Featured Instructor

Casey Sheppard – Art on the Road

Casey Sheppard Photo

Casey Sheppard


We are excited to have Casey Sheppard join us July 25th and 26th to teach the Nomadic Cold Connections class. In the class you will learn more about cold connections and make a hinged bracelet with a clasp all without ever picking up a torch. What makes it “Nomadic” well Casey is currently touring the US by bike as a way to connect communities as part of her project Case of the Nomads and bringing her traveling metalsmithing studio with her…how cool is that!

Turk + 182; bracelet by Casey Sheppard

Turk + 182; bracelet by Casey Sheppard

How long have you been making jewelry and what got you started?

Around 2005 I started playing with beadwork and making jewelry for fun. I had funky short hair at the time, sometimes a Mohawk and loved wearing super big long loud earrings. But I found that all the jewelry in stores bored me or wasn’t unique, so I started to make my own. It wasn’t until I wanted to expand into metal that I dove all in. I got a cold connection book, bought the suggested tools listed in the back and finished all the projects. That was my introduction to metal jewelry and the beginning of my addiction.

The Runaways

The Runaways

What is your background? Is it in art or something else?

I come from an artist family. My great grandfather and grandmother are/were writers, my mother has a strong skill in mosaics and sewing, father is a retired art teacher and my brother is truly the most amazing artist I’ve ever seen. Even though I grew up submerged in art my first passions were fashion and tools (grandfather owned a lumberyard most of my life), that’s why jewelry is a perfect fit for me!

Bracelet with cold connected hinge and clasp

Bracelet with cold connected hinge and clasp

You are teaching a class for us called Nomadic Cold Connections, aside from the skills outlined in your class, what do you hope to bring to your students? 

Connecting. I hope to connect with the students through stories and life experiences while creating. Bonding with others and sharing each other’s stories adds so much to our lives. I also look forward to what the students will be teaching me. Ahhhh community!!


Travel buddy India

You have an interesting project going on this year as a way to connect communities. Can you tell us a bit about this project and how you plan to connect communities through art?

Yeah!! For 1 year I will live/work on the road out of a converted Ford Transit Connect aka Jones with my adventure dog India, mountain bike Skidmark and metal working tools. My goal is to connect with art and bike communities. I will be teaching workshops, visiting with artists, having trunk shows, volunteering, bike racing, riding with different cycling communities and much more.  Once I’ve gotten my hands dirty in these communities I will be writing about them in a weekly blog, this will help to connect and share my experiences with others.

Desert Cuff; made from rusted metal found while on the road.

Desert Cuff; made from rusted metal found while on the road.

How many other cities are you planning of traveling to as part of this project?

Oh man, cities….well, as of now I have almost the entire first 6 months booked with about 30 cities I’ll be stopping at, this also includes parts of Canada and a few really cool Islands!! I can’t wait!!

C is for...

C is for…

Any advice for others on how to start a community based art project?

Advice? Well, stick to your guns but be open to ideas. Everyone has an opinion but try to remember why and who you are doing this project for. Try not to overcommitte yourself, ask others what you can do to help or ask them for help ( worse thing they say is NO) and always always remember to be grateful and say thank you, it’s amazing how much of an impact a simple thank you note will do!!!

bootless + straps (Asymmetry)

bootless + straps (Asymmetry)

Do you have a personal website related to your work or your teaching that we can share?


Thanks Casey! We look forward to meeting you this July and can’t wait to see that traveling studio of yours. 


If you would like to register for this or any other class at Danaca Design you can call us at 206-524-0916 or stop by 5619 University Way NE, Seattle WA 11am-6pm Monday-Friday and 10am-6pm on Sundays

Danaca Design’s Metal Crafting Center is a jewelry and small-scale metal working studio located in the University District of Seattle. We offer classes for individuals seeking to gain skills in the art of decorative metal working and jewelry design. We house a small store-front gallery featuring local artists, both professional and amateur, as well as a limited selection of tools. Several times per year we host open-house events with a particular focus on new exhibits and or exhibitors. All students of the Metal Crafting Center are encouraged to exhibit their successes in the gallery, as space is always reserved for them!

