1763

Molten silver photo of metal soft
Every piece is made from raw materials from alloys that I create in my studio

1763 is the temperature that silver melts. Molten silver can be poured into moulds and formed into castings or ingots. At 1763 degrees silver changes from a solid to liquid, from something relatively hard to something that can flow.

1763 is also a somewhat relevant year. As his silversmithing sales lagged, Paul Revere turned to engraving, drawing cartoons, and even dentistry (one can still hear him on his fateful ride upon seeing the British troops movements screaming, “the fillings are coming”). In 1763 alarmed by the actions of the British empire, Paul began to organize other artisan and craftsmen to protest parliament and the crown. Later, he would further venture into politics and engrave the famous depiction of the Boston Massacre.

Artists and art have always had a role on influencing political movements. Art, by its very nature, challenges the status quo by allowing free subjective expression. To the extent that this is true, all art is therefore potentially political in nature.

At any given time

Dan Balk is soldering pendants at his jeweler's bench.
Making pendants using hand fabrication from raw materials in my jewelry studio.

At any given time there can be found a variety of treasures on the soldering board. Tonight I am creating small silver and copper pendants for two special little people who are celebrating their birth. Also there is small trees on the board waiting to have silver ‘roots’ soldered on to the bottom, where they will eventually hold even smaller pieces of turquois and malachite. Another visitor on the board this evening is a 14k white gold Kemp Ridley sea turtle. I love all of nature and sentient beings that share this space with me. This little guy is no exception. He is destined for his forever home in Texas, once I clean up its twin and solder ear ring backs on to them.

 

My current identity

Dan Balk designer goldsmith working at his jewelers bench
Dan Balk working in his studio at his jewelers bench.

I am a goldsmith, designer, artist, teacher, and father. I design and fabricate every piece of jewelry from raw materials in my studio in Tampa, Florida. Each piece is one of a kind, designed by me. I create my own sterling silver, 18K, and 14K alloys that I fashion, mill, forge, fuse, and braze into miniature sculptures for personal adornment. I select and set each stone, often performing my own lapidary work on select stones. I have complete contact and artistic connection with each piece of fine art jewelry from concept to collection.

Bench Cat Bodhi is celebrating 1 year in the studio

Celebrating 1 year with a studio bench cat named Bodhi
Dan Balk Jewelry and Studio bench cat Bodhi

Bodhi joined the family here at the Greenhaus last year. He kinda likes hanging in the studio when the polishing machines are not on.

So, Bodhi and I have a game that he likes to play. I will put my bristle brush burs away in the holders on my bench, and he will take them out, run and hide them somewhere in the haus.  Not really cool when you are looking for your bristle brush burs, or walking barefoot around the haus. (the shafts of the burs are made of steel and slightly akin to stepping on a lego block, hot coal or other hurtful object.)

Anyway, we like having him around the studio, despite his kleptomaniacal ways, and have taken to growing some catnip among the other organic herbs we grow here. He seems to enjoy being with us while we create art and craft.