About Sophie Lipitz

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The Curiosities of Poly Transfer

If you are interested in incorporating photographs, texture or color into your work, image transfers on polymer clay is a fun and easy solution with infinite possibilities. On March 18th here at the Danaca Studio esteemed teacher, Sarah Wilbanks, will be teaching a one day intensive on everything you could ever want to know about photo transfers on polymer clay.


Throughout the class clear photographic transfers as well as altering the images to conjure unusual textures and rich color will be demonstrated. Ideas for incorporating surface embellishments will also be introduced along with a variety of ways to use transfers in your work including cutting, setting and different options for protecting the surface.This class will cover primarily one type of transfer using a transfer paper and Sculpey Premo. Other techniques will be discussed and time permitting students will have the option to try other systems. We will also discuss the equipment needed should you choose to pursue this simple and affordable method in your home studio. A basic understanding of working with polymer clay will be helpful.

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Image Transfer on Polymer
Instructor: Sarah Wilbanks
March 14, Saturday, 10:30-3:30
Class Fee: $95|Materials list

A sneak peek of the Poly Transfer Instructor:

Sarah Wilbanks

“As a young girl I often spent time making things, drawing and assembling projects without instructions. I come from a line of craftspeople, artists and photographers and have always been encouraged to create. My love of jewelry began with a spool of aluminum wire in High School that led to my first line called ‘Lobes.’ I went on to college to study Fine Arts in Chicago. Later, I learned metalsmithing at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle.For the past 7+ years I focused on one of a kind Fine Art Jewelry, such as hand fabricated silver bird cameos set with images from my collection transferred to polymer clay.I find inspiration from my love of organic forms, color and image. I visit a community garden in my neighborhood often for inspiration and taking photographs.This spring I embarked on a new line of jewelry designed using organic forms set with photographs that I have taken during my travels or from my image collection. I love seeing the story that takes shape when the two are combined.I build the originals by hand and then have them cast locally with a company that uses mostly recycled sterling silver. I fabricate all of my clasps and ear wires by hand. I also transfer the photographs myself to polymer clay to give the images depth and versatility. They are then coated in a layer of polymer for durability.”

Linnie Kendrick: A Teaching Journey


“Creating is structured play.One form grows out of another in the process of making.  I look for simplicity and elegance in form, line, and color when designing my work”, states Linnie.

Linnie has a background in ceramics and glass. She began focusing on enameling and jewelry making when she moved to Seattle in 2004. Since then she has benefited from studying with many terrific local and national artists at Pratt and Danaca. Linnie received a BA in Ceramics in 1985 from the University of Dalllas and was awarded a Penland Core Fellowship from 2002-2003. When she’s not in the metals studio, she’s practicing Qigong or Yoga. Linnie also teaches enameling at Danaca Design and Qigong at Embrace the Moon.


What got you into teaching jewelry/metals?

Throughout my life, teaching is how I’ve shared my enthusiasms. My very first job was a summer camp ceramics teacher in high school. I have taught ceramics, Taiji, and now enameling. Teaching is both challenging and rewarding. I started to teach enameling when there was an opening at Danaca Design. I had taken a few workshops there and I was impressed with the studio.  So I applied and Dana was kind enough to provide me with an opportunity.

What are your favorite materials to work with and why?

I’ve worked with many materials. Each has its own appeal. But if I chose one material, it would be glass. It has reappeared in different guises through my career – glaze on pottery, blown glass, cast glass, and now glass (enamel) on metal. Glass has a candy store appeal that attracts me with its luscious, jewel-like colors. I love its transparent, translucent qualities and its fragility. When enameling, glass allows me to build visual layers and depth to create my own jewels.

L.KendrickBlue Disc

Can you tell us about any memorable teachers from your past who have influenced what you’re doing today, as an instructor or as an artist?

I’ve had the opportunity to study with many wonderful teachers and visiting instructors in a variety of media when I was a core student at Penland and since I moved to Seattle. I am appreciative for all they have shared with me and the help given along the way.

When I think back to the beginning I recall my high school Art teacher, Hong Tatt Foo, He was and still is a painter. To know a working artist made the possibility of becoming one real for me. Mr. Foo’s gentle support and encouragement gave me the confidence to pursue the arts.

