What first drew you to metalsmithing?
While in college studying history and other esoteric topics such as philosophy, I found myself drawn to doing something more physical. My undergraduate degree was in sculpture, yet I found myself making jewelry. I have always been interested in the small scale. When I was a child, I would always choose a Matchbox car over a larger model. Maybe it’s genetic! If you were to ask someone, “What’s big? Show me with your hands.” They may hold their hands 2 feet apart or 2 inches, it’s all relative to each person. I have always liked small things.
Why did you begin writing books?
I have always been a reader, started writing and making my own books as a kid. It really became a logical option for me. After my undergraduate work, I was looking to further my own knowledge and found that explaining something is the way that I learn. And at that time in my life, 30 years ago, I was just starting a family and writing allowed me to work in a more kid-friendly schedule.
As a life -long reader, do you have a favorite book or one that has inspired you?
There are many books that I have read many times. Catcher in the Rye –I’ve read over and over. As for art books, inspired is really the right word. I first saw Africa Adorned at a friend’s house. It’s this large book, mostly pictures, and it just took my breath away. I bought myself a copy soon after, which was a big purchase for me at the time. I showed it to many students over the years and somewhere along the way it disappeared and I bought another copy, because I had to have it!
Also, David Pye’s The Nature of Workmanship and Design — it’s on the opposite spectrum from Africa Adorned, very academic, but helpful in clarifying issues within the crafts.
What is your best bench tip?