I've had a lot of time to notice the objects in my home bookcase lately. The other day this mirror caught my eye. I made it in 1991 - it was the first time I ever touched a sawframe. I loved metals instantly, and was so lucky to be taught by master metalsmith Helen Shirk.
Looking back on this project now, I see how clever she was to design a project that had huge artistic potential. Students were prompted to design a mirror that reflected them - either current pursuits/personality, or future hopes/dreams goals. When I was 21, travel was always on my mind. I wanted to see those trees, you know like in the Serengeti. The copper was perfect to represent an old-timey leather suitcase. Still have never seen one of those trees in real life. It is a goal that feels farther away than ever these days, but that's no reason to stop dreaming.
I have to share a little secret - teachers love making kits. Well, at least this one does, and I don't think I'm alone! I don't know why, but it is so satisfying to portion everything out, figure out the cost and how to package things. I'm in the middle of doing that now for my first ever online class - my popular mokume gane stamped bracelet class is going online! It is an interesting challenge to adapt the project and adjust the kit for folks who will be working from home, not using my studio. For instance, usually students use my stamp tools that I've designed specifically for patterning mokume - they aren't chasing tools, and they aren't design stamps; they are sort of in between. So, guess what goes in the kit? Two mokume stamp tools handmade by me! I love making stamp tools, and I think students will find them useful to have for many types of projects. Plus there will be a mokume bracelet blank of course - I've chosen silver/brass/copper mokume because the patina for that material is actually easier to use than the one for copper/brass mokume. It does make the kit more expensive, but I've found that usually students want the silver mokume anyway. I was delighted to find tiny vials and jars on Amazon today, so each kit will also contain Baldwin's patina and Renaissance wax. That way you can patinate and finish your bracelet exactly as I do in my studio.
With so much uncertainty in the world right now, we want to let our beloved community of makers, students and teachers know that we're working hard to stay in business. We have been investigating business relief loans and doing some creative planning for what's next. Since we self-funded the Lab from our savings, we are very lucky to have no debt and since we hadn't gotten our act together to hire anyone we have no employees. Win-win! Most of the emergency loans on offer are designed to alleviate debt and payroll obligations. Considering the massive need to save jobs, we are trying to avoid accessing those programs unless we absolutely have to to make rent. Instead, to stay afloat we accepted a temporary rent deferral and we both immediately pivoted to our other businesses working on rings and websites. Now, as our COVID adventure enters a new month, we're itching to get back to the Lab! So here are the ideas we're rolling out and the ones we're thinking about ... and we could use your feedback on both so read on for our tiny questionnaire.
Tonight we're broadcasting live from Anneville Studio in Exile! We'll share an update on the Jewelry Lab, Anne will take us on a studio tour and update us on her current works in progress and we'll do a fun metal arts show & tell with Anne sharing some pieces from her collection. Most importantly, we're hoping to hear from YOU! Please join us live on Facebook to say hello and weigh in on these three questions:
Educator, metalsmith, jeweler, maker of custom mokume gane jewelry and wedding rings.