dartmouth are “need blind,” meaning that ability to pay has nothing to do with being accepted. Everyone has to be smart, but not everyone has to be rich. Over 60% of Dartmouth undergraduates are there on full scholarship.  That means mixed up with students from some of the wealthiest families in America, are kids from the inner city, rural Native American reservations and Third World villages.  What I love the most is that unless someone tells you, you don’t know where anyone is from.  What binds them all is that they may be smart, but they’re not necessarily wise. They’re still kids.  It’s up to me and a zillion others, to help mentor them to become the future leaders of the world.  It’s so much fun and it is fulfilling beyond anything that I could ever imagine. Having a philosophy rooted in accomplishable idealism is a job requirement for a career in education.

the night she...

Jeff Georgantes, The Night She…

6. Living with Katie

Jeff Georgantes, Living with Katie

1. twig-acorn chain

Jeff Georgantes, Twig Acorn Chain

13. Pine Cone Chalice #1

Jeff Georgantes, Pine Cone Chalice

14. pinecone-apple pen

Jeff Georgantes, Pinecone Apple Pendant

Thank you Jeff!

If you’d like to grab one of the last two spots in Jeff’s Fire, Forge and Flush-Stone Setting give us a call at 206-524-0916. We’re here Tues-Fri 11-6 and Sat 10-6.


Gallery Artist Tory Herford

Tory Herford, necklace

Tory Herford, necklace

Tory Herford is a regular part of the community here at Danaca Design. As a studio member she’s here working at the bench every week, and sells some of her jewelry in our gallery. 

We want to know more (and share with you!) about the artists behind the work in our gallery. So to continue this blog series we asked Tory if she’d answer some questions for us. 

twin stone rings  (Tory Herford)

Tory Herford, twin stone rings

How long have you been making Jewelry?

I’ve been tinkering around with it since about age 13. While my family were great lovers of art, none were visual artists or especially crafty. When I was about 20, I was asking around about family history and discovered that one Great Grandfather was a blacksmith/architectural iron craftsman. We still have some things that he made in the family!  My Great, Great Grandfather was a goldsmith and watchmaker. So, that explained my odd (to my family) obsession with metal and tools. I guess genes do pass down! I can really feel the ancestors speaking up on occasion. Its kind of spooky actually- sometimes I just know what some random tool will be good for when I’ve never seen or used it before (not to be confused with using the tool correctly or as intended, but it works!). The Ancestors didn’t know everything of course, so still plenty to learn!

cloud pendant  (Tory Herford)

Tory Herford, cloud pendant

orbit ring  (Tory Herford)

Tory Herford, orbit ring

What’s your background? Is it in art, or something else?

I’ve always been an “arty” person. I studied Fine Arts at Cornish and consider myself a “Reformed Printmaker”. While it was a good experience, I was just out of high school and I think I was really too young to be there. Fine Arts was probably not the best fit for me, and I drifted to Pratt on and off for various classes of interest- all of which involved metal. Being free from academic “programs” and allowed to study what I was directly curious about was really huge. I’m a big evangelist for non-traditional educational models like Danaca and Pratt.

I also sculpt and do Black & White photography. I’ll do one thing for a few years, and then discover another and do that for a while. Nothing is ever fully abandoned. I’ve been at it long enough now that I notice how one discipline informs or influences the other. The tonal contrasts from photography often influence texture and patina in my jewelry. Sculpting completely came out of nowhere, emerging quite suddenly about 10 years back. Working 3-D was something of an explosion and confetti pretty much came out of my head! Being responsible for that much surface area and how the light slid over it was quite a revelation. In spite of my related experience, this was metalsmithing “boot camp”. Both my design and metalworking skills leapt forward. And then back to my jewelry, which is sometimes sculptural and sometimes about line. Its all a big circle.

I’ve had various ongoing day jobs, which contributed to my house mortgage but not my artistic growth. We all know how that goes….

live oak infrared  (Tory Herford) adobe infrared (Tory Herford)

Is there anything in particular that you like about jewelry as a medium?

Modern society and weather require us to wear clothes, but jewelry is optional.  There is something both primal and intimate in the choosing of an ornament, -we wear it as much for ourselves as we do for others.  As a maker, I express my creativity in designing work, but I also get to participate in someone else expressing their individuality when they wear one of my pieces. There is a lovely continuity and connection in that. We can all enjoy a beautiful painting on the wall, but it’s not the same experience or exchange.

What are your favorite materials to work with, and why? 

I’ve mostly worked in silver and bronze- they are like butter and a joy to create with. I’ve tried some gold here and there but it literally didn’t want to work with me at all! I need more advice on how to come to harmony with it. I’ve recently dipped a toe in lapidary work, and it’s all I can do to not fully veer off in that direction! Commercial stones are getting much less inspiring to work with. And again- sculpting and line want to assert themselves.

rabbit  (Tory Herford)

Tory Herford, rabbit

Tory Herford, dove

Tory Herford, dove

I find that jewelers tend to have one part of the process they love best, for some it’s sawing, for others it’s soldering. Do you have a favorite part of the jewelry process?

I like finish work/polishing the best. This is where the piece wakes up and fully comes to life.

earrings with garnets  (Tory Herford)

Tory Herford, earrings with garnet

Tory Herford, infinity hoop earrings

Tory Herford, infinity hoop earrings

What kind of imagery or inspiration do you use? Or, can you tell us about any recurring themes in your work?

I’m a huge fan of antique Japanese decorative items. There is almost nothing more beautiful to me than their aesthetic. And the craftsmanship-OMG. Much of my work features references to nature and is meant to give the viewer a moment of tranquility or meditation. I also love Modernist/Scandinavian jewelry from the 1940’s-1960’s. These items often have great vitality, and a fantastic quality of line that is almost calligraphic. Its very playful and dynamic.

Tory Herford, cuff bracelet

Tory Herford, cuff bracelet





We have a variety of Tory’s jewelry here in the gallery. And if you like those twin stone rings up there near the top of this post, we usually have a selection of those to choose from. Stop in to see what Tory’s been making lately. We’re here Tues-Fri 10-6, Sat 11-6.



The Key Transformation, in the Gallery at Danaca Design Studio

Dana Key 3

Dana Cassara, Key Transformation

The Jewelry Challenge at Danaca Design is an on-going design and exhibition project.  Each artist is challenged to create a piece with a specific theme or object. The final projects are then exhibited in the Studio Gallery.  For this challenge, The Key Transformation, each artist received a key, the most boring pad-lock key imaginable, identical except for the ware. The results are remarkable.

Nancy Key 3

Nancy Hom, necklace detail

Nancy Key 1

Nancy Hom

The final pieces demonstrate an excellent range of metalsmithing possibilities as interpreted by a handful of diverse artists including students and seasoned smiths. They are very fun.

Lexi Lee

Lexi Lee

Rachael Key 1

Rachel De Nys

Suzy Key 1

Suzy Whitehead

Emily Key

Emily Hickman

Erika Key

Erika Laureano

Jillian Key

Jillian Tacher

Maggie Key 2

Maggie Thompson

Dana Cassara

Dana Cassara

The Key Transformation is on exhibit in the gallery through November 8, 2014. Come by and take a look, the variety is pretty awesome!

Gallery Hours: Tue-Fri 11-6, Sat 10-6

Danaca Design Studio

5619 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105



Coming Up This Fall!


Fall is a great time to get back into the studio and we’ve got a lot to look forward to this quarter at Danaca Design! We have a variety of stone setting classes on the schedule right now. This would be a perfect time to take up stone setting, or expand and hone your skills. And we’re very excited for visiting instructors Harlan Butt, Jeff Georgantes, and Andy Cooperman. 

For the stone setters, or soon-to-be stone setters, we’ve got Unique Settings for Found Objects with Jennifer Stenhouse, Fire, Forge and Flush-Stone Setting with visiting instructor Jeff Georgantes, and a monthly Stone Setting Clinic with Kirk Lang. 



Unique Set

Unique Settings for Stones and Found Objects
Break away from using ordinary bezel settings for cabochons and learn to create simple but uncommon, even fabulous holding systems for cabochons, faceted stones, enamels and other found objects. The focus of class will be on choosing the right setting for the piece as well as soldering and construction tricks including how to hold work together while creating these unique settings. 


fire, forge, flush ring bigger

Fire, Forge and Flush-Stone Setting
This class will lead you on a journey filled with twists and turns to explore a variety of core metalsmithing skills that culminate in a finished silver ring set with faceted stones.  Class will begin with casting and end with polishing and in between the two, you will roll, hammer and set stones. This class will be filled with tips and tricks and is open to all skill levels!  



Stone Setting Clinic
Stone setting can be challenging sometimes. Don’t let intimidation prevent you from getting better at it; come get some help from the stone setting doctor! Professional stone setter Kirk Lang will guide you through your particular challenges. Drop-in or register for all three nights for a substantial discount. Basic Jewelry making and stone setting experience required.



