Sometimes the old ways are the best. The first weekend in August silversmith and jeweler Juan Reyes will take students through several casting techniques that have been used for millennia in, Low-Tech Gravity Casting. Not only are they tried and true, these methods also use a minimal amount of equipment, and can be easily reproduced in a home studio, or even in your backyard.
Juan will guide students through various mold making processes and approaches. Whether it’s sand casting found objects, such as twigs or buttons, exploring the unique textures of cuttlebone, or carving your own molds in tufa stone that you can reproduce time after time, this two day casting class opens novice and experienced jewelers alike to this fun and rewarding sculpting method. It is also one of the best ways to use your scrap silver!
With his expertise and enthusiasm Juan Reyes brings warmth and creativity to every class he teaches. He recently took the time to answer a few questions about his work.
What got you started in metal smithing and jewelry making?
My family has several jewelers in it. As a child, jewelry was something that I didn’t want to make when I was living with them. When I came to Seattle, I realized that I was missing that part of my family.
What do you like best about casting pieces?
One of things I like about a casting a piece is that once you made the first piece, you can make a mold and make as many as you want.
Do you have a favorite casting method?
Sand casting is my favorite method. It’s easy for me, because you just have to have something to print into the sand, then you close the mold and pour the metal. However, at the end of my class everybody has their own favorite method.
What are the biggest challenges new learners might have in this class?
The big challenge that I notice in my class all the time for my students, is learning to be comfortable with a big torch and pouring the metal into a mold once the metal is melted.
Do you have a favorite casting material?
Silver is my favorite metal to work with. Silver is very forgiving, you can melt and reuse it many times, that’s why I like it.
You have your date, made dinner reservations, now there is just one last item to prepare for the perfect Valentine’s day…the perfect gift! Luckily we have you covered: jewelry, tools, and gift certificates for classes…we have great ideas no matter what your sweetie loves.
Rings make a wonderful gift and we have a wide selection from traditional bands to one of a kind designs. How do you figure out a ring size for a gift without asking and spoiling the surprise? If you can sneak and get one of your sweeties rings trace both the inside and outside diameter of the ring on a piece of paper. Bring the ring tracing with you when you shop and we can help you figure out the size.
But if rings aren’t what you are looking for we have a wide selection of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings too!
But what if your sweetie isn’t as interested in getting jewelry as much as making jewelry? We offer beginner and intermediate jewelry classes such as our popular Beginning Intro: Rings and Stacking Rings With Gemstones classes. Our next Beginning Intro Rings class will be coming up in spring quarter, May 14-15, but we still have space available in our Stacking Rings with Gemstones class on March 26.
To see the rest of our class schedule go to www.danacadesign.com and to register either stop by or call us at 206-524-0916
Still not sure? We offer gift certificates in all denominations that can be used on any jewelry, classes, or supplies. Perfect!
Danaca Design is a jewelry and small-scale metal working facility located in the University District of Seattle. We offer a wide range of classes for individuals seeking to gain skill in the art of decorative metal work and jewelry making.
Find us at 5619 University Way NE, Seattle 98105
or online at www.danacadesign.com
Is there a mother in your life you’d like to recognize? She may be your own mother, the mother of your kids, or a friend’s mother who’s special to you?
Our gallery is full of great work right now and we just might have the perfect gift for the mother in your life.
Use promo code MOMROCKS to get 10% off your gallery gift purchase until May 10th.
For moms who would rather make than wear, we also have gift certificates which can be used towards any of our classes or tools.
The gallery is open Monday-Friday 11-6, and Saturday 10-6. Come visit and see if anything grabs your eye!
5619 University Way NE
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.
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.
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:
Time flies when you’re having fun and my how it has flown. Friday, December 5th I’m astounded (and excited) to be celebrating our 11th year in this great old building on University Avenue. What an adventure it’s been!
I the rented the space in July 2003, ran my first class in October and finally opened the gallery in December with a grand opening event. I remember that evening clearly, everyone asking, “where’s your jewelry work?” I had almost nothing on the shelves in the gallery but I looked around and indicated with my hands held out that this, the studio, was my work for the year! Today I’m happy to announce I have a quite a few pieces in the gallery, as well as a lovely studio:-).
Some years ago it became tradition to host the Student-Teacher Exhibition during the month of December and to schedule the opening reception to coincide with our anniversary party. This is a wonderful event with friends and family of students, teachers and the studio crew. It is a night not to be missed if possible!
This year we have an incredible selection of fine jewelry made by students, many of whom are sharing and selling their work for the first time. And, although we are lucky enough to carry the work of quite a few of our teachers in the gallery on a regular basis, during this exhibition we have the opportunity to see some very special pieces. It is a great opportunity to support terrific teachers and superb students and pick up a one-of-a kind-piece of jewelry for yourself or someone you love.
Our event Friday night is 6:00pm – 9:30pm. Hope you can make it! If not, make an effort to swing by the gallery during regular business hours to see the show and pick-up something truly exceptional. The gallery is open Tuesday – Friday 11-6 and Saturdays 10-6.
For more info about the studio go to www.danacadesign.com
Hi everyone, my name is Sophie Lipitz I was last year’s Youth Stimulus Scholar and this years Saturday girl. I am thrilled to be part of such a great studio and cant wait contribute to Danaca’s blog, Facebook, Etsy, and chill in the galley every Saturday. My passion in jewelry began in enameling and quickly moved into forming, epoxy resin, and teaching jewelry to young kids. I worked at Buck’s Rock Arts Camp in Connecticut for the past two summers as a metals instructor and have for the past year been taking the mentored independent study course here at Danaca. I attached some of my work so you all can get a fell for what I do, cant wait to meet you all!