Summer is just about here (Well with the sunny weather last couple days it seems to be here!) and so are our new classes. The new summer schedule is up on the Danaca Design website but here is a first look at the classes exclusive to summer.
We have a new class, new guest artist, some classes that only come around once a year, and a returning instructor that we haven’t had in a while. If you would like to sign up for a class either come to our location at 5619 University Way NE or call us at (206)524-0916. We are open from 11-6pm Mon-Fri and 10-6pm on Sat.
New Class! – Stacking Rings with Gemstones
Instructor: Dana Cassara
August 16, Sunday, 10:00-5:00
Class Fee: $165, basic materials included
Stacking rings are all the rage. They are fun to mix and match and super easy to make! This class will focus on creating your own delicate stacking rings with sparkling gemstones. Students will learn to size and solder the bands, create and add a simple but very functional tube setting for a round faceted stone, and set the stones! Everyone will make several rings gaining them the opportunity to practice the process and leave with a finger full of beautiful rings made from brass, sterling silver and gold fill. Very basic metal working skills required.
Returning Class – Etching Metal
Instructor: Jessie Wylie is teaching the Etching Metal class this summer and we are glad to have her back!
August 8, Saturday, 9:30am – 3:30pm
Class Fee: $125, Materials Included
See an image or pattern come to life in brass and copper through the acid etching process! This technique is excellent for creating exclusive textures on copper and brass sheet which can be cut and incorporated into jewelry, enameled or used as rolling mill templates to emboss precious metals and even paper. Patterns can be hand drawn directly on the sheet metal or photo transferred. Physical properties of different acids and metals, resist techniques and studio safety will be explored. The end result will yield several etched plates for use in future jewelry/design projects! Follow up this workshop with Enameling Basics II, our beginning transparent enamels class. This workshop is appropriate for beginners, however experienced jewelry artists may find it very exciting as well.
Guest Artist – Casey Sheppard
Instructor: Casey Sheppard
July 25 & 26, Saturday – Sunday, 10:30am – 5:00pm
Class Fee: $265, Materials Included
Cold connection is a fun way to play with metal and design jewelry. At first glance it may seem limiting however restricting your process can cause you to think about your design in a functional way generating unlimited outcomes. In this cold connection class students learn how to create a hinged bracelet with a clasp out of sheet metal, all without picking up a torch. You’ll learn the basics of sawing, piercing, drilling, forming metal and how to layer, add detail and a unique design to your creation. Other techniques learned will include tube rivets, metal/wire forming and finishing details with oxidization. With a unique approach to jewelry design, Casey will offer beginners to advanced level students something useful and insightful to walk away with. No jewelry experience is necessary but can be useful. Please Casey after the class for a personal tour of her traveling metalsmithing studio.
Don’t Miss! These classes only happen in the summer
Low Tech Gravity Casting
Instructor: Juan Reyes
July 11 and 12, Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 – 5:00
Class Fee: $285 Basic materials included
Learn the fundamentals of casting by exploring the exciting and ancient technique of pouring molten metal directly into molds made from organic materials, sand and soft stone. This process does not require a centrifugal setup or any major equipment so it is easily reproduced in a home studio or in your back yard! This workshop will cover carving a mold and casting into tufa (light-weight sandstone), creating a quick mold in cuttlefish bone, a material easily found at any pet store producing a lovely texture, and sandcasting, an ancient way to reproduce an object. Students will also explore casting into other organic materials for surprising effects! Rudimentary alloying, pouring an ingot, finishing techniques and safety will all be discussed. Bring your clean silver scraps if you have some. No experience necessary.
Total Immersion Beginning Jewelry Making
Instructor: Dana Cassara
July 13-17, 5 weekdays, Monday – Friday, 10:00-5:00
Class Fee: $595, Basic materials included
What could be more fun than spending a week totally immersed in learning to make jewelry? Absolutely nothing! Spend an exciting five straight days doing just that. Together we will tackle the fundamentals of learning to work with precious metal: sawing, disc cutting and dapping, hammer texturing, roll printing, basic forming and finishing, as well as bezel setting stones. In this beginning silversmithing class, using copper, brass and sterling silver, students will make individualized jewelry pieces including a pin, pendent, ring and a simple linked project. Each night you’ll go home dreaming of what to create the next day, designing in your sleep. This class is an ideal opportunity to explore a range of techniques, in a condensed time, while creating several projects. No experience necessary.
Jewelry Summer Camp Ages 8-12
Instructor: Tegan Wallace
July 20 – 24, 5 weekdays, Monday – Friday, 9:30 – 2:00
Class Fee: $285 Materials included
Looking for a great activity for your 3rd – 6th grader this summer? Check out the Danaca Design jewelry camp! This week-long camp teaches cool jewelry-making techniques such as bead making and stringing, wire working, texturing, stamping, and riveting metal! In addition, we will explore the fundamentals of composition and color theory while learning to use a variety of basic hand tools. Using polymer clay, Shrinky Dinks, seed beads, and copper and brass wire and sheet metal, we will create a variety of jewelry pieces students can wear proudly. After all, nothing is quite as fun as saying, “I made this!” Rings and bracelets and brooches, oh my! Come have fun with us for a week in July! No experience necessary.