At the end of October Andy Cooperman will be returning to help students get more out of their flex shaft machines. Everyone seems to really love Andy’s classes, and they fill up fast!

flexshaft (1)

It Ain’t just a Drill: Getting the Most From Your Flexible Shaft
So, you’re a jeweler or metalsmith about to be stranded on a desert island. You can bring only one tool. (Oh yeah, the island has electricity). What tool do you bring? If you were Andy Cooperman you’d most likely bring your Flexible Shaft machine. It may be the most versatile tool at the bench. And yet for many makers it is the most underutilized and least understood. All levels.


Also in late October, experts from Orion will be teaching folks how to use their pulse arc welders. They’ll have a few different machines in the studio for students to try out.

Pulse Arc Welding with the Orion
Pulse Arc Welding allows the jeweler/Metalsmith to join elements in places near and around materials that cannot be heated.  It’s worth restating: we can create seams and fabricate objects up against materials that can’t take the heat. Think of the possibilities!!!! This technology has been around for a while but most of us don’t have a welder sitting around our studio as they can be a bit pricey—although not out of reach.  But if you could try one on for size with an expert ready to answer every question, now wouldn’t that be great? Well, your wish is my command… This will be a chance to get to experience the Orion pulse arc welding system up-close.


And then in November enamelist Harlan Butt will be teaching cloisonné enameling on curved and hollow forms. We’re lucky to have him in the studio this quarter! This is a great opportunity for students looking to further their enameling skills. 

Cloisonné Harlan W. Butt

Cloisonné Enameling in the Round
Cloisonné is essentially drawing with fine wire and coloring with vibrant glass.  This diverse enameling technique can be simple and easy or complex and challenging.  The process becomes increasing challenging (and magnificent) when working on curved surfaces, especially a vessel.  Harlan W. Butt is an artist working in metal and enamel who specializes in vessel making.  Many of his vessels employ cloisonné patterns inspired by the natural environment.  Harlan is a Regents Professor of Art at the University of North Texas where he has taught since 1976. He will go over the basics about enamel however the focus of this class is to challenge students to explore the potential of drawing with wire and bringing these drawings to life with colored class. Relative beginners can work cloisonné on flat or slightly domed copper. More advanced students can try working on a 3-D copper form.  Basic metalsmithing/jewelry skills helpful.  Basic enameling is required.


For complete details on these classes, and to see what else is coming up, please check out our full fall quarter schedule on our website: http://www.danacadesign.com/index.php?p=classes&c=fall2014



What is the Beginning Series?

Begining Intensive Collage

I get a lot of questions from eager prospective students wondering how to get started working with metals and making jewelry. Where exactly is the best place to start? Today I wanted to talk a little about our beginning classes. 

Immersion BEG  5

We offer a number of classes suitable for folks who are brand-new to metalsmithing or have just a little bit of experience. Students in these classes may be first-timers, returning to the bench after an extended break, or are back for a repeat of the class to cement their skills or follow up on a technique that didn’t quite stick the first time around. These classes usually focus on a specific technique or aspect of jewelry making. This fall we’ve got Soldering Essentials as well Basic Bead and Wire Jewelry which are both great classes for beginning level students. There are a variety of beginner-appropriate classes every quarter. Rings for Beginners 2

Immersion BEG 6

And then for a comprehensive introduction to metalsmithing and jewelry making we have the Beginning Jewelry Series. The Beginning Jewelry Series consists of three separate weekend (Sat&Sun) classes. Together, these three classes are designed to cover the same material that would be covered in a 10 week college beginning class in metalsmithing and jewelry making. The three Beginning Jewelry Series classes can be taken in any order. Typically we run all three classes every quarter. In most cases, this series is where we recommend you start. 

Look for these classes on the schedule:
(The Rings class will not be offered Fall Quarter but should be back in the rotation Winter Quarter.)

  • Beginning Jewelry Series: Introduction
  • Beginning Jewelry Series: Links and Hollow Construction
  • Designing and Silversmithing Beginning Series: Rings

Immersion INTER 7beginning jewelry hollow wareRings for Beginners 1Immersion INTER 5

Completing the Beginning Jewelry Series will leave you with a good foundation of skills and knowledge, allowing you to dive into the specialized and intermediate classes, explore more challenging or unconventional materials, and work independently on your own projects.

begining rings

Students who have completed the Beginning Series and have specific ideas they’d like to pursue or skills they’d like to refine are great candidates for Mentored Independent Study, which is offered on an ongoing basis every quarter. 

More information on these classes can be found in our Fall Quarter Schedule:http://www.danacadesign.com/index.php?p=classes&c=fall2014

If you have any questions or would like to sign up for a class give us a call at 206-524-0916! We’re here Tues-Fri 11-6 and Saturday 10-6.


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