Featured Instructor Peggy Foy

Peggy Foy working hard

Peggy Foy working hard

Peggy Foy is not only a talented metalsmith and instructor but a super nice person too! We are happy to have Peggy teaching with us at Danaca Design.

Next month she will be teaching Mechanisms: Hinges and Clasps. The class meets four Wednesday evenings in June (6/3, 6/10, 6/17, 6/24) and will present a variety of ways to make hinges and clasps, including traditional hinges with knuckles, locket latches, and closures for necklaces and bracelets.

 Panel Bracelet; etched copper, brass; 2"x7"x.125"; 2014

Panel Bracelet; etched copper, brass; 2″x7″x.125″; 2014

How long have you been making jewelry?

Hard to believe I’ve been at this for almost 15 years!

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

I studied metalsmithing in college, at the University of Georgia.  Aside from metals, I also usually have a day job in graphic design or project management – currently I’m doing a little of both as a project manager for a sign company.

 Larimar Bracelet #1; sterling, larimar, topaz; 2.5"x1.25"x1.75"; 2012

Larimar Bracelet #1; sterling, larimar, topaz; 2.5″x1.25″x1.75″; 2012

What are your favorite materials to work with and why?

I have to pick a favorite? I really like working in metal – all metals, whether that’s silver or copper or steel or gold.  I’m not much of a fibers person, and I don’t do much with clay either so I don’t use PMC. I’m trying to get better with wax carving for casting, but it’s not my strong suit. I like texturing and fabricating with sheet and wire, and forging. I mostly work in silver, but I can’t seem to stay away from the other metals too.

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 took a class with Linda Darty several years ago – that totally changed my approach to teaching.  She’s wonderful to work with, super encouraging and supportive but gentle in urging students along – which I think is really necessary in a limited class-time situation.

 Polish Flint Necklace #1; sterling, polish flint, smokey quartz; pendant 2"x1"x.375", 18" necklace; 2015

Polish Flint Necklace #1; sterling, polish flint, smokey quartz; pendant 2″x1″x.375″, 18″ necklace; 2015

What king of imagery or inspiration do you use? Or, are there any recurring themes in your work?

Art nouveau is a big influence, the graceful swirling lines and the sweeping shapes.  Thematically, I am interested in science fiction and fantasy; so a lot of my work reflects the idea that it maybe came from another time or another world. I often make pieces that look like they “do” something, mechanical devices or talismans that could activate by the right magic words.

What got you into teaching jewelry/metals?

Teaching happened gradually for me – honestly I was a bit intimidated by it at first. Just out of school I was keenly aware of how much I still had to learn; I knew there would be a lot of questions that I wouldn’t be able to answer for students. But I was a studio monitor at Pratt Fine Art Center for a while, basically like being a TA, and I found that I did know how to answer questions for students. And I found that I really loved working with students and sharing that knowledge, helping them succeed.  I’ve been teaching for about four years now and I absolutely love it.

Larimar Necklace #1; sterling, larimar, topaz, Peruvian blue opal, apatite, aquamarine; pendant 1.25"x3.25"x.375",  19" necklace; 2012

Larimar Necklace #1; sterling, larimar, topaz, Peruvian blue opal, apatite, aquamarine; pendant 1.25″x3.25″x.375″, 19″ necklace; 2012

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

All of my classes help students improve their soldering; I think that’s one of the biggest skills that just takes practice, but a little coaching goes a long way.  We also talk about a lot of the technical stuff too, the how’s and why’s of what the metal is doing.  But most importantly I want my students to feel inspired and excited about the processes we’re learning.  It’s supposed to be fun!

Do you have a personal website related to your work or your teaching?

Yes, my website is www.peggyfoy.com. You can also find me on Instagram, @peggyfoyjewelry, and on Facebook, @Peggy Foy’s Jewelry.  Instagram is probably the best way to keep up with what I’m doing in the studio!


