Image and Mark Making in Enamel with Jan Smith
August 17-19 at Danaca Design
“I love the diversity and seductive qualities of the enamel and enjoy sharing an understanding of the material with students. I begin with a simple sketch, using the enamel as a printmaking or drawing medium, I work rather intuitively allowing the work to evolve. There is an element of assemblage or evolution in my process and composition, and I am excited about the imperfections in the surfaces.” -Jan Smith
With her decades of experience as a printmaker and jewelry designer, Jan Smith has a remarkable amount of expertise creating various compositions in enamel with a wide range of techniques. Her illustrative approach is translated into botanical and natural forms as well as more abstract and modern designs that rely on linear detail, diverse layers of color, and fine execution.
Over three days in August, Smith will lead students through a broad range of techniques to develop exciting surfaces. With sgraffito, students can create multiple layers of contrasting color by scratching or drawing designs in a top layer of enamel allowing the color beneath to show through after the piece has been fired. Through multiple layers of opaque or translucent glazes, different effects and levels of depth in the piece can be achieved. Underglaze pencils and watercolor techniques allow for more intensive detail and line-work, as well as intriguing color-play evoking greater subtlety and depth in the designs. Over-glazing in translucent or clear finishes can achieve unifying effects and protect the piece. Ultimately this workshop will open a whole new world of detail and depth to every students enamel work.
In Image and Mark Making in Enamel, Jan Smith takes the time to explain how each method can work with the others to build distinctive pieces. Students create prototypes of each technique, getting a feel for each method’s possibilities, and then create a series of pieces that can be incorporated into their jewelry. Armed with new knowledge, tools, and enamels, practitioners will have an entirely new narrative with which to compose pieces and images to “make their mark”.
We can’t wait!
Sometimes the old ways are the best. The first weekend in August silversmith and jeweler Juan Reyes will take students through several casting techniques that have been used for millennia in, Low-Tech Gravity Casting. Not only are they tried and true, these methods also use a minimal amount of equipment, and can be easily reproduced in a home studio, or even in your backyard.
Juan will guide students through various mold making processes and approaches. Whether it’s sand casting found objects, such as twigs or buttons, exploring the unique textures of cuttlebone, or carving your own molds in tufa stone that you can reproduce time after time, this two day casting class opens novice and experienced jewelers alike to this fun and rewarding sculpting method. It is also one of the best ways to use your scrap silver!
With his expertise and enthusiasm Juan Reyes brings warmth and creativity to every class he teaches. He recently took the time to answer a few questions about his work.
What got you started in metal smithing and jewelry making?
My family has several jewelers in it. As a child, jewelry was something that I didn’t want to make when I was living with them. When I came to Seattle, I realized that I was missing that part of my family.
What do you like best about casting pieces?
One of things I like about a casting a piece is that once you made the first piece, you can make a mold and make as many as you want.
Do you have a favorite casting method?
Sand casting is my favorite method. It’s easy for me, because you just have to have something to print into the sand, then you close the mold and pour the metal. However, at the end of my class everybody has their own favorite method.
What are the biggest challenges new learners might have in this class?
The big challenge that I notice in my class all the time for my students, is learning to be comfortable with a big torch and pouring the metal into a mold once the metal is melted.
Do you have a favorite casting material?
Silver is my favorite metal to work with. Silver is very forgiving, you can melt and reuse it many times, that’s why I like it.
It’s hard not to get excited when Charles Lewton-Brain comes to visit!
A master goldsmith who has crafted and taught around the world for over four decades, Charles Lewton-Brain is also the primary inventor and constant innovator of folded forms in jewelry and metalsmithing. He literally wrote the book on it: Foldforming. In a remarkable one-day workshop Saturday, July 21, the true master of this form will take us through the steps to make a wide variety of three-dimensional objects. Forms made with this method resemble chased, constructed and soldered forms and can be made with most metals, including steel. Through annealing, forging, manipulation with pliers and the student’s own hands, practitioners will become acquainted with the properties of different metals. Charles explores how different metals behave as they are folded, forged, and formed using his techniques, and how to use this knowledge to create beautiful and distinctive objects for jewelry and other assorted metalsmithing projects.