LKendrickKaleidoPins2L. KendrickKaleidoPins

Any important insights about life you’ve learned from your students, or from teaching?

I enjoy teaching beginners – their beginner’s mind brings a freshness and joy to art that is invigorating and challenging. As both a student and teacher, I’ve learned that repetition is a good thing. First, hearing the same information more than once, you discover that there is almost always something you did not understand the first time. Second, repetition is the best way to acquire skill and depth of understanding, so practice, practice, practice.

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

I want to ensure that they leave the class with knowledge to move forward with confidence. I also encourage my students to experiment, to be gentle in evaluating their work, and to learn something from every piece they make.


Is there any imagery you use repeatedly in your work?

I’m more attracted to form, line, color, and the inherent qualities of the materials I work with rather than specific images.


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’m a process oriented person, so I enjoy the entire process. The journey is the goal.  My best day in the studio is when I’m able to play and make a detour if something interesting arises. On days when I’m working on the twentieth iteration of a piece, I’m pulled forwarded by the meditative peacefulness of repeating the same process. From design to completion, I love it all – especially when I’m not under a deadline. This is why I’ve always been a maker.

L.Kendrick 2233L. Kendrick2272IMG_1590pcSmaller


Coming up later this month Linne will be teaching two amazing classes which if you love her work as much as we do, you can not miss. February 21st and 22nd are Kiln Fire Enameling Basics I and II. Get a taste for the timeless beauty of glass on metal in these fast-paced one-day workshops. Using a kiln for optimum control, students will learn the basics of enameling to create results that are refined or unexpected, allowing the interaction of enamels and kiln to surprise and delight.

So…If the first February 21st class left you inspired yet out of time, Kiln Fire Enameling Basics II is the class for you. Refine what you’ve learned and explore new possibilities by adding transparent enamels to your palette, special effects with glass shards and beads and rubber stamp images

Thoughts from Nancy Megan Corwin

How long have you been making Jewelry?

I first started making jewelry my freshman year of college.

In what kind of environment do you work best?

I like a studio with lots of windows, and a garden setting. Light is important and also the sense of letting the outside in.

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

I love sterling silver. When I am chasing or forming sterling sheet it is ductile and responsive yet resists just enough to allow for specific detail and crisp edges. It can look soft, organic, industrial and architectural. I also like to work in copper for its softness and warm color.


Have you had any teachers who have shaped you as an artist?

The teacher who had the biggest impact on my work and my career as an artist is Eleanor Moty, my major professor in graduate school.  She introduced me to chasing (detailing the surface of metal with shaped steel tools) and repoussé (punching up the back side of sheet metal to create form on the front), the techniques that have become my passion and the basis to my teaching career. Eleanor is a consummate jewelry artist and perfectionist. She has also become a friend and mentor. Working with Eleanor Moty changed my life’s trajectory in so many ways. Without her support I would not have had the confidence to write my technical and gallery book, “Chasing and Repoussé: Methods Ancient and Modern”, which has lead to the wonderful experience of teaching around the world.


 Are there any other art forms close to your heart?

I love ceramics and collect as much as possible, from plates to sculpture. I have worked in clay a few times and although it is not my main technique or material, I find it very engrossing. I also collect copper vessels from Santa Clara, Mexico. These are beautifully raised and chased pieces made by families who have been working with these techniques for several generations.


 Of the many gallery shows and exhibitions you have been in or worked on, which was the most engaging for you?

Facèré  Jewelry Art Gallery exhibition entitled “Louder than Words.” The jewelry artists were asked to respond to the phrase “Jewelry speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often” and the concept that artists create contrasts and communions between the visual language of jewelry art and the literary language of the printed page. Story telling has been a significant part of my life, both verbally and in the writing I have done related to the artwork I produce. This theme brought up several stories from my past, two of which are represented in the attached images. I used to live in Florida and experienced a minor but still unnerving hurricane. The winds and the darkness were frightening of course, but the eye of the storm is what I remember most – the glowing sun and the sense that I was in a tunnel of light and quiet. The name of this piece is “Silence is Golden”. The second piece, “Heart on Fire” is based on imagination rather than experience. The fire and hot lava at the center of a volcano has always fascinated me. I love the theme shows at Facèré as they spark many new ideas and often cause me to expand my technical experience.

