A rusty nail protruding from a wall in Greece. The sparkle of
city lights in the night sky in New York. The intricate details
of a gothic spire in Barcelona. A manhole cover faded with age in
Ireland. The stunning tile sidewalks in Horta. Rocks weathered by
the surf’s continual pounding in Jamaica.
Texture Inspires Me to Greater Heights
Texture: Everywhere I travel, I see the sights through the lens
of texture. C.A. Woolf wrote that “What has been seen
cannot be unseen.” That’s true for me when my mind focuses on
the texture seen in a city, on a beach or forest path, a sidewalk
with its manhole covers or decorative pavers, the architectural
elements of a building.
I see beauty in an object's form, and often that beauty demands
my attention at the workbench. Images percolate in my mind and I
begin to envision the potential of a building on the skyline, a
shape in a museum display, the roughness of a stone, the pattern
in a vintage door, the twist and turn of wrought iron railings
and window boxes.
The Toys in My Toolbox
So how does all of this translate to my designs? Through the
tools in my toolbox…the years of learning metalsmithing, making
my own tools, trial and error (and sometimes error is the best
teacher). As fulfilling as a finished piece is to me, it’s the
journey to discovering it and bringing it to life that truly
captivates and motivates me. How can I get from point A, something I’ve seen, to point B, incorporating it
into my work? That’s the challenge, and the joy, in doing
what I do.
The workbench is only as good as the time spent at it, honing my
craft and experimenting with materials, all the while trusting my
own vision. Over the years, I have discovered that creating
texture in metals is one of my favorite steps in the creative
process, my “signature style” if you will.
The Game Changer
The real game changer was learning to use an Arc Welder. There is no heat, no open
flame, and no messy solder joints. It is a clean and precise way
to combine metals, shape them, or create texture and gives us
much more time for creativity, not to mention all the new
techniques. (Occasionally my hair stands on end, but for the
first time in my career I’m not in danger of burning off an
eyebrow!) It’s an intensely focused process, and demands complete
attention, but learning to weld opened up a whole new world for
Small hand tools are also mighty (big) when it comes to adding
texture or depth to metal (like the Edge
Metal and Elements
collections). I love hand texturing metal and knowing that each
piece is unique. Handmade markings simply cannot be duplicated
from one piece to the next. I leave a little bit of myself with
each mark of the tools.
Seeing an intriguing texture and recreating it or incorporating
it into a collection is both challenging and exciting. Once seen,
it can’t be unseen…but I can learn and grow from what I've seen,
and create new dimensions with a little time and trust at my
Have tools, will texture...
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let us know what inspires you in your work.
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