In a brief statement Charles brings some insight into his process:
I began my interest in jewellery at age 17, visiting a Native American named Sonny Spruce in Taos, New Mexico, then went to Art College in Nova Scotia and went on from there.
I work in all metals, and other materials. Process and the nature of the material inspires me. I also give myself parameters for a piece, structures to work against as I plan a work.
My work is about drawing, about mark making with material and about the tension between nature and structure. In my cage work I utilize the grid and a tension, a ‘frisson’ between nature and structure. The grid represents humans, culture, rules we choose and construct. I believe in Beauty, and that ‘beauty’ is related to nature (form, surface texture, colour. Allowing the materials to do the work, letting nature show in the work lends it a ‘beauty’ that I cannot easily reach by forcing form onto the material. The marks of process are compositional elements. This is seen in foldforming work. I have used most types of foldforming in my work, with scoring and bending being primary for a number of years.
Aside from teaching two workshops (at Danaca and The Barn) Charles is also giving a free lecture on Friday evening, July 20 at BIMA! A great opportunity especially if you were not able to attend one of the workshops. Details below.
Date: Friday, July 20
Time: Doors 6:00 p.m. / Lecture 6:30 p.m.
Location: Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
550 Winslow Way East, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Cost: FREE! Donations welcome.
This lecture is made possible through the joint efforts of SMG and the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, who are co-sponsoring the event at the museum. Many thanks to the cooperative efforts of the BARN on Bainbridge Island and Danaca Design who are jointly bringing Charles to Seattle to offer a workshop series. Please see more information on the workshops and more information about Charles in the newsletter below.
Doors at the BIMA open at 6:00 p.m. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis. The BIMA bar will be open for purchase of drinks and light snacks.
BIMA is walking distance from the ferry dock. Parking is available at the museum.
As a jeweler and metal sculptor, Kirk Lang has spent more than 15 years teaching refined jewelry techniques and creating innovative wearable forms. His approach has created pieces that seamlessly join traditional metals such as gold and silver, with more modern materials, such as meteorite, titanium, and niobium, in innovative and compelling ways.
“The wearable objects I create directly reflect my interest in astronomy and space exploration,” Kirk says in his artist statement. “The shapes, textures, materials and color palette found in the celestial environment are all elements that find their way into my work….The intended result is to make one of a kind wearable pieces that are functional, durable and evoke a sense of curiosity.”
July 27-29, Kirk Lang brings his expertise as well as his distinct vision and precision to Danaca Design for an intensive, three day Cold Connections class, Cold Connections Beyond Rivets—exploring a multitude of non-soldering construction approaches that create unique forms and allow jewelers to use unusual materials in their jewelry. With a wide variety of techniques, students can learn new ways to meld materials together seamlessly that aren’t solderable with conventional metals, including titanium, wood and plastic materials.
Kirk’s mastery of these techniques and his enthusiasm for the craft are inspiring, and make his classes a true pleasure. He recently took the time to answer a few questions about his work using these techniques.
How have cold connections influenced your work? Did gaining these techniques push you towards specific materials, construction methods or design ideas?
Initially, constructing objects via cold connections solved a problem I was experiencing. Before cold joining parts together to build pieces, I would often solder but wasn’t satisfied with the quality of metal afterwards as it would naturally get annealed during the soldering process (especially silver and copper alloys as they are such good thermal conductors). Plus, I would always be left with a lot of fire scale to deal with and at some point I thought to myself, instead of spending that time cleaning up the metal after soldering I’d rather use it designing and constructing new pieces. So, what cold connecting allowed me to do, was keep each part clean and work hardened while I joined everything together to complete any given piece. Essentially one is able to maintain the integrity of the metal during the process and not having to clean up fire scale was a nice added bonus. Then, ultimately I realized it had its own aesthetic and started emphasizing that in my work.
