Tag Archives: featured instructor


Jan Smith enamel+metal

Traces 1 by Jan Smith

This month we are pleased to have enamel artist Jan Smith coming down from Canada to join us for a weekend in our studio!

Jan started her art career as a print maker, and you can see those influences of in her jewelry and mark making. Since the mid 1980’s Jan has worked in the field of art jewelry. Her pieces combine vitreous enamels, alternative materials, and precious metal to create dream like surfaces. 

Red by Jan Smith

Focusing on the surface she uses color, texture and mark making to create unique non-traditional surfaces. Her pieces are meant to explore memory, how it changes and the impressions memories leave behind. 

Stem Slice by Jan Smith

August 18-20, Jan will be with us sharing how to create exciting surfaces through the exploration of nontraditional enameling processes. Line is an important element of design and will be explored through a variety of enamel techniques that allow you to achieve line and images.

Image and Mark Making in Enamel

Aug 18-19, Friday-Sunday, 10:00-5:00

Class Fee: $435 | Some Materials Included

To register call us at 206-524-0916 or stop by our studio at 5619 University Way NE, Seattle

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!!

kc+india+wilderness

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?

www.caseofthenomads.com

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

What is Forged Jewelry?

forged bracelet by David Tuthill

forged bracelet by David Tuthill

October 3rd and 4th David Tuthill will be teaching Hot and Cold Forging for Jewelry at Danaca Design. This class aims to initiate students into the hot and cold manipulation of non-ferrous and ferrous metals for jewelry and other small scale objects. Using brass, copper and steel students will employ a variety of hammers and other tools to forge squares, tapers, spoons and utensils, twists, fullers, decorative rivet heads and other ornamental details.

But what is the difference between hot forging and cold forging? And what sort of jewelry can you make by forging?

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Forging in a Renaissance studio

 

Forging History

Forging is one of the oldest known metalworking processes dating to at least 4000 BC and most likely earlier. Metals such as bronze and iron where forged into hand tools and weapons, but the earliest recorded metal used seems to be gold. Traditionally forging was done by a Smith using metal heated in a forge and formed with hammers on an anvil.

Forging_hydralic_hammer

Blacksmith forging with a hydraulic hammer

The industrial revolution replaced traditional forging techniques by developing some of the first electric powered hammers. Today most industrial forging is done with computer-controlled hydraulic and air hammers. But there are still blacksmiths that use traditional techniques when making one of kind items such as decorative gates and forged jewelry is made much the same way as it was millenniums ago.

 

Difference between hot and cold forging

Forging is the process of shaping metal by using localized compressive forces. The blows are delivered with a hammer or a die.

Cold Forging

Cold Forging

Cold forging is when the metal is hammered or formed at room temperature (or cold) and annealed periodically to soften the metal.  Metals such as silver, brass, and copper can all be cold forged fairly easily.

Hot Forging

Hot Forging

Hot forging is when the metal is hammered or formed while the metal is hot normally just after being removed from a forge.  Most steel and iron needs to be hot forged.

forged earrings by David Tuthill

forged earrings by David Tuthill

 

Forged Jewelry

Many types of jewelry can be made in whole or part by forging. Forged rings and bracelets are very commonly seen but you can also forge pendants, belt buckles, earrings and more. You can use the technique to make very industrial jewelry out of steel or fine and delicate jewelry from silver or gold. Forging has unlimited potential only limited your imagination.

 

Watch for our Fall schedule announcing the Hot and Cold Forging for Jewelry class. Go to www.danacadesign.com for more details

Meet Victoria Lansford

victoria_landsfordChase Eastern - Victoria Lansford_Folliage-III-T

June 19th – 21st guest instructor Victoria Lansford will be visiting us from Atlanta, GA to teach a workshop in High Relief Eastern Repoussé. Victoria has generated an exciting revival of nearly lost, old world metalsmithing techniques including high relief Eastern repoussé and Russian filigree.