Thanks Peggy! Your work is lovely and we can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

If you would like to register for Peggy’s Class call us at 206-524-0916 or stop by our location 5619 University Way NE in Seattle.

More information about Peggy’s class and all our other classes can be found at www.danacadesign.com

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:


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 Little Bit About Jeff Georgantes

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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.

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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.


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





A Window Into Artist Kirk Lang

kirk lang ring

lunar_x_penumbra penumbra_series

Kirk Lang is a Seattle based Designer, Jeweler, Metalsmith, Machinist, Sculptor and Amateur Astronomer.  Recurring themes in his work include time and space in the form of mechanical interactive objects.  His work can be seen in such publications as MJSA Journal, 500 Metal Vessels, 500 Necklaces, 1000 Rings and Metalsmith Magazine.  He is a master craftsman no matter the subject or material.  We have also discovered he’s a fabulous instructor.  Kirk will be teaching two workshops this fall.  On the first Monday evening of each month he’ll open the studio for a Stone Setting Clinic designed to help improve and expand your stone setting skills and in mid-November he will offer an exciting Cold Connections workshop with a focus on kinetics. I had the rare and unique experience to ask Kirk all the questions that I wish I could ask every artist after I see how incredible their work is and, lucky for all of you, I have his answers right here.


What got you into teaching jewelry making/ metals?
Basically I have an insatiable curiosity to learn and acquire as much knowledge as I can when it comes to metalworking theories and techniques. At some point over the last 15+ years, I realized I had compiled a significant amount of experience and information…information that could potentially save others a lot of experimentation and frustration learning specific techniques. I am also someone who believes in empowering others, so if I can offer a skill that an individual doesn’t already know, I am happy to help. 

What are your favorite materials to work with and why?
All metals. No…truly, I’m not joking! It intrigues me that every metal has its own set of properties and the ability to be used in certain distinct ways. I find it incredibly exciting working with materials in ways that haven’t yet been thoroughly explored. If you want me to be more specific, I like these materials for the following processes…
For stone setting and traditional jewelry making, high karat yellow gold all the way. For machining, there is no better material than C360 (free cutting) brass…it is the baseline standard in which all other metals are compared. I seldom raise vessels anymore but if I do, copper is ideal. Forging, I like steel. Soldering, sterling silver…that feeling of seeing a long seam flow all at once, instantaneously, is something every metalsmith should experience at least once in their life. For welding, titanium is king…as long as you have argon. For stretching a ring up in size, fully annealed niobium is unmatched. To be honest, I could go on and on!



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?
Well…I feel obligated to first mention my mother since she created me and also happens to be an art teacher (who I did in fact have for two years in elementary school). It goes without saying, that experience was little awkward. She has been supportive since day one.
In college at the Cleveland Institute of Art, I had the most ideal experience anyone could ask for. I had three instructors who helped shape me as an artist. I call them the big three…Matthew Hollern, Kathy Buszkiewicz and Richard Fiorelli. Matthew exposed me to technology very early on (he studied under Stanley Lechtzin at Tyler) which has become an integral part of my creative process. Kathy Buszkiewicz is the most thorough instructor I have ever met and possesses an incredible amount of refinement in her craftsmanship…which has been inspirational. Richard Fiorelli taught me the beauty and functionality of design, and how it connects to others. He is one of the most intense and passionate instructors I’ve ever had.

Aside from the skills outlined in your classes, what do you hope to bring to your students?
Understanding, confidence and the ability to problem solve. I make an effort to present information in a way where it is fundamentally clear and relatable through drawings and discussions so that students have a foundation to build off of. The ultimate goal for me is to provide students with enough understanding that they are eventually able to be autonomous, and use the knowledge they’ve gained in their own unique way.