Do you have a favorite cold connections method?
I can’t say I have a favorite but I do love riveting and what the end result looks like when it comes out clean. I also really love making screws or cutting threads into metal. Another process I enjoy, despite doing it less often, is metal inlay. Really, I don’t think there is a cold joining process out there I don’t like!
What are the biggest challenges that new students will have in this class?
The nice thing about learning various cold connections is that it isn’t as daunting as some other processes might be. There is not a lot of risk (regarding the piece) involved so if something goes awry, usually it can be fixed relatively easily. On the flip side however, in order to get optimal results, taking the time to make sure everything is prepared as precisely as possible will show in the final piece…so there can be a slight learning curve. Like in almost every metalworking process it seems, patience is a virtue.
What are your favorite materials to use when utilizing cold connections methods?
My favorite materials range considerably and are most often chosen based on the specific design I am working on. That said, almost always, I like one metal to be hard and the joining metal to be soft. In riveting for example, it is ideal to have say two metal sheets that are work hardened to some degree and then the rivet itself to be annealed. That way, when the rivet is hammered down against the work hardened metals it will mushroom out nicely and work harden in the process…leaving a very strong connection. In my personal work, I often work with titanium so almost any other metal I choose will be softer, which makes cold joining a convenient option. That is why I often use precious metals such as gold or silver as rivets in my pieces. I also really like the tonal contrast and overall aesthetic it imparts.
With Kirk leading the way, Cold Connections Beyond Rivets will teach you how to create flat, domed, tube, hinge and seamless flush rivets. He will also take you through the steps in learning how to use micro tap and dies to create your own custom nuts and bolts and lastly, how to utilize small tabs to fold over and attach one piece of metal to another. As you learn and practice these techniques from a master in cold connections, you’ll discover exciting new directions for your design and construction process for your jewelry and other articulated objects. Learn more at www.danacadesign.com.
Danaca Design is a studio with a mission—to teach you how to make jewelry (of course) but beyond that the aim is to give you the opportunity to be productive and creative at your comfort level, to help you hone skills and gain new abilities, so you can stretch, grow and experience achievement. One of the most exciting and effective ways to do this is in a week-long intensive, otherwise known around here as Total Immersion.
In a week-long intensive students are presented with specific projects while being encouraged to explore their own design ideas.
In Total Immersion: Beginning Jewelry Making students start with a sawed and hammered copper brooch and a sterling silver pendant incorporating a bezel set stone. As the week continues, students build on their new knowledge to create personalized designs using a wide variety of techniques and tools. Total Immersion: Intermediate Jewelry opens with a not-so-simple pill box. This workshop is really about refining basic skills to achieve more technical projects including hinges and faceted stone setting.
In the community formed by a week-long intensive, students are encouraged to share ideas and problem solve together during class. The group dynamic brings a broad range of perspectives and experiences, opening up a wide variety of possibilities for construction and design.
Looking for a great activity for your child this month? Instructor Tegan Wallace will be leading students ages 8-12 into total immersion in a challenging age-appropriate jewelry summer camp. In this fun and empowering week, children explore wear-ability, fundamentals of color theory, and composition within the context of jewelry making. Students practice a wide variety of “fire-free” jewelry techniques, including bead stringing, metal cutting and forming, wire work, and basic rivets. Like the adult jewelry intensive, this camp encourages collaboration, allowing students to see how others work and design. Students leave class with a collection of jewelry they’ll be proud to wear or gift (never too early to start thinking about winter holidays!). In addition, the techniques they learn at camp can be done at home, and Tegan will provide information on how to set up an at-home work space.
Give yourself or your child the opportunity to dive into a Total Immersion workshop this summer!
The “Heavenly Bodies” gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art featured a dazzling array of celebrities wearing outfits of various levels of audacity, usually leaning heavily on the Christian iconography that was the theme of the show. But another feature that was highly visible was that of multiple people wearing crowns and tiaras. Pieces on this trend have been written, from the New York Times to more specialized fashion blogs.