Anticlastic Forming in Metal
Instructor: Bill Dawson
July 31 – August 2, Friday – Sunday, Three days, 10:30-5:00
Class Fee: $350, Basic Materials Included
Tool kits available to purchase In this three-day workshop you will learn the basics of anticlastic raising, a process which lends itself to creating exceptionally strong, flexible, lightweight, and organic-looking forms. A new focus on this ancient technique has yielded some of the most interesting forms in contemporary metalwork. In anticlastic forming a flat sheet of metal is shaped by compressing its edges and stretching the center so that the surface develops two curves at right angles to each other, like a horse saddle. We will focus on “open” or “mono-shell” forms made from a single piece of thin sheet metal, working to create striking dimensional shapes. Decking these forms will be shown in class to demonstrate how doing so can expand the range of forms available expanding your design options. Though open anticlastic forms date to the Early Iron Age, it is only recently that they have been explored in detail. You do not need a great deal of metalworking experience to take this class, but some facility with the hammer is helpful.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Bill Dawson is one of our talented instructors here at Danaca Design. He teaches a variety of classes covering hollowware, forming, forging, metal inlay, engraving, fabrication, and tool making. We also sell a variety of his chasing and forming tools here in the shop. Bill got his start in metals with blacksmithing at the University of Oregon, and has been a working metalsmith and teacher ever since. Recently Sophie asked him a few questions. I loved reading through his responses, especially his take on functional art and artless objects- it definitely made me want to take a class with him!
Okay, here you go!
What’s your background? Is it in art, or something else?
I never really imagined doing anything much beyond art, because I never imagined being able to hold down a job. My childhood hero was Georgia O’Keeffe, and I wanted to grow up to be more or less just like her. I started out as an oil painter, at around four years old. Though I no longer have it the first painting I can remember making was of a grey dog on a green background. I do however have the first metal sculpture I created, an iron pony I made when I was eleven.
You work in all kinds of mediums and styles, what are your favorite materials to work with, and why?
I divide creative work into four broad categories: Additive, assembly, fabrication, etc; subtractive, carving, stock removal, etc; transformational, casting, and shaping; and ephemeral, performance and time based art. I’m going to give you a favorite for each. Painting is the medium with which I have worked the longest, and is my favorite additive art, though textiles come a close second. Each new painting is a unique challenge, and they never become routine. I like to carve all sorts of material: bone, amber, jet, antler, stone and so forth, but if I had to pick just one to work from now on it would be cedar, and specifically Port Orford Cedar. It is a variety of yellow cedar that grows in Western Oregon, and has a texture similar to redwood. I love its smooth strength, carveability, and smell. .999 silver would have to be my favorite transformational material, though there are many metals that I love working, including copper, bog iron, and high karat gold. The thing about pure silver is that it is just about the ideal material for so many techniques: forging, inlay, casting, etc. It is both beautiful and profoundly workable. I don’t do much ephemeral art, but I do enjoy playing music. My voice is not much to talk about, but I like playing woodwinds, especially playing early music.
Everything from tools to jewelry to sculpture to wood, you do it all. As a bit of a Renaissance man; what aspects of your artistry do you enjoy the most?
I most enjoy seeking the balance between the functional and the artistic. I find that mass produced functional but thoughtless items have no life to them, and art without function is a bit like hothouse flowers that are inedible. Making a beautiful tool is what I consider the highest form of creativity. I don’t think of myself as a Renaissance man, but more an Arts and Crafts man. I take far more inspiration from Hubbard and Morris, than from Brunelleschi and DaVinci. I love to do a good job of creating, but I want others to be able to do that good work as well. I think that the most exciting times are when I am working to rediscover some lost technique that I can revive and pass along to other artists.
What kind of imagery or inspiration do you use? Or, can you tell us about any recurring themes in your work?
The main themes in my work are place and history. I very much believe in the importance of context, and creative honesty. Much of my work is either rooted in the Pacific Northwest, or steeped in history, or both.
Aside from the skills outlined in your class, what do you hope to bring to your students?
I could go on about this at length, but I will try to keep it to something reasonable here. The first thing that any creative person needs is the courage to start a project. Modern society tells us to fear making mistakes, which are part of learning anything, but too often that fear kills the creativity in us, before we can even get going. The next thing that we all need is the humility to pay attention to our materials and change plans as they dictate. You can’t force your work to be something that it is not, and if you listen the nature of your materials will come through in your work, just as your creativity will be expressed through your materials. The final thing I want students to develop is the grit to see a project through, not to rush it, but to stay with it until it comes to a natural conclusion.
In what kind of environment do you work best?
I do most of my best work alone, even when working on a collaborative project. It is not that I don’t want people around at all, but I like to have a direct and intimate connection to my materials, and this is easiest in private. When I take breaks I like to get out of the studio and if possible outdoors or on the water. I find that a long walk, a ride on the motorbike, or a paddle on the canoe helps clear my mind so that I can come back to my work ready to give my best.
Bill is currently revamping his website, but you can still visit and check things out while it’s under construction: http://billdawsonmetalsmith.com
We’ve also started a new class series with Bill, Hollowware Fundamentals Beginning Series. Look for our Spring quarter schedule to see what’s next in the lineup! Join our mailing list for early access to each quarterly schedule: http://www.danacadesign.com
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: