From an early age, I was interested in tools and in the potential they held for making things. By the time I was nine or ten, I had a small collection and was making objects out of wood and metal. My head was filled with ideas and dreams of creations. To carve something out of wood or to make a ring out of a fifty cent piece with a spoon was a patient and extremely satisfying project. Such endeavors continued all through my high school years, all the while continually dreaming of a well equipped workshop to create things in.
High school ended with a giant sigh of relief, followed by a short and extremely frustrating experience with the United States Marine Corps. It was 1964 and the war in Vietnam was raging. College didn’t work very well, although I nearly began my studies to become a dental technician, which would have afforded me an opportunity to use my hands.
Also in 1964, purely by a fluke, I purchased a small set of basic jewelry tools from an ad in a Laundromat. It was enough to start with and there was much to learn. It was an almost subconscious act; I didn’t know that I wanted to make jewelry, although I knew I wanted to make things and be creative. Jewelry just happened to be the first thing to present itself. I fell in love with the challenges and opportunities for expression it presented - “how would I do that” or “what if I did this”. I was hooked. I burned with a fever to make metal yield to my wishes, to my skills, to make beautiful things, and of course to sell them so I could make a living. I quit my part-time job with U.P.S., feeling fully confident that I could support myself with my new-found avocation.
It was 1966 and I was living in the Haight Ashbury, like many other college students. I spent two years there having a shop on the street, being in the middle of that wonderful, crazy, onetime ever event. Of the 22 years as a jeweler I figure about 15 of them were good years, as far as the work went. But the scale and sedentary nature of the occupation was starting to get to me, and so after a while I looked for other things to do. I did some carpentry and construction, but that didn’t have the intrigue for me that metal did, and so I slowly began to build up a metal shop. I am not the only jeweler who has ever traveled this path; there are many metalsmiths/ sculptors out there whose roots started out in small metal work.
I now have a huge wonderful shop/studio or, as a friend of mine calls it, an eclectic metalshop. He is also the one who says that I should just call it a museum and charge admission. Some days it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.