Meanwhile on the west coast, we started to explore this particular challenge about a year and a half ago. Danaca Design first proposed a tiara show in summer of 2017. The idea was met with equal parts enthusiasm, trepidation, and skepticism. Many artists loved the idea of the spectacle implied in such a show. Others saw crowns and tiaras as either frivolous or not relevant in today’s modern era. And still others (probably the most sensible ones of all) were intimidated by the engineering challenges, the scale, and the sheer weight of materials that they would have to coax together into a finished piece.
In late January of 2018 Dana Cassara called a meeting for the artists who had committed to contributing to the show, to talk about strategies and challenges in the design and construction process. Some final pieces were already present to try on and inspect as attendants pondered proper fit and balance of their own works. Others brought out components that were waiting to be mounted onto frames or to be formed into crowns. Metal flowers, brass filigree sprigs of grass, strands of pearls and stings of delicate wire loops filmed with iridescent paper were all admired and passed around.
With a few exceptions, most of these artists had never attempted a piece of this particular scale. It was interesting to hear how people were wrestling with the challenge of interpreting their personal skills, manufacturing preferences, and design aesthetics into these pieces.
As the submission deadline loomed, sketches were made and prototypes were rendered. Some pieces were caught in polishers, others were melted before they could be fixed onto frames. Fingernails were worn down to the nub, blood was shed, metallic spray paint was wielded, drill bits were broken inside tiara frames, and every possible fixative known to jeweler was used to rivet or solder or tie or glue or pray the pieces into being.
In the end, 24 artists took on that challenge, and created a broad array of headpieces that sparkled, shone, and sometimes moved and dangled, balancing precariously on the head, or digging into the wearer’s scalp or cradling it like a hat.
On the night of the opening show models strode back and forth through the studio to a cheering audience. A photo booth allowed attendants to try on various crowns, as the creators further discussed the challenges and influences they worked with while putting their pieces together, and determining how they were meant to balance on the wearer’s head. The show generated an inspiring energy that is only evoked when a daunting challenge is met an interpreted in so many ways that the possibilities continue to seem almost boundless. Short video clips can be viewed on our Danaca Design Facebook page.
In the wake of that energy, Danaca Design, its members and surrounding friends and artists have been looking to the next challenge—and are meeting it with a Feast of Brooches in honor of Mother’s Day. On Saturday, May 12, the studio is hosting a “brooch brunch,” show opening, and the wildly diverse contributions of its 29 artists will be featured in the studio gallery throughout the month of May.
This coming March Danaca Design will be hosting a show featuring tiaras and crowns in many forms called Crowning Glory: Ruling Our Own Destinies, Directing Our Own Paths. While the artists will be exploring the diverse cultural, artistic, historic, and social narratives of these accessories April decided to look into the history of these royal accessories to use as a post on the Danaca Design blog. It turned out to be a fascinating subject so instead of making one post she turned it into a four part series leading up to our show opening and reception on Friday, March 2, 6-8:30pm. This week part 2 is focused on some of the current and historical royal regalia in Asia
Traditionally, crowns are worn as a symbolic form of headwear by a monarch or deity to denote power, legitimacy, victory, triumph, honor, and glory. While today it is common to wear crowns for things like costume parties and brides will wear a tiara, but when you hear the word crown it usually conjures up visions of kings and queens and fairy tales about knights fighting dragons; in other words the king and queens of Europe and their fashions.
But I’m not talking about them today. Today I’m going to talk about some of the crowns and headdresses of Asia. In the strictest sense coronations are when crowns are given to the king or queen when they as send the throne. These sorts of coronations are historically rare because only a few monarchies, particularly in Western Asia, ever adopted the concept that the placement of the crown symbolizes the monarch’s investment to the throne. However the head may still be symbolically adorned in other ways such as the Sarpech or aigrette turban ornament of India’s Maharajas.
