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Purpose in Context

Context is everything for a Metalsmith. Even for an artist or academic who believes in art for art’s sake, metalsmithing with the inherent purpose of being worn is unfinished until it interacts with the human form.

Sure, those who are experiencing the work may interact visually, objectively and subjectively, even tangibly, without the piece being worn – something we as artists must accept when exhibiting in galleries and shows. Yet when we are honest we needs must admit the work is incomplete until it is expressed through contact with the body part for which it was made.

Therefore, how do we design for this? Must we?

I believe we do. We may certainly design to our whim or Awen, many designers do, but does this insure proper interaction with the body, does the human form enjoy the experience – does it make the piece wearable.

This then defines the difference between Designer and Artist, even Fine Art and Fine Craft. In my mind both are such ugly, egocentric debates. Yet brings forth truth and synergy between art of the mind and art of the hands.


For more information:
(The link is being worked on but will get you to rings.)


Learn, grow, evolve. Not only a good life outlook, but one which pertains to the artist’s work as well. If you are not learning, you are dying – and so is your work. Most artists can take a retrospective of their careers, or lack there of, in art and watch the evolution of style, design,Continue Reading

Mission Impossible

Schools of Thought.  Those quirky things to which we all ascribe.  Processes, practices, philosophies, principals and beliefs we often either take as gospel or never think to question or prove – simply because that is the way we were taught.  Or worse, because that is the clique or faction to which we belong. That’s notContinue Reading


Every once in a while a patron or fellow artist has mentioned metal allergies so I thought I would take this educational moment to offer some information the art community might find useful. Approximately 85% of metal allergy sufferers are due to the presence of Nickle in the metal alloy.  Only the United States andContinue Reading

Invisible Quality

Evolution comes into play even in the world of art.  We have all seen it happen.  The culling of the herd.  Only the fit survive.  Evolve or perish. Most times we would be talking about critique in a situation like this, the Principals and Elements of Design – talent and Awen.  Though today, having beenContinue Reading

Synergy of Context

“1984 Art! 1984 Art!” was the battlecry of my metalsmithing professor, Chuck, at University in the College of Design.  This mantra of his as he watched over aspiring artists’ shoulders at their struggling attempts to master such things as the jeweler’s saw on a college student’s budget is no less relevant today than it wasContinue Reading

Real World Critique

I should not be, yet I am often surprised, and so are they, when my business hires an Intern or I take on an apprentice, by the lack of preparedness for the real world.  However competent, skilled or inherently talented, a chasm lay between them and success as a professional artist. Objective statement rather thanContinue Reading

Handmade Revolution

It has been an ongoing debate far longer than any of us have been alive.  Human nature, being what it is, demands we be competitive and challenging.  And while we have made progress teaching new and emerging artists that we as a whole are community rather than competition, the ancient debate of Fine Art versusContinue Reading


Some say all one legally needs to change even a copyrighted image is a 15% change in design or function.  As a close friend would say, “Oh, Honey…”. In the time and with the effort it takes to consciously study an artwork and then work to make a 15% change, most artists could create atContinue Reading

First Post

While copyrights and design patents are important, I’ll be using this blog to offer up test theories, in-process resurrections of historical metalsmithing techniques discovered through *Forensic Metalsmithing* and even small or mini projects for people to try out in their own studios. In effect, a place where we can borrow from the high-tech world andContinue Reading