“So my name does not get mispronounced, it is Daniel (Dan) Wroblewski (row-bless-ski). Some may say I’ve taken a convoluted path to get to the place I’m at now. I was born, raised, educated, and currently live in Detroit and wouldn’t have it any other way. I am married to my high school sweetheart (Stephanie) and have one daughter (Danielle). After graduation from Cass Technical High School, I enrolled at the Art School of the Society of Arts and Crafts, now CCS. I started in the Industrial Design program, but discovered my true passion and switched into the Metals program in the Crafts Department under the tutelage of Mike Vizini.
I graduated in December of 1972 expecting to be drafted into the military with a lottery number of 4. I had already been given a one semester extension by my local draft board, using the logic that they would be getting a college graduate if they did. Literally dodging a bullet, the draft was abolished several weeks after graduation. Having made no plans after graduation (figured Uncle Sam was going to take care of that) I needed a job. I joined the Detroit Police Department in June of 1973. My art career was put on hold for the next 20 years, except a couple brief stints in the department’s Graphic Art Section.
I left the department in the winter of 1992, went back to school (Wayne State), and got my Art Ed certification. After completion of my certificate I landed an art instructor position with Birmingham Public schools teaching mainly metals classes to high school students. I needed to refresh my metalcraft skills so I returned to WSU and took a class with Phillip Fike. At Phillip’s suggestion I applied for the MA Metals program. Between working on my Master’s Degree and teaching I was back doing what I needed to do. Seventeen years later, upon retiring, I am now taking workshops and spending quality time in the workshop I built in my backyard.
Previously, if asked, I would have said raising was my favorite technique, but since taking three workshops with Michael Good, it is anything anticlastic. The best workshop I took is a tie between Heikki Seppa and Michael Good (same techniques, different scale).
I believe I’ve been a member of MSG for at least 8 years.
My favorite piece has yet to be made, but a close second would be either of the two chalices I made for my Master’s degree. These two chalices were chosen to be in Metalsmith Magazine’s Show In Print and several other shows (Black Male 13 and Reveler). Pictures included.
I call myself a hobbyist and do not sell my work. I often give it away to family and friends. It gives me great satisfaction to see someone I love wearing something I made. If I made something I felt was exceptional, I might consider entering it a local show.”
“Although I don’t really consider metal clay as metalsmithing, there can be metalsmithing involved in the process. I’ve always been someone who enjoys working with their hands. I started out doing beadwork as a hobby and then wanted to create more one of a kind components like toggles, earrings, focal beads, etc.
I started working with metal clay in 2001 shortly after hearing about it. I’ve been creating smiles as a dental technician (ceramist) porcelain crown and bridgework for over 35 years. I was able to apply that knowledge to do metal clay. One of the first brands to appear was Precious Metal Clay (PMC), manufactured by Mitsubishi, who recycled sliver from x-rays and computer parts, then making it into a clay form. I discovered it’s a beautiful medium that can be carved, stamped, molded, shaped and formed much like ceramic clay but once fired it becomes pure silver. Then you can treat it just as you would fine silver.
Over the years they have been improvements on the original formula, shrinkage rate of 30% to 10%- 12% shrinkage, plus more manufacturers and types of metal clays are available. I enjoy using the bronze and copper also.
I’m mainly self taught through books, videos, and asking lots of questions from anyone willing to answer them. I went to New York to take a PMC certification offered through Rio Grande in 2008 to expand my abilities and be able to teach others to create their own art. Although I’ve taken several workshops, one of the best I’ve taken was Enameling on Silver Clay. First we created our silver pieces (decisions, decisions!) then after firing and polishing we learned how to enamel them. It was busy 3 days of learning and fun.
My favorite technique is being able to embellish with stones or glass before firing. There are many man-made stones available and natural stones that can be fired directly in the metal clay. I am also inspired through nature. I enjoy making leaves. The detail in the leaves come out so crisp or making a mold of a pod/stamen, pretty much anything found with texture and recreating it in metal clay then I might add stones.
It’s hard to decide which piece that I’ve made is my favorite. I did a commission piece that was quite the challenge. A dobro guitar pendant just like the one the customer plays. We were both very pleased with it. Another piece I’m proud of is a bronze box with riveted fine silver accents and a star shaped clear cubic zirconia on the lid/handle.
I have decided not to do any shows this year. My work is available on my website: www.cwilsonstudio.com. I am currently not holding classes due to Covid19, but normally offer group or one on one classes. Everything is provided, so no need to go buy tools. No one wants to spend money on tools if they’re not even sure they like it or just want to make a special gift. I do have a destination workshop scheduled September 9th-12th, 2021 at Inspiration Alcona in Lincoln, MI. For more information: https://www.inspirationalcona.org/art-for-adults-home-page/2020-arts-retreat.”
Colleen has been a member of MSG since 2018.
“An engineer by training, I am a retired contract administrator for DTE. I actually started out beading with crystals and semi-precious stones after a trip to Flagstaff and Sedona in 2007. I was mesmerized by the healing and spiritual properties of the stones.
I soon became interested in expanding jewelry making to include metal and began metalsmithing classes at Fritz and Friends. Since then, I have taken classes at Armstrong Tool, Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, and Studio JSD in Grand Haven. The best classes I've ever taken are the ones where I’ve learned the most or were the most challenging for me. In no particular order, the most challenging for me were chainmaille, stonesetting and casting.