Kings in Bhutan wear a special headdress known as the “Raven Crown”, symbolic of the king’s authority as well as the raven-faced protector deity of Bhutan, Legoen Jarog Dongchen. The current king is Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck became the most recent recipient being coronated in November 2008, a year which marked 100 years of monarchy in Bhutan.
The coronation ceremony of the Thai monarchs includes a consecration by anointment and a crowning. The Great Crown of Victory was made of gold in the reign of King Rama I in 1782, and it is enameled in red and green. King Rama IV added a large cut diamond from India to the crown called the Great Diamond Phra. The crown is distinctive, a multi-tiered conical diadem with a tapering spire on top.
Malaysia has an interesting form of enthronement where the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, which literally translates to “He who is made Supreme Lord”, is an elected monarch. The office was established in 1957 and every five years is elected by and from the nine rulers of the Malay states. The royal regalia has an official headdress but not a crown…which is also an interesting story. According to legend the first Sultan of Perak set sail to Perak carrying on his ship many of the royal regalia including the Royal Crown of Malacca. During his travels his ship entered shallow waters and was stuck. The only way they could get the ship moving again was by lightening their load. One by one they threw items into the sea but still the ship refused to budge. Finally the only item left was the Royal Crown of Malacca which was thrown into the sea. Immediately the ship set sail again and the Sultan seeing this as a miracle swore than he, his descendants would never wear a crown as Sultans or never be crowned during their installation. This practice came to be followed by Malay Sultans of other states and the Maylay head-dress known as the Tengkolok came to be the replacement for a crown.
That ends part 2 of this series. For part 3 we’ll look at various regalia for kings in Africa.
This coming March Danaca Design will be hosting a show featuring tiaras and crowns in many forms called Crowning Glory: Ruling Our Own Destinies, Directing Our Own Paths. While the artists will be exploring the diverse cultural, artistic, historic, and social narratives of these accessories April decided to look into the history of these royal accessories to use as a post on the Danaca Design blog. It turned out to be a fascinating subject so instead of making one post she turned it into a four part series being posted every Monday in February leading up to our show opening and reception on Friday, March 2, 6-8:30pm. This week part 1 is focused on the ancient history of tiaras and crowns.
Tiaras, crowns, these head ornaments have been used for centuries to symbolize social superiority and power, have a history going back to ancient Egypt and Greece. Originally these head pieces were called a “diadem” derived from the Ancient Greek “dia dein” meaning “to bind around”. The ancient Egyptian pharaohs would wear gold head-bands that could be decorated with tassels and other ornaments that hung over the forehead, temple, or even down to the shoulders.
An excellent example of this is the diadem discovered in the tomb of Tutankhamun, King of Egypt in ca. 1339-1329 b.c.e. (pictured above) Discovered during the excavation of his tomb in 1922 the kings mummy was adorned with a gold diadem formed in a circlet, at the front a detachable gold ornament with the head of a vulture and the body of a cobra, symbolizing the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt. It is also inlaid with glass, obsidian, carnelian, malachite, chalcedony, and lapis lazuli.
In Ancient Greece diadems were made from all kinds of metal, and with a limited amount of gold available, Greek metalsmiths would decorate them with embossed rosettes, filigree, and other motifs such as the Heracles knot which was found frequently in Hellenistic jewelry. Once Alexander the Great opened up the gold supply from the Persian Empire in 331 B.C.E. the styles became even more elaborate and often contained intricate garlands of tassles, leaves, and flowers.
The shift from diadems as just a circular band to what we now consider tiaras and crowns today is attributed to Ancient Persia, now Iran. The original term “tiara” is Persian in origin and in its original form describes the high peaked head decoration worn by Persian kings. However in ancient Persia crowns were worn in many forms and ancient authors did not always distinguish clearly among the various terms for them, making the most reliable evidence for forms of Persian crowns/tiaras are the depictions on objects such as monuments and coins.