What inspired your Metal Museum exhibit?
So many things, but if I had to be specific…primarily a combination of topics including time, astronomy (I own two telescopes) and personal mythology. I am someone who thinks about ideas for a long time and if an idea sticks with me one year or more, I make it. If I don’t, I can’t stop thinking about it and my desire to visualize what I’m thinking intensifies, to the point where I sometimes wonder if it is even healthy for me!
Formally, the idea for this particular body of work crystallized after researching and stumbling upon Nicolas Louis de Lacaille’s catalogue, Coelum Australe Stelliferum (the interweb is a fantastic place). A catalogue in which he identifies a series of constellations found in the southern hemisphere. The constellations are uncharacteristically named after inanimate objects, many of which are analogous to tools and instruments found in the metalsmith’s studio. These tools and instruments then became the subject matter for each of the kinetic sculptures I created. There is a whole lot more but for simplicities sake, I will leave it at that.
I am really excited to be in the studio these days. It is the first time I readily see aspects from all of my previous experimentations in a fresh body of work. My vision is clear and it feels as if I’m not making decisions anymore. I’m just listening to my gut, creating and then processing what I’ve produced later. Then, applying that information to the next piece I create.

Lang_04 Lang_05

What does “Art Jewelry” mean to you?
A conceptually realized wearable that is first and foremost Art, and jewelry second.

Do you consider yourself primarily a sculptor or a jeweler?
I would lean towards sculptor, simply because by definition it implies the negotiating of material within three-dimensional space. Since that description can also be applied to jewelry, it too can be considered sculpture in some sense.



In what kind of environment do you work best?
The perfect environment for me is a clean and well organized space. There is something serene and calming about that for me. In terms of atmosphere throughout the day, I prefer things to be quiet in the morning. I usually don’t listen to any music and just let my thoughts meander. I have a tendency to think more clearly and concisely in the morning so I usually do more writing, idea generating or complex tasks (a difficult stone setting for example). After lunch, I usually listen to talk radio, podcasts or music…I still like to keep things pretty mellow. In the evening, if I am still working (which is often the case), I will likely crank up the music and power through whatever I’m doing. Right now, that would be a steady flow of post punk, indie and experimental electronic music.



More information and photos can be found on Kirk’s website: http://www.kirklang.com/

Kirk is a huge asset to our community at Danaca Design and we love sharing him with you! Don’t forget Kirk has two classes coming up this fall quarter the Stone Setting Clinic and a Cold Connections class. Visit our website www.danacadesign.com for more information. You can sign up for classes by calling in at 206-524-0916. We’re here Tues-Fri 11-6, and 10-6 on Saturdays. 


Learning More About Andy Cooperman


Andy Cooperman, Chicken Choker

We’ve got a couple classes coming up with Andy Cooperman, Creative Surface Development and It Ain’t Just a Drill: Getting the Most From Your Flexible Shaft. 

After listening in on a little of his teaching while I was working, I was very interested in hearing his answers to our Featured Instructor questions.

I asked for photos of his favorite pieces, pieces that have a special significance to him, or pieces that reveal something he’d like to share with others, and he responded with the photos I’ve included here in this post. 


Andy Cooperman, Hystrix Solo


Andy Cooperman, Cauliflower Ears


Andy Cooperman, State of Affairs

Artist Bio

Andy Cooperman is a metalsmith, writer, and teacher who lives in Seattle, WA. His work is featured in galleries nationwide, including Patina Gallery in Santa Fe, deNovo in Palo Alto and Velvet daVinci Gallery in San Fransisico. He is a past recipient of a WESTAF/NEA Fellowship, and teaches seminars and workshops around the country, most recently as a visiting lecturer at the University of Washington. In addition to one of a kind jewelry pieces, Andy also works with clients as a custom jeweler and commission metalsmith. His work can be found in the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Central College, Pella Iowa and appeared most recently in the exhibitions The Art Of GoldMetalismsChess and The Ring Show.

Publications include the books Art Jewelry Today1000 Rings500 BroochesThe Craft Of SilversmithingThe Penland Book of Jewelry and Fundamentals of Metalsmithing.

Read on to learn more about Andy.

A Cooperman 10-07_4149(1) copy

Andy Cooperman

What got you into teaching jewelry/metals?