Silence is Golden NancyMeganCorwinHeart on Fire NancyMeganCorwin

 What recent piece are you most proud of?

I have been adding color to my work through colored pencils. For the 3×2 show I collaborated with Larry Scott, glass bead maker, on a piece we called “Late Harvest” – a brooch with a branch theme that I chased and formed, colored with pencil and then added Larry’s beads. We enjoyed working together and the end result pleases us both.

Late Harvest for Australia



Love her work as much as we do? Take her Chasing and Repoussé Class! Coming up February 6th-8th Megan Corwin’s three day workshop will be the one not to miss. See website for more details:


Meet and Greet with Jennifer Stenhouse


A native of Atlanta Georgia, Jennifer Stenhouse currently makes her home and studio in Seattle, Washington. She has been teaching art and jewelry classes, workshops, lectured and exhibited throughout U.S. and Mexico for over 20 years. 

At the University of Wisconsin Madison, Jennifer studied with Martha Glowacki who encouraged her use of mixed media and jewelry skills. Fred Fenster and Eleanor Moty gave Jennifer the opprotunity to develop a strong base in metals techniques and design, and a better understanding of integrity  to one’s craft. 

Jennifer began teaching at Savannah College of Art and Design in Foundations and Jewelry classes as elective. Due to the strong interest from students wanting to major in Metals and Jewelry, Jennifer proposed and the developed The Metals and Jewelry Department. While in Savannah she also maintaned a small studio in the historic City Market. After departing Savannah Jennifer began teaching at the Vermont Art Exchange in North Bennington, Vermont. At VAE she taught several classes and workshops in jewelry, printmaking and drawing.

Currently Jennifer teaches jewelry classes and workshops in the Seattle, Washington area, including Pratt Fine Art Center, Danaca Design, and Tacoma Metal Arts Center. 

jennifer bee
  1. How long have you been making Jewelry?

I actually started making stuff as early as I can remember. My grandfather taught me photography. I was continuing with photography and printmaking in college. I began to use found objects, collage and mixed media elements in the work until they ultimately became 3-d objects. The sculpture scale I was working in was very small. The jewelry studio seemed to make the most sense for the tools and techniques I needed. So I came to develop my skills in the jewelry studio. By 1992, I began teaching at Savannah College of Art & Design. By the following year we developed the new metal department at SCAD.


  1. You teach as well, how did you get into teaching?

I love teaching art. I’ve been teaching since 1990 in foundation classes, art criticism, jewelry, and metals techniques. One of the reasons I decided to go to University of Wisconsin-Madison, was because every other school I was looking at for graduate school, had at least one professor from Madison. I wanted a good start as a teacher in a place that produced good teachers.

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

Well of course! I actually started casting before I learned anything else in the jewelry studio, and I’m still amazed at the endless possibilities. I believe one could study metals and jewelry for a thousand years and not truly master everything. 

  1. We have a variety of your cuttlebone pieces in the gallery, is there anything you’d like to share with us about why you enjoy working with cuttlebone, how you came around to using it, or anything interesting about the material and it’s possibilities?

Ah the awesome little cuttlefish!!! How I love it so! Each one is unique and marvelous. The texture is an amazingly intricate delicate pattern interrupted by carving and captured by metal. The history of the use of cuttlebone as a mold is inspiring. But, the way I like to use it for pattern and immediacy is what makes me most happy!

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

I like casting with silver and bronze, and playing with stones. But I have to admit copper is what I love the most. Because I started in printmaking, copper is the gold standard in the etching and engraving world. So when I first ventured into a jewelry studio and caught a glimpse of their stomp shear scrap bin full of copper….I was confused! What were they doing with it? Hollow forms, color, heat, shape, texture! It was colorful, textural, sensual! Amazing stuff! 

  1. 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’m really seduced by the feel of the materials I’m working with. The textures of the materials and tools. They feel good. I’m always feeling each part, material, stone, saw blade, edges….that is what makes me keep going. But I love the processes of casting. It’s the ritual, the smell, the heat. 


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

Much of my sculpture is based in universal mythologies and synchronicity. I like to try and work with materials that help to relate a narrative, or open a conversation with the viewer. With my jewelry I try to find a way to streamline those ideas and materials into a much more simple thought, comment, or expression. 

