"My love of humanity and passion for helping others inspired me to become a physician."
-Dr. Patricia Bath
Starting this Saturday, a new group of auctions for Metalsmiths for Change will be going up on Instagram. You can preview the auctions at the website but the auctions will be held on Instagram so you'll need an Instagram account to participate. I love IG and hope you'll join me over there. I often post works in progress, along with garden and pet, husband and travel (when we get to travel again) :)
On Inauguration Day, I woke up feeling....energized. I put on my robe and my string of pearls, and shuffled to the kitchen for coffee, preparing for the ceremony to come. I felt connected to so many of you. I had received notes and messages from several who had commissioned or bought dissent collars, saying you were wearing them that day. We were connected by so many threads: rejoicing in the strength of women, a compassionate new President Joe Biden, and Kamala Harris, a Woman of Color, taking her place as Vice President of the United States of America...the Dark Ages of the past four years coming to a close.
A friend celebrating her birthday on Jan 20th decided to buy the necklace, while saying she had an idea for birthday earrings. She sent me a drawing and we talked on the phone, caught up on life, discussed these earrings and how much hope and love we have for America. The earrings commemorate the date, a palindrome, and based on Leonard Cohen's 'Anthem'... I feel honored to once again be a catalyst for your creativity. (And I love these earrings so much, I am making myself a pair!) xoxox
Ancient water, held encapsulated in quartz, magnifies a micro-mosaic of jewel-colored raindrops; a story of how we are related and rely on, and impact, each other’s lives.
I will let the owner of this cuff tell his story below. From my perspective, magnifying the micro-mosaic with a quartz is a technique I have only used a few times, and never with an enhydro quartz. (Enhydro quartz is a crystal that formed in water, encapsulating it, and there is a tiny bubble of air that moves around inside the water-filled chamber.) This cuff bracelet incorporates what I do best in creating personal adornment that speaks to the heart of the person wearing it. It is an honor and a joy to hear your stories and interpret them into wearable art for you. I cherish the relationships we build.
A note, shared with permission:
Courtney, Our exchanges convince me that you have explored my personality and, through your insightful eye and creative powers, truly given me works of art that embody the spirit of your adoptive culture. The color palette so reflects me as a gay man and, as combined with the water stone, captures my life’s work and my personal challenges as well.
I was allowed by friends and family to grow in my identity and the most important challenges I faced were self imposed. Yet, from the 1960’s to now was a time of great change for openly gay people in my profession. The joy that I see in this cuff will allow me to celebrate that self growth while reminding me that my professional career has meaning.
For me, my greatest professional accomplishment was the firm establishment of the Public Trust Doctrine in NC law. As a result, the submerged lands under sounds and rivers is held in trust for the public. Equally, the doctrine protects the public trust applicable to all of our State’s ocean beaches. I spent over 20 years on that project. As a native of the coast, I can’t imagine a bigger accomplishment. With the stone, you have expressed the joy that I feel in that accomplishment. Dan
Thank you, Dan. It has been my pleasure to get to know you over many years.
If one of us puts her toe in the ocean in the East, and one puts his toe in the ocean in the West,
we will be touching from opposite sides of the world.
Design: a New York City subway token, carried by two Towhees: a male Western Spotted Towhee, and a female Eastern Towhee.
For a family separated during the pandemic, it was my honor to create a gift that symbolizes connection. Living on opposite coasts of the United States and unable to continue their frequent visits, a son contacted me to make a Hanukkah gift for his mother. He had his heart set on a cuff bracelet, which can be a challenging surprise gift since my cuffs are rigid, not meant to be reshaped. Rather than worry about getting the size exactly right, we decided to turn the gift into a two-step interactive process.
We began with a discussion of symbolism and style, which brought me to sketch out a rough drawing for approval. (above, design shown "in the round" and laid out flat.)
From there, we had a clever helper (mom's partner) who was able to secretly trace a couple of her existing bracelets to give me a starting point for sizing her cuff. I made a cuff blank, and packaged it up with detailed drawings, and the subway token (as above) so that mom could see what it would look like when complete. She was delighted to receive it during Hanukkah for fitting. It fit very well, and she was able to finalize the shape by tracing another of her cuffs, and returned the package to me.
I adjusted the cuff shape, and soldered the bezel to the cuff, polished it, and set the token.
I chose to hammer set the token with a chisel punch so that the bezel would look like the edge of a coin. As I approached the inlay of the micro-mosaic, I received a final request to include the red eye of each towhee. I happened to have the perfect glass disc beads.
I again packaged the jewelry and sent it. A few days later, I received two notes...one from the East:
"It's here and it's amazing!!! The earrings were such a surprise. Thank you for making this beautiful gift for me!!!"
...and one from the West:
"Your talent in putting ideas together so quickly & in such meaningful ways is truly exquisite, not to mention crafting the stunning pieces themselves, also with such swiftness.
I know how blown away me & Shan were when we opened the 4th anniversary gift & so it was with my mom.
Got the tokens & lovely thoughtful card....working with you on these projects has been a huge bright spot in a sad & disorienting year!!
Thx again Courtney!
N & S"
Thank you, N, S, & R, for allowing me to tell your story and create a lasting memory for your family.
This pandemic has taken so much from us, and yet I see creativity in the way we reach out to each other. Video chats become much more frequent when we can't be there in person. What would these times be like without technology? And what would they be without art, music, dance....?
We don't have to imagine it. We have all these things at our fingertips.
I was honored to make these amulets to celebrate a special love story. She is the raucous California scrub jay, and he is the majestic turkey vulture. An invisible thread ties them together, forever. The final touch was engraved by Melissa Veres.
"Wherever you go, I am there."