My mother and grandmother were teachers and I think that is in my blood as well. There’s something about the communication involved in explaining something that I just love. Seeing the light bulb go off for someone is exciting and fulfilling. Teaching metals also keeps me excited about the field. It’s contagious.

What are your favorite materials to work with and why?

Not sure that I really have any. A whole lot of materials appeal to me. In metal, I like bronze, silver, gold and steel. Not brass. I’ve worked a lot with shibuichi  (68%cu and 32% fine silver) which I alloy in my studio.  It torch textures into a surface that evokes lizard skin. I remember that when I took my first class I was really charged when I was shown that metal could be made to look non-metalic and even vital and alive.

Pingpong balls are like that. They are an enigmatic material in that, once shaped or formed, their original nature is lost. I love that. I like materials that I can carve too.

In metal, nothing makes me as happy as forging.


Andy Cooperman, Sting


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?

Hmmmm…. My original jewelry and metals instructor in college was certainly my hero.

Don Johnson was his name. Lives in Montana. I loved what he made but also his attitude to making. ”Just do it. Just try it. See what happens.” I carry that with me today.

But I also respect so many teachers that I have encountered. I taught alongside Maria Phillips at the UW and learned a lot about teaching from that experience.

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

Oh yeah. Looking at things from multiple angles and perspectives. Patience. It’s so good to see how eager students are to learn and, as I’ve said, their excitement gets me going as well.


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

This is the best question. I don’t really care if a student makes anything in class. I also don’t really care if they master the material offered in class. What my real hope is, what I most want a student to walk out the door with is a change in perspective. A little tilt in how they look at the studio, the tools and materials. A change in how they approach their work and studio practice. This includes making a real commitment to craft; to making things well. It can come through many doors and no matter what I teach, I hope for that. Because that’s the best thing that an instructor can offer. Teaching someone to fish rather than giving them a fish.

So many people seem to be terrified of doing something that is not approved of, that is somehow in conflict with what another instructor or colleague has told them or what they’ve read in a book. People can be timid because of this. Some of it is fear of the flame or of screwing up. Some are overly cautious because of the cost of the materials we use, which is certainly a fair concern.

But I think that many people have this vague fear that if they do something out of order or skip a step, if they try a shortcut somewhere the SJP (Secret Jewelry Police) will rappel down from the hovering black ops jewelry helicopter and take them away…

I tell students in most classes that I try to keep a balance between two poles:

“What’s the worst that could happen” and “Do No harm”.

I look at every situation with that dichotomy in mind. If I’m setting a big stone for a client then I will be cautious and cleave to the “Do No Harm” side of the equation.

But if I am thinking of trying something new, I am definitely going to take a lot of chances. Because risk and play in the studio is maybe the most important thing in growing as a maker or artist. After all: What’s the worst that could happen?


Do you have a personal website related to your work or your teaching?

Of course: andycooperman.com

There’s a lot of stuff there. Including writing.


Andy Cooperman, State of Affairs


Andy Cooperman, Sleepercell


Andy Cooperman, Cinch

A Cooperman 10-07_4172(1) copy

Andy Cooperman, Rings

Thank you for sharing with us, Andy! 

For more information on Andy’s classes please see the schedule (under the Classes section) on our website: http://www.danacadesign.com/

To register for either of Andy’s classes give us a call at 20-524-0916, we’re here Tuesday-Friday 11-6 and Saturday 10-6. 


Keith Lewis is Coming to Town!

Keith Lewis will be teaching an enameling class here next month. The class is already full, but we wanted to share a little more info about Keith. We’re really excited to have him here!

Keith sent me his artist bio. It’s short and sweet, and I love the description of his favorite tool.

“Keith Lewis was born in the wilds of Pennsylvania, but now lives in the wilds of Eastern Washington, where he teaches jewelry at Central Washington University.

His favorite tool is a Craftsman brand machinist’s reamer that belonged to his father. As an object it is completely beautiful: tapered, fluted, sharp and poised. It is also singularly specific in its usefulness. It makes holes bigger and is good for nothing else.