  1. Do you have a website related to your work?



Don’t forget to check out Jenifer’s upcoming class at Danaca Design…


Survey of Stone Setting

January 21, 28, and February 4, 11, 18, 25, 6 Wednesday nights, 6:30 – 9:30

Class Photos

This fast-paced, primarily demonstration style course will introduce students to a wide variety of stone setting techniques including a basic bezel for cabochons; prong and flush settings for faceted stones; pedestal settings; tube, post, and bar settings for multiple stones; capture sets; and a few ideas for how to set unusual shaped stones or found objects. Soldering setups and finishing tips, as well as overview of tools and equipment that make setting easier and provide professional finishes will be introduced in this comprehensive and valuable class. For those with experience it may provide some review and/or a critical missing link of information. For beginning students this course will offer an excellent overview of what is possible with stones and simple techniques to jump in and try. All levels, basic metal working helpful.

Instructor: Jennifer Stenhouse


The Wonders of Winter Workshops!

Haven’t had a chance to check out our new Winter Schedule yet? Here’s your chance to get some highlights!


Stone Setting Clinic


Instructor: Kirk Lang

January 5, February 2, March 2

1st Monday of each month, 6:00 – 9:00

Class Fee: $135 or drop-in $60/night

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. 


Polymer Micro Mosaics for Jewelry


Instructor: Cynthia Toops

January 10 and 11, Sat & Sun, 10:00 – 5:00

Class Fee: $275|Some materials included

Cynthis Toops is widely recognized for her remarkable artistry in polymer clay, probably most significantly for her polymer clay mosaics.  In this workshop students will learn her tricks and create incredible micro-mosaics of their own to use like gems in pendants, brooches and/or rings.  No experience necessary.  Details online.


Survey of Stone Setting


Instructor: Jennifer Stenhouse

January 21, 28, and February 4, 11, 18, 25

6 Wednesday nights, 6:30-9:30

Class Fee: $275 | Materials list

This fast-paced, primarily demonstration style course will introduce students to a wide variety of stone setting techniques including a basic bezel for cabochons; prong and flush settings for faceted stones; pedestal settings; tube, post, and bar settings for multiple stones; capture sets; and more.  All levels, basic metal working helpful.  *Students enrolled in this class are eligible to attend Practice Hours.  Details online.


Let’s Make a Spoon!








Instructor: Bill Dawson

February 1, Sunday, 10:30-5:00

Class Fee: $95 | Basic materials included

Create a one of-a-kind small serving, baby, table, or commemorative spoon; it’s not as complicated as you might think!  Spoons are a great gift idea and a marvelous opportunity to explore forging metal to create something other than jewelry.  Copper will be provided however students are welcome to work in silver.  No experience necessary.  Details online.


Chasing and Repoussé: Introduction Workshop


Instructor: Megan Corwin

February 6-8, Three days, Fri- Sun, 10:30-5:00

Class Fee: $350|$25 fee payable to instructor

This class will introduce students to the wonderful results possible with chasing and repoussé in pitch.  Since the Bronze Age, these techniques have been used to create refined and expressive detail bringing metal objects to life with three-dimensional ornamentation.  Students will be able to complete a simple piece and explore a variety of tools and basic tool making.  No experience necessary. 


Beginning Jewelry Series: Rings


Instructor: Dana Cassara

February 14 and 15, Sat & Sun 10:30 – 5:00

Class Fee: $265|Basic materials included

This Beginning Series class focuses on the basic construction of fabricated rings, with and without stones. Each student will construct a simple band ring as well as a ring with a bezel-set stone.  No experience necessary.


Kiln Fire Enameling Basics 


Instructor:  Linnie Kendrick

February 21, Saturday, 10:30 – 5:00

Class Fee: $135|Basic materials included

Get a taste for the timeless beauty of glass on metal in this fast-paced one-day workshop.  Using a kiln for optimum control, students will learn the basics of enameling to create results that are refined or unexpected, allowing the interaction of enamels and kiln to surprise and delight.  No experience necessary.


Kiln Fire Enameling Basics II

Instructor: Linnie Kendrick

February 22, Sunday, 10:30 – 5:00

Class Fee: $135|Basic materials included

If the first class left you inspired yet out of time, this is the class for you.  Refine what you’ve learned and explore new possibilities by adding transparent enamels to your palette, special effects with glass shards and beads and rubber stamp images.  Prerequisite: Kiln Fire Enameling Basics I or equivalent.  Details online.




Surface Treatment with Gold

Instructor:  Suz O’Dell

March 1, Sunday, 10:30 – 1:30

Class Fee: $65 | $35 fee Payable to instructor

In this workshop students will learn to add the luster of gold to their jewelry by applying 24K gold foil to fine silver.  The result is dramatic, creating rich color and beautiful textural possibilities with minimal expense.  All levels.  Details online.


Cold Connections: Beyond Rivets


Instructor: Kirk Lang

March 28 and 29, Sat & Sun, 10:30 – 5:00

Class Fee: $265|Basic materials included

Learn a fast, clean, and durable way of joining two pieces of metal together. This must-have workshop will teach you how to create an exciting variety of rivets, to use micro tap and dies to create custom nuts and bolts and lastly, to utilize small tabs to fold over and attach one piece of metal to another.  Learn to truly marry form and function while designing a piece of jewelry or other articulated object utilizing these techniques.  Basic jewelry making skills helpful, soldering not necessary.  Details online.




An Insight Into Cynthia Toops and Her Amazing Work

Cynthia has been working with polymer clay since the 1980s. While she is known for her figurative micromosaic pieces, in the last few years she has been concentrating on thin sheet work, creating the cone and claw necklaces and the rolodex series. Most of her work is inspired by ethnic jewelry and ancient beads which she and her husband collect. Cynthia has a BFA in printmaking from the University of Washington and a BA in Biology from Drake University. She spends long hours researching and planning work with Dan Adams, her husband and collaborator. Besides her jewelry work and teaching, she enjoys sushi.


What’s your background? Is it in art, or something else?  I have a BA in Biology from Drake University and a BFA in Art (Printmaking) from the University of Washington.

You often use unusual materials in your work, when did you start making experimental jewelry? What do you like about it?  I work primarily with polymer clay.  I started making beads in 1986 and then made small brooches and necklaces.  My first necklace included glass and stone beads and found objects combined with my polymer beads.  This was inspired by African jewelry where they use disparate material.  Glass is another medium I have worked with – micromosaics and enameled glass pieces.  I also enjoy dry felting but developed frozen shoulder and trigger finger which necessitated a temporary haitus.


What attracted you to polymer clay?  I cam across polymer clay during a visit to Hong Kong.  It is a very accessible material and requires very little equipment or outlay that was a big attraction to a beginning artist.


Your works exhibit huge attention to detail, have you always worked this way?  I like to work small, especially on micromosaics because I hate conditioning clay!

What kind of imagery or inspiration do you use? Or, can you tell us about any recurring themes in your work?  Lot’s of times the image is dictated by the theme of the gallery show.  When left to my own devices, I often use folk stories or animal imagery.  Sometimes I incorporate simple everyday life (e.g. knitting, hiking, enjoying a cup of coffee, etc…) into my pieces.  In my necklaces they are often about color, textures or playing with different shapes and materials.


You regularly collaborate with your husband, Dan Adams.  How is working as a team different from working on your individual work?  The first thing we have to decide on is a piece that is exciting to both of us.  It could be a color theme or story line.  Then we work separately on the beads and then discuss whether they work together or if its back to the drawing board.  It is more difficult that working on your own, but sometimes the piece is richer because of the additional challenge.


Have you had any one teacher who have shaped you most as an artist?  I think Glen Alps, my advisor at the University of Washington Printmaking program, is my biggest inspiration in regards to work ethic.  Even into his 80’s he still spent time in the studio every day.  I believe in hard work and commitment which often means long hours.


 Cynthia Toops thin work 1Cynthia Toops Flora II, closeup


If you like what you see and would like to learn more from such a great artist sign up for her class at Danaca Design Today. Cynthia’s Class “Polymer Micro Mosaics” will be on January 10th and 11th 2015, come visit or give us a call before all the spots fill up! Check out our website for more details, http://www.danacadesign.com/index.php?p=index

A Chat With Amanda Bristow

Amanda Bristow was born on the southern coast of Oregon and spent most of her childhood and early adult years in the Midwest. There, she cultivated an intense adoration of cheese and earned her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art. After finishing school, Amanda was drawn back to the Pacific coast in pursuit of an art career. She currently resides in Seattle Washington… collecting moss and looking for whales. We have an abundance of Amanda’s work in the Danaca Design Gallery and asked her a few questions to get to know her and her work a little better…

whale necklace

How long have you been making Jewelry?

