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The process and journey of a small jewelry company


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Inspiration Monday: Sound

It seems to me that once you decide to become a full time artist you also commit to traveling from show to show. I am definitely not a road warrior like a lot of artists out there, but I know the shows that I love to do, and then spend a lot of time in my studio making and exploring new ideas.

As you may know my husband is also an artist. We met at school and both graduated with a BFA in jewelry design. As I went on to make jewelry, Adam pivoted into the world of lutherie.  He has found that a lot of skills and attention to detail within the two media are shared, and is now starting a path to make a career of this work.

And guess what? Luthiers have shows as well!  I spent the weekend in Portland at the Handmade Instruments Exhibit helping Adam with the show. This was the noisiest and happiest group of people I have ever been around. Everyone was so passionate about the work they were creating and to share it with other luthiers and musicians was a joy.  It was also fun to be working behind the scenes for once too. 🙂

Joyner is his company and was born from Adam’s love for playing and hearing music, as well as his interest in handmade objects. The electric uke is Adam’s main focus within his brand, however the acoustic ukuleles he has made for himself and me are out of this world beautiful, in both looks and sound. My little koa pineapple uke has inspired me to start learning to play, and maybe I’ll be learning the harp too. Priorities though, so maybe the uke first. Adam says he’ll make me a harp if I’m serious about playing. Umm?

While we were in Portland we stayed with Adam’s mentor from college, Greg Wilbur. Greg and his wife Sandy have become good friends over the past 10 years. Greg is always fascinated by other people and learning their stories, and then sharing these stories when we come to visit. It’s a joy to be around people that make you forget that phones and TV are around.

One of my favorite things to do when we enter their house is to see what has changed. Greg has many gifts from other artists, and of course his own work around his home. He tries to, and I think accomplishes moving 21 objects a day in his house. Wabi – Sabi, right?

Adam spent a Summer in 2008 out in Portland working with Greg and learning about raising vessels out of metal. The early morning of peace and quiet soon turned into a banging of steel on copper or bronze against steel. Then the pause and the poof whirl of the giant gas torch and the sizzle of metal in water. A pause. And then more banging steel against copper or bronze against steel, and on, and on.

Forming metal into this amazing shape with twists and turns from something that was flat is always amazing to me, and makes me want to get to work and make the same noise too. But maybe on a smaller scale. You really have to have a deep understanding of metal to hammer it and form it into the shapes that Greg achieves.

So what is inspiring to me about this past week is the passion and love for the work that I was surrounded by. These long held traditions in craftsmanship were passed down over the years from masters that shared their skill and knowledge hundreds of years ago. So really we are all learning from the same teacher. Art in itself to me is the process, the product and the sharing of the work. And knowing there are people out there who are the best at what they do, and are still doing it in their 60s and 70s is what drives me and makes me think I’ll be doing this work for a long long time. And that’s okay with me.

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