His favorite fruit is jaboticaba.”

I asked some questions as well…

What got you into teaching jewelry making/ metals?

I went to grad school rather late (at 30) knowing that the kind of jewelry that I wanted to make had more of a home in academe than in the marketplace. I suspected that I also wanted to teach and was lucky enough to be given a chance to teach in grad school. I found that I really liked it and was lucky enough to be invited to teach at UW for six months and then moved over into a full-time position at CWU.

What are your favorite materials to work with and why?

I just love sterling silver. The color, the workability, the sense of being precious enough but not OMG Gold! And I am in love with enamel, because it never, ever cooperates. It appeals to the codependent in me.

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 was lucky enough to spend a year studying with Bruce Metcalf before he stopped teaching. I still am inspired by the clarity and seriousness of his thoughts on craft and humbled by the discipline and facility of his work.

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

I hate disengagement. My partner says that I am hopelessly frustrating because I can get excited about anything! It’s true. Everything is worth exploring and I always hope that my students walk away excited to dig deeper!

Do you have a personal website related to your work or your teaching?

I don’t. I’m lazy and old-fashioned.

Thanks Keith!

I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of his upcoming Enameling Oddities class here in the studio. And, hoping he’ll teach here again sometime so I can be a student!


Jan Smith

Jan Smith

Jan Smith teaches our Image & Mark Making in Enamel class. It’s coming up a little later this quarter, in June. I only know the very basics of enameling and looking at her work definitely makes me want to learn more!

Jan Smith

Jan SmithJan is a Canadian artist exhibiting her work in here in Seattle, as well as San Francisco, Portland, Montreal, and Europe.

Jan Smith

I wanted to know a little more, so I sent off a few questions. Below are her responses! 

Jan Smith

Jan Smith

What got you into teaching jewelry making/ metals?

I have a minor in art education and had done some teaching but it was really when I moved to Seattle as a “newlywed”.  My husband went off to a very intense job: I knew no one in seattle and was rather lonely and by a stoke of luck I found  Seattle Metals Guild.  I took classes with Andy Cooperman, Maria Phillips,  Marcia Bruno, huge list amazing community and talent…so long story short its my way of paying it forward to those amazing instuctors I had the very good fortunate to learn from.

What are your favourite materials to work with and why?

I love copper and enamel and most recently porcelain and wood.

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?

Wow, that’s hard!  long list…but first Maria Phillips, she took me to Penland which opened a huge door of enamel artists/instructors…there Sondra Dorn showed me Elizabeth Turrell’s work, I ended up calling her in Bristol England to ask when she was coming back to the US.  Recently Helen Carnac and Lucy Sarnell..am just about to take a workshop with Peter Hoogeboom and Shu-lin Wu in Montreal, very excited about that.

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

I love teaching and sharing of knowledge, enjoy talking about what you want and to do and how to achieve those results, I’m mad about gardening, botanical prints, cooking..love having people over for a meal.

Do you have a personal website related to your work or your teaching?


Jan Smith

Jan Smith

Jan’s Image & Mark Making in Enamel class runs Saturday and Sunday, June 7th and 8th.

Image & Mark Making in Enamel:

Emphasis in this workshop will be on creating exciting surfaces through exploration of nontraditional enameling processes. Line is an important element in composition and we will explore enamel techniques which allow us to achieve lines and images. Develop new compositions and designs in your work by learning to make a variety of lines in enamel. We will explore a range of techniques including mark making, drawing, sgrafitto, and removal. Methods for creating surfaces will include inlaying seed beads and enamel shards, dry screening and stencilling, sgrafitto, graphite, oxide and painting enamels.
More information: http://www.danacadesign.com/index.php?p=classes&c=descriptions#enamel_surface_exploration


If you’re interested in signing up for Jan’s class give us a call at 206-524-0916, Tue-Fri 11-6 or Sat 10-6.

Jan Smith

All photos by Doug Yaple.

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