Most Influential Metalsmith or Metalsmithing Technique

The Blog Carnival….a group of jewelers get together via the web, once a month, to post on a topic that has to do with jewelry.  It's a fun way to hear different opinions from wonderful artists.  Hope you'll visit their sites and read their great blogs.

Ferris wheel

This photograph is available in Friendly Irene Suchocki's Etsy Shop.  It's a 8"x10" photo for $30.  

Topic:  The most influential historical metalsmith or metalsmithing tradition (like art deco, thracian, etc).

Hmmm…who thought of this topic?  Geez…heavy stuff to contemplate.  I couldn't possibly pick a style that has influenced me because there is too long of a list.  So I think I'll try and pick a metalsmith.  Of course, I had to do some research to make sure I have considered many possible choices.  So google helped me out by finding an interesting site, Master Metalsmiths.  They have selected 21 masters of which I have heard of about half.  This is a good place to start if you wanted to learn more about the metalsmiths that have had a large impact on the jewelry world.  However, I think there are many of my favorites that are missing from the list.  Future recipients?  I hope so!

I think for me, someone who has been the "most" influential would have to a hand in everything.  Someone who distributes knowledge, someone who influences others to distribute their knowledge, someone who teaches, someone who makes jewelry, etc.  I know there have been influential artists just because of their art, but then to pick someone who has been the "most" influential would in my book need to do a little more than just have amazing art.  

So for me, in my era, I think that Tim McCreight has been one of the most influential metalsmiths.  Yep, he's included in the list of the 21 selected by National Art Metal Museum as the 2001 recipient.  I've heard Tim describe himself as a maker and publisher.    I think that just scratches the surface.  I am touched by his amazing humility and down-to-earth qualities.  He is what Malcolm Gladwell would call a Maven.  He not only has written his own technical books, 19, but also a novel, The Syntax of Objects (which you really should read).  He also taught and was the head of the metals and jewelry department at Maine College of Art for 16 years.  


He has greatly influenced and had a large role in the success of PMC.  Mitsubishi was very wise to select Tim as their consultant.  Together with Rio Grande they gave us all another obsession with a different and revolutionary metal.  This metal spurred the newest creation of BronzClay and CopprClay which surely will effect the way that these metals are used.  Without Tim, this product surely wouldn't have had the success it has so quickly had.  In addition, he also put together the PMC Guild which has brought artists together from all over the world to further the success of the metal and it's techniques.  I'm sure that with the advent of the web and Tim's help, we have pushed the metal farther in the last 5-8 years than could have previously been done over decades.  The Guild also had the first forum which helped to share that knowledge on a daily basis, before the Yahoo board was even available.

Through his publishing company, Brynmorgen Press, Tim gathers other amazing artists and teachers who can share with us their knowledge and supports them as they work as a team to release their how-to technical metalsmithing books.  Without someone with an interest to get these books out, who has gathered this amazing breadth of information,  our industry would be without crucial information and that would be truly a loss.  There are far too many simple books that look pretty.  Brynmorgen Press books are not only pretty but they have really meaty information that you can sink your teeth into that sometimes makes your head spin.  I like to be challenged and every one of his books takes a place of honor on my bookshelf.

I am in awe of how generous and gracious Tim is and that influences me a great deal to just be a better person.  He is a person that wants to bring others together, to share, to disseminate information, techniques, etc.  He is willing to share at any moment, to further the industry with research and safety information, to head up or be apart of any group or committee.  I could only aspire to be the whole package that Tim encapsulates.  To boot, he is truly nice.  I look forward to each time I see him and can soak up any tidbit of knowledge he has to share, enjoy his amazing smile and his wit.


Who feeds your soul as an influence?  I would truly love to hear it.  Please post a comment for me 😉

Visit these Carnies blogs:

Tod Pardon - new to this group

Angela Baduel-Crispin

Lora Hart 

Tamra Gentry

Lorrene Davis

Marco Fleseri

Kirsten Skiles

Elaine Luther

One Response to Most Influential Metalsmith or Metalsmithing Technique

  1. you
    Lora Hart
    Tim McCreight
    Devon Traister (my daughter)
    I wish I could be more elaborate as you have been about Tim . . . and I find it challenging.
    Let's just put it this way. I see a piece created by Tanya Davidson, Lora Hart, or Tim McCreight and I want to drop whatever else I am doing and run into my shop and make something – anything. I think to myself, 'dang, maybe I can be that good' and I want to try whatever it is.
    My daughter on the other hand . . . she does cool stuff, like makes me a pipe cleaner spiral bracelet in my favorite color (purple) and the next thing we all know, it's a fine silver bracelet for sale at my first retail show as a metal clay artist :) Or in my second workshop ever, she decides she wants to make a box, similar to the one we saw in PMC Technique. Even after I realize that there are only hinge instructions in the book (and I am sorry I am not citing the artist, but the book is in the shop and I am in the living room). I tell her "honey, I dunno how to make a box really" and she says, "that's ok mom … i bet you'll figger it out" to which I say "i feel as though you are pushing me over a cliff of risk my child". SO one week later, armed with the knowledge of seams I learned to make on a strange tetrahedron I learned to make in SOME class I took :), I made a "Wish box" (with a hinge made differently from the book instructions). A little rough around all it's edges, but a hinged box, complete with a bow on top, that became a gift for a friend.
    So what/who feeds my soul? The artist(s) I admire that push me to live my potential . . . not just aspire to it, but get there and live it . . . to recognize every experience as an opportunity rather than a 'failure' or 'mistake' . . . but an opportunity to learn something. Hopefully it is what I impart to those I meet . . . feedback is what I live for eh?
    Thank you Tanya, for pushing me off a cliff!

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