At my bench, one one one, students can learn the basics of jewellery fabrication including piercing, soldering, and stone setting. These traditional techniques and art they create are thousands of years old, culturally significant and in todays world of computer printed and machine produced jewellry, are in jeopardy of being lost. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of artists drawn to the medium, increasing the desire to learn silversmithing and goldsmithing techniques. Artistically adventurous people come from all over the country to spend time at my bench and learn a foundation in this vast medium. Students are often surprised at the amount of time, labor and care that goes into the fabrication of a single piece of jewelry. I love sharing what I do with people, not only because I am passionate about the art I create, but also because we have an obligation as artisans to share our accumulated knowledge with successive generations of craftspeople.
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.