About 10 years, although I’ve been making some form of jewelry most of my life.  I come from an extremely creative family, so as a kid I was always making stuff from odds and ends around the house.  I had a lot of beads and craft supplies.  For a long time every Christmas or birthday someone was getting a beaded friendship bracelet or some other strange creation I had come up with. I didn’t stumble upon metalwork, however, until I was much older.  I was going through a really tough breakup, had to move back home, and needed something to distract me from my situation.  I signed up for a jewelry class at the local community college and fell in love.  A few classes in I realized that I wanted to be a jeweler, so I looked for an undergraduate program in jewelry and the rest just fell into place.

You have a constant theme of animals in the work of yours we have in the gallery, where does this come from?

I love animals and had a lot of special pets growing up, plus a good amount of animal dolls.  There was always a great appreciation for nature in my family and we spent a lot of time outside, so I think I just developed an affinity for animals of all kinds pretty early.  I’ve also have a great fondness for stories in which animals are featured prominently, whether it be beautifully illustrated children’s books or more “adult” novels like ‘Watership Down’.  When I was a little older I found that animals became a great vehicle for the nebulous emotions I wanted to communicate in the drawings I was making.  I think that over the years, animals just became so second nature in what I was making that it became impossible to extricate them from anything I am doing now.  But, I really have come to like that, as I don’t think I have exhausted the potential of animals as a metaphor yet.
fox ribbon broochowl ring

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

The size is perfect for me.  I love working really small scale.  I am a very detail oriented person and I like to get obsessive with tiny little areas.  Its so much easier for me to focus on craftsmanship when handling a smaller amount of space.  Whenever I have to make something large, it inevitably turns out very oddly proportioned with less refinement than I had hoped.  My brain just doesn’t think in the same way past a certain size.  I also find great pleasure in the strong emotional sentiment that jewelry carries.  I think its pretty wonderful that I could create something a person would be so attached to that they might wear every day or that is somehow associated with a really significant memory.

leaf sprout earring

​ Have you had any teachers who have shaped you as an artist?

I had a lot of great instructors at the Cleveland Institute of Art who taught me some amazing technical skills, as well as how to talk about what I was making.
When I moved to Seattle I was really fortunate to discover the wonderful network of jewelers here, especially Micki Lippe.  Being fresh out of school, I had no concept of what to do with a degree in jewelry or how to even set up a basic studio without all the expensive tools that I had at my disposal being in an academic setting.  After working for Micki and getting to know all the wonderful people in her studio, it gave me a much clearer idea of how to actually make a living doing what I love, especially in a creative sense.  When I was in college, there was so much emphasis to make jewelry that was highly conceptual and laden with cultural significance.  It was truly refreshing to finally meet people that just made the things that they were passionate about and wanted to wear.  In a more traditional academic sense though, English teachers have always had a big impact on me.  Since most of the work I do has an underlying narrative current to it, I’ve always been quite interested in storytelling, character studies, and why people create narratives in the first place.

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?

Wax carving.  Once I discovered wax carving I was hooked.  I really enjoy the speed and ease of working in wax, the way you can work so smoothly, creating volume and undulations, things that would take forever using metal.  I also tend to be the type of person who needs a big eraser or has difficulty with the subtractive sculpting process.  With wax I don’t have to worry about altering something beyond repair.  If I carve something too deep I can always easily fill it back in again without much effort.
frog prince necklace
In what kind of environment do you work best?

Being a fairly quiet person, I work best in solitary environments.  I feel like so much of my inspiration for anything I am making comes mostly from my own internal landscape.  I daydream a lot, so I work best when I can just hermit myself up at home and get really lost in my own thoughts.  It helps too if I can get a little bit of time outside throughout the day or take advantage of a brief sunbreak.  When I am feeling particularly overworked or stressed, a little bit of time outside listening to the birds or the wind rustling through the trees always recharges me.  In fact, taking breaks has really become an essential part of my work day.  I used to be a person that could work on one thing all day, eating lunch at my bench, never for a second disengaged from what I was doing, but then I realized that I often get the same amount of work done in shorter spurts and still have time to do other things.

lost boot watercolor
Are there any other art forms close to your heart?