Kings from the Achaemenid period wore tall and serrated golden crowns, called a crenelated crown, which was adorned with gold leaves and colorful jewels. The 22 or 24 serrations of the crown symbolized towers, battlements, temples, or the Sun. The Achaemenid queen wore a jeweled crown with a thin piece of cloth reaching her knees attached. Based on historical documents it seems that the only difference between the King and Queen’s head wear was the thin cloth.
However it was not just the royal Persians that wore head covers to denote status in society. From writings by the ancient Greeks it appears that a tiara was a soft headdress often with a high point and members of the Median upper class wore these high, crested tiaras. Median civilians and officers covered their heads with round and soft egg-shaped felt caps which were decorated with lace. Ancient reliefs depict archers with these caps and a crenelated diadem worn over them. Upper class Achaemenid women wore long headscarves some reaching down to their ankles. This shawl-like headdress was not wrapped under the neck but was usually worn with a diadem on top very similar to many popular bridal veil styles worn today.
Well that wraps up part 1 of this 4 part series. Honestly it is really hard to figure out when to stop because their is just so much fascinating history but if you want to check out more really cool pictures of ancient diadem, crowns, and more I suggest going to The Metropolitan Museum’s website at www.metmuseum.org where you can browse their entire collection online.
Check back next Monday to find out about the crowns and tiaras of south and east Asia…I can’t wait.
Greek diadem: Staatliche Antikensammlungen, Munich via http://metmuseum.org Metropolitan Museum of Art
Achaemenid Seal: The Met, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/323560?sortBy=Relevance&ft=achaemenid&offset=20&rpp=20&pos=29
Coin with Tigranes: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tigran_Mets.jpg; Author unknown
If you have a metalsmith on your gift list (or if you’re still looking for ideas to tell Santa) we have lots of items that would make great gifts at Danaca Design.
This month we have 10% off of most tools and supplies but if you spend $100 or more take 20% off!
We also have gift cards that can be used on classes, tools, or jewelry in our gallery so that should cover just about everyone left on your list.
Here is a list of some of our favorite tools that make great gifts:
Electronic Torch Lighter:
This is the kind of thing that you never think of buying but really are happy to have. As metalsmiths we are lighting our torches over and over so this is one gift that will get a lot of use.
Xuron Wire Cutters:
Everyone should have a pair of xuron wire cutters. Once I bought mine I gave away my other wire cutters. They are that good. Available in both tapered flush and double flush xuron cutters make cutting wire a breeze.
This is another one of those items that you don’t *need* but is really nice to have. We carry both the ring bending and bracelet bending pliers. They make bending rings and cuff bracelets go so much faster.
Gifts under $50:
Double Horn Anvil:
This little anvil will fit on even the smallest benches. Useful for forging small jewelry and can be screwed down to a stump, jewelers bench, or table.
Stop squinting at your work and use an Optivisor. I’ll admit…I resisted using an Optivisor for a long time but once I started using one it made my life much simpler. This visor comes with 10x magnification to really let you see what you’re working on.( I noticed I made less mistakes once I could see better too.)
Bur sets are another jewelry making staple. Whether you get the cup, ball, or setting bur set they’ll get well used a lot.
Gifts under $100:
Miter Cutting Vise:
This miter cutting vise will let you make precise and even cuts in sheet, wire, tubing, and flat stock up to 4mm thick. Save time by not spending forever trying to cut and file straight lines by hand
Fretz Double Ended Insert Hammer:
I just bought one of these as a holiday gift to myself! Stop searching for the right hammer and get this one. It comes with seven different hammer heads that are easy to change out and very secure once on. Light weight but will move a surprising amount of metal with ease
GRS Inside Ring Holder for vises:
If you like to make rings this one is for you. Part of the GRS setting system this inside ring holder can be used with any vise. Stop struggling to hold rings in place while setting stones this gives a secure hold without risk of crushing the ring shank.
That’s just a few of the many tools and supplies we sell so stop on by our store to see the rest. We are located at 5619 University Way NE, Seattle WA and through Dec 24th we’re open until 7pm Mon-Sat and 12pm-5pm on Sunday