I was able to ask her a few questions about herself as an artist and to get a bit more information about the high relief Eastern repoussé technique. Now I can’t wait to take her workshop myself!

aprilsig2

 

 

How long have you been making Jewelry?

I’ve been metalsmithing for 26 years. It’s my profession, but really I consider it a long term love affair.

 

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

As a kid I was into every kind of art and craft medium popular in the 1970’s. Before I was a metalsmith, however, I was a professional jazz and modern dancer. Getting injured led me to exploring higher education options. I’d always wanted to work in metal and found that Georgia State University had a program (sadly, it’s no longer part of the art department). I was hooked on metal immediately.

 

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

Most of the imagery that influences me comes from ancient and medieval architecture, specifically Gothic, Moorish, and Indian. I’m also extremely inspired by ancient Egyptian, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco design. In a more abstract way, my work is informed by my love of cosmology and Complexity (Chaos) Theory. Much of that inspiration shows up in my work in the form of doors, archways, abstracted plant leaves, and spirals. Those shapes all represent transformation and emergence to me. I’m obsessed with the relationship between positive and negative space and creating work with a sculptural feel of depth as if looking into a hidden world. All those shapes give my work a very yonic (opposite of phallic) look.

Chase Eastern - Victoria Lansford_Once

You are going to be teaching a class for us in High Relief Eastern Repoussé, what is different between this repoussé technique and what we normally think of as repoussé?

It’s a different process with differently shaped tools that result in lots of options in terms of design and height. In some forms of Western repousse, the way the metal is hit from the back is somewhat secondary to all the refining work from the front. For example, lots of artists puff up a general area then do most of the shaping through chasing. In Eastern repousse there is much more of a back and forth process. Some other differences are (almost) always working within a matrix and using plasticine rather than pitch when working from the front.

Some people assume that Eastern repousse means the peaks and valleys that are characteristic of my work, but that’s just one style option. Eastern repousse works well with sterling, which means it can be done in a much thinner gauge of metal and therefore is lighter and more durable for use in objects like jewelry. Fine silver doesn’t lend itself so easily to that option. Of course, the technique works beautifully with 18k and 22k gold and with copper too.

Chase Eastern - Victoria Lansford_EnrapturedII

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

My goal is always for students to be able to apply what they’ve learned to their own design aesthetic so they can create what they want. I provide some design options for people who just want to focus on the technique in class, but I don’t require everyone to make the exact same patterns. It’s all about gaining an understanding of how to apply the process of Eastern repousse to any design. I’m really passionate about making the techniques I teach easily accessible to people, and watching students have that “light bulb” moment is incredibly rewarding.

 

I saw on your website that you do much more than just jewelry. Handmade books, collage, art objects, what are your favorite things to make besides jewelry and why?

Besides making jewelry my favorite thing is doing illumination work with Medieval manuscript techniques because I love smearing intense color into ornate flourishing work. Before I made my Eastern repousse bound books, I spent 4 years studying calligraphy and learning how to gild on real vellum and paint with dry pigments. The funny thing is as soon as I start working in a different medium, the first things I reach for are the metallic paints and gold leaf. I joke that it’s all part of my plot to metallicize everything!

Chase Eastern - Victoria_Lansford_Falcon

You are visiting us from Atlanta, Georgia if we come visit you what should we check out in Atlanta?

Atlanta has a fantastic zoo that happens to be in my neighborhood. (Yes, I have wild neighbors.) The CNN tour is interesting. One of my favorite small museums in the world is the Carlos Museum at Emory University. They often have great exhibits with an eye toward antiquity.