Illustration was always my first love.  I have been drawing as long as I can remember and my Mom is an illustrator, as well as an all around amazingly creative person, so it has invariably become something that is still a big part of my life.  I think what pulls me in most about illustration is the idea that I could express so many emotions that I was unable to verbalize just through imagery.  At different times in my life I have found that when I am feeling a little off balance or stuck in a rut I turn to watercolor.  There is something about being really focused on the tangible aspects of a small painting that allows all these other feelings to surface and resolve themselves in the most wonderful way.  I don’t think I will ever quite understand the magic that happens with that process.  When it comes to purely recreational artistic pursuits, I do love to sew.  It often seems so effortless compared to many of my other tedious interests and I find the softness of fabric to be a good contrast to working with metal all day.  Although honestly, I really just love making anything!

Thanksgiving is the time to pick up your tools and come take a class!

Looking to take a break from turkey day cleanup? How about a brief vacation from the in-laws? We have two great classes running thanksgiving weekend that everyone should think about coming to! Both are beginner classes, great for the whole family.

Basic Band Rings


The construction of a basic band ring is simple yet challenging. The ring must fit, be comfortable and of course beautiful! This quick ring class will focus on the construction of a basic fabricated band ring. We will cover measuring, cutting, chasing and embossing for texture, as well as basic soldering and some forming techniques. Each student will leave class with a simple yet well-made and lovely ring to show off. No experience necessary.

Instructor: Dana Cassara


Soldering Essentials


Whether you’ve had a soldering class, attempted to learn from a book, or never even tried, if you are looking to learn to silver-solder or just get better at it, this class is for you. Detailed demonstration will be presented followed by lots of hands-on time at the soldering table. Students will be shown a variety of soldering projects and set-ups and have the opportunity to create several solder samples. We will discuss different torches including acetylene/air, butane, and propane/oxygen, as well as safety concerns. No experience necessary.

Instructor: Dana Cassara


Give yourself a break from the holidays; bring you kids, friends, significant other, or mom! Make some time for yourself and sign up today. 


not a turkey


More holiday breaks coming up.. 

It my still be on the back of your mind but we cant wait to have you sign up for our New Years/Christmas classes! Need something to occupy your time off? We have two great classes running between those holidays, check them out…

Precious Metal Clay Basics II: December 27th 

Class Photos

Now that you have a little experience with PMC under your belt, continue to explore and learn more about this remarkable material. In this class students will have the opportunity to construct and fire several of pieces of their own design, and exploring various ring styles and prong setting. This quickie class is designed to allow students to pursue projects of their choice with instructor guidance and build confidence with the techniques and equipment gaining a stronger foundation to work with PMC independently. Come to class with project ideas and discover how much more you can do with this clay. PMC Basics I required.

Instructor: Suz O’Dell

Using the “Smith Little-Torch”: December 28th

Class Photos

When it comes to silver soldering there are several torch options. One of the most popular among bench jewelers is a mixed fuel, oxy-propane, “little-torch”. Micki Lippe will show you why in this one day workshop designed to demonstrate the versatility and precision of this well loved tool. Whether you own a mini-torch or not this is a great opportunity to pick up some soldering tricks from a seasoned professional while exploring the ways in which the “little torch” can benefit you. Set up and basic maintenance will be covered and students are encourage to bring their “soldering problems” to class! Basic soldering experience necessary, also this class is a prerequisite for using our shop “little torch”.

Instructor: Micki Lippe


Happy Holidays from the Danaca Team!

Learning More About Harlan Butt


We’re fortunate to have Harlan Butt coming to the studio next month to teach Cloisonné Enameling in the Round. We wanted to share a bit about him with you, so please read on to learn more. 


Harlan will be teaching Cloisonné Enameling in the Round will be on November 8, 9, and 10 from 10am-5pm. We do still have a couple open spaces, so if you’re interested give us a call. 

Now on to Harlan!