Since my husband Glenn and I moved from the Detroit area in 2018 to a more remote area in mid-Michigan, I have joined many Facebook groups for inspiration and discussions. I also use YouTube and Pinterest for guidance.
I really enjoy forming, chainmaille, stone setting, and casting and I recently discovered crackle enamel techniques. I’ve been having a lot of fun with crackle during this last year. If I had to choose may absolute favorite technique, it is probably using the rolling mill to create lovely patterns with the use of texture plates from Kevin Potter, Oregon Silver Trails and Rolling Mill Resources.
My favorite piece that I have made is the one pictured here, the round copper textured pendant with squarish frame. I really enjoyed the challenge and engineering process of putting it together. It was a commission and my customer was very pleased with it.
Currently my work is not exhibited anywhere, but I am considering putting some pieces in Art Works in Big Rapids. For now all of my sales are commissions to friends and neighbors in our community. I am also in the process of creating an exhibit space in my home and looking forward to attending local craft shows here in Canadian Lakes, MI.
I have been a member of MSG for about 5 years.
Happily, my workshop is well equipped and has been a large contributor to my sanity in 2020. And will probably serve me well as 2021 opens up to social activities.”
MSG’s newest member, Cindy Swan-Eagan has always been an artistic person, but metalsmithing has brought her a new form of artistic expression. “I was a high school band director for 36 years, so metalsmithing is something creative that I get to continue to do, where I can actually touch what I made - way different than creating music!! I started metalsmithing before I retired, and I loved being able to go to my studio and use hammers and torches, especially after stressful days!!
I got into metalsmithing through the back door, for sure. I am also a mixed media artist, having started with rubber stamps, and morphing into mixed media. I had attended the Art Unraveled retreat for several years, and one year I had an open spot in my schedule. I took a class from Susan Lenart Kazmer, and well, the rest is history.... LOL!! I am not really sure how long it has been, but I am figuring that about now I have been working with metalsmithing for about 15 years.
I have received my metalsmithing education through workshops including Art Unraveled workshops with Susan, Richard Salley, Diane Cook, Deryn Mentock, Jessica Cote and many more, at other art retreats, at Julie Sanford’s Studio JSD in Grand Haven, at Armstrong Tool & Supply in Livonia, and as of late, online with Jessica Cote, Richard Salley, Susan Lenart Kazmer and Lucy Walker. I just love learning!
I found out about MSG through taking a class at Armstrong Tool & Supply from Mary Kernahan - she mentioned MSG in class, and so naturally, I looked it up when I went home. It took a little while, but, here I am. I am excited and thrilled to be a part of a community of makers.
My favorite piece that I ever made is a small pair of earrings that I have hanging on my bench - it's the first pair of earrings I ever put together. They are a green dichroic glass, and I loved putting them together - not as a part of any class, just me. I think that was a leap into that place that said ‘you can do this all on your own, without any teacher or instruction’, and after that, I was hooked. Oh, who am I kidding - I was hooked after my first class!
My work is on sale at the Oliver Art Museum in Frankfort, MI, at Redeemed in Manistee, MI and in EB2 in Traverse City, MI. I also have my own website www.artsygoods.com where I sell my pieces.
I am still involved with Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, and have been so (as a band conductor) since 1988. Now, as well as conducting, I help recruit students to the camp, along with my husband, and have been to the Michigan Art Education Association fall conference several times. I love working with both art and music students and helping to bring out their potential!”
“I have always been creative in one way or another and to date, it hasn’t stopped. As a young girl, I couldn’t just cook dinner for my family; I had to type a “menu” that listed the items that were being served. This was done on a manual typewriter because electric typewriters had not been invented yet. The good news is that my family went along with my antics until one day I decided to “charge” my brother and sisters for their meals. At the age of 10, my elementary school teacher entered a design that I had created on linoleum block into the “National Scholastic Arts Award Contest”. I won a “Gold Key” that I still have to this day, although I wish I had kept the linoleum block. Throughout the years, I learned to knit, crochet, and then one day discovered “beading” to make jewelry, becoming a member of the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild.
One day I wanted to create a special design and went to my favorite bead store to inquire about something specific. The owner suggested that I take lessons in metalsmithing, but I didn’t know what she was talking about. She told me that I could take classes at Fritz Willis in Franklin. Well, I signed up for those classes, fell in love with metalsmithing and never looked back at another bead! I have also taken classes at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, the College for Creative Studies, and have traveled to classes in SC, OH and just about everywhere else I could afford to go.
I don’t remember exactly when I joined MSG, but am a past board member and have met so many wonderful friends along the way. When it comes to my work, I love working with silver, but have also found an affinity for copper and nu-gold. I can attest to the perceived “healing” properties of copper so like to make a lot of my jewelry with this metal. Nu-Gold is easy to work with and great designs can be created at a more affordable price. One of my most popular rings is cowrie shell set in Nu-Gold. Speaking of prices…I believe the most important aspect of pricing is to keep accurate records not only of your time to create but also other expenses such as your hourly rate, material costs, state taxes, shipping charges, etc. I created an Excel spreadsheet so I can update any changes in costs, and there I also document how I made the pattern so it also serves as a recipe of the pattern for future use.
So as I head into 2021, I have come to the conclusion that I need to do something that I haven’t done for a while…challenge myself to do more, get out of my comfort zone, and create designs that will take me to a higher level. I know it’s there! I know I can do it! Now the question is…who wants to join me? Are you in?”
Marilyn’s work may be found in her Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/SouthernJewelryColl