Really Atlanta is a foody and shopping haven. If you’re missing Seattle coffee, check out Octane, which has some of the very best coffee I’ve ever had. It’s also the place I escape to to do most of my writing and design work. Atlanta is smack in the middle of a forrest, which makes it beautiful in the spring, summer, and fall. I’ll just apologize up front for the airport and the traffic.
Chase Eastern - Victoria Lansford_EnvelopedII

Chase Eastern - Victoria Lansford_Victoria_Lansford_LyrCres

Thanks Victoria! We look forward to meeting you in June.

You can find out more details about Victoria’s class and the rest of the classes offered at Danaca Design on our website www.danacadesign.com

Thoughts from Nancy Megan Corwin

megan_2_
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.

ripostequill

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.

conjoined

 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.

my-dolly-is-better-than-your-dollymy-dolly-is-proud-of-her-hat1

 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:

http://www.danacadesign.com/index.php?p=classes&c=winter2015

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.

tubeNecklace1

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.

boeingSurplusCogged

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.

untitledEarrings_1.2013anew_WorksHero

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.

cityAndCountryMouseuntitledRings_1.2013buntitledRings_1.2013a

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.

untitled1_2012

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 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.

lunar_rings_mens_and_womens_complete_set

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!

mars

venus_open

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.

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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.

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sound_study_1

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. 

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Learning More About Andy Cooperman

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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. 

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Andy Cooperman, Hystrix Solo

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Andy Cooperman, Cauliflower Ears

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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.

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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.

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Andy Cooperman, State of Affairs

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Andy Cooperman, Sleepercell

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Andy Cooperman, Cinch

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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. 

 

Nanz Aalund

 

Nanz Aalund

Nanz Aalund

Nanz is an instructor and gallery exhibitor here at Danaca Design. She teaches a number of classes covering topics like stone setting, embossing metal, filigree, using epoxy resin, and non-toxic etching methods.

Judgement Ring using Cold Connections for Stone Setting techniques by Nanz Aalund

Judgement Ring by Nanz Aalund

 

Pill Boxes with Print and Press technique by Nanz Aalund

Pill Boxes by Nanz Aalund

Nanz recently wrapped up her Cold Connections for Stone Setting, Etching without Acid, and Print and Press classes, but she still has two more left this quarter. 3-D Filigree will be on February 22nd and 23rd, and Plique a Jour Epoxy will run 4 Mondays in a row starting March 3rd. Keep an eye out for more classes from Nanz in the future! The two upcoming classes can be found in our Winter 2014 class schedule

Plique a Jour Epoxy Resin Bracelet by Nanz Aalund

Plique a Jour Epoxy Resin Bracelet by Nanz Aalund

More about Nanz from her bio:

Although her fascination with Jewelry Design was evident at the tender age of six, Nanz Aalund’s first recognized jewelry piece was a silver pendant that won her a “Gold Key” Scholastic Art Award in high school. She continued her training by serving an apprenticeship in Chicago and receiving her BFA in Jewelry Arts from Northern Illinois University. Throughout her career Nanz traveled to Berlin, Paris, London, Florence, San Francisco, and New York to study jewelry design and manufacturing. After a successful career in jewelry design, Nanz completed her MFA in metalsmithing at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Nanz Aalund taught jewelry and metals classes at the University of Washington under Mary Lee Hu and at the Art Institute in Seattle. She served as a fine jewelry designer and consultant for Nordstrom, Rudolf Erdel, Neiman Marcus, and Tiffany & Co. and as the associate editor for Art Jewelry magazine. Some of Aalund’s many professional jewelry design awards include: an AGTA Spectrum Award, two Platinum Guild International Awards, and two DeBeers Diamond’s Today Awards.

Visit her website www.nanzaalund.com

Vessel using Print and Press technique by Nanz Aalund

Cone Vessel by Nanz Aalund

Ring by Nanz Aalund

Ring by Nanz Aalund

Locket by Nanz Aalund

Locket by Nanz Aalund

Pill Container by Nanz Aalund

Pill Container by Nanz Aalund

Lovers Ring by Nanz Aalund

Lovers Ring by Nanz Aalund