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Harlan W. Butt is an artist working in metal and enamel who specializes in vessel making. Many of his vessels feature 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 is past President of the Enamelist Society, past President of the Society of North American Goldsmiths and a Fellow of the American Crafts Council. His work has been exhibited internationally and is represented in the permanent collections of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, the Museum of Art & Design in New York City, the Mint Museum of Art & Craft in Charlotte, NC, the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, the Wichita Center for the Arts in Kansas, the National Gallery of Australia, the Cloisonné Enamelware Fureai Museum in Ama City, Japan, the Glass Furnace in Istanbul, Turkey and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

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What got you into teaching jewelry making/ metals?

As a graduate student I was a Teaching Fellow and taught a beginning class. I liked sharing what I knew with students. After grad school I applied for teaching jobs but didn’t receive an offer for one for about a year and a half, at San Diego State University in 1975. I’ve been teaching since then.


Can you tell us about any memorable teachers from your past who influence what you’re doing today, as an instructor or as an artist?

I have to give credit to my forth grade teacher Ms. Newell, who helped me have confidence in myself and my high school art teacher Mr. Steitzin, who encouraged me to develop what talent he thought I had. Professor Stanley Lechtzin at Tyler School of Art gave me a great foundation in technique and the desire to be the best I could be. Brent Kington at Southern Illinois University was the ideal example of an artist/metalsmith who was passionate about his work and who cared about his students.


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

I hope to express passion I have for what I do and how I think it can give your life meaning and purpose. I believe technique and craftsmanship are the vehicles we use to express ourselves as artists. You can’t do it without them but they are the means not the ends.


Your artwork often appears rooted in inspiration from the natural world, has it always been this way? When did this passion begin?

I have had an interest in knowing about and understanding nature, both as real phenomena and as metaphor for what and who we are since I was a child. It has been the subject of my work as an artist since the beginning.

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In what kind of environment do you work best?

Until recently I would have said that I work best alone in my studio. But in the past few years I have had students working with me in my studio a few days each week. This has been rewarding for me and I have learned a lot from them.


Many of your pieces employ cloisonné enameling technique, what makes this technique one of your favorites?

I have produced over 450 pieces and many of them do not employ cloisonné, in fact many early pieces had no enamel. Its true that most of my work since about 1985 includes some cloisonné. The technique allows me to draw with lines and to create patterns with hard edges, unlike some of the other enameling processes. But I have also used champlevé, basse taille, stencil, silk screen, ceramic pencils and painting enamels on my work.


If you could only embark one piece of information to your students that they will remember for the rest of their lives, what would that advice be?

Wow! I’m not a sage and I don’t know if anything I could say would be that memorable, especially for someone’s entire life. I’ve found that different information and various knowledge can have a critical impact on someone at the time a person is ready for it and not be so significant at other times. But to believe in yourself, to be disciplined but open, to avoid attachments that are unimportant or unhealthy and to pursue a passion in something and not let anyone or anytime keep you from doing it. That’s about the best I can come up with.


Besides cloisonné, what is your favorite technique to teach?


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Thank you Harlan! 

We’re really looking forward to having him in the studio next month. If you’d like to register for Cloisonné Enameling in the Round give us a call at 206-524-0916. We’re here Tues-Fri 11-6, and Saturday 10-6.


You can see more of Harlan’s work on his website: http://harlanwbutt.com





Everything to Know About Pulse Arc Welding with an Orion Welder

Arc Welding 1

There’s a micro-revolution happening in studios. It takes place one pulse at a time but in the long run can result in big savings of time and money. It is called Pulse Arc Welding and we here at Danaca Design are lucky enough to have a selection of Orion Welder experts teaching a class here on October 26th. Spots are going fast. This class is a super rare opportunity to learn about this equipment without having to own it yourself.

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Developments in pulse arc welding technology are giving jewelers an alternative to soldering that can ultimately allow them to indulge in more creative pursuits.Pulse arc welders use a sharpened electrode tip that is placed on the seam. An electric energy pulse of argon gas produces a rapid-fire zap that joins the metal. One can connect metals with no fear of firescale, or more importantly, causing damage to precious stones that already are in place. This is truly breaking ground. 


Pulse Arc Welding with the Orion
October 26, Sunday, 10:00 – 3:00
Class Fee: $65
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.  

More details on our website: http://www.danacadesign.com/index.php?p=classes&c=descriptions#orion_welding


Don’t forget to sign up, and fast! Why pass up an opportunity to experience the future of welding?

206.524.0916 Tues-Fri 11-6, Sat 10-6 




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