Seattle Findings is very proud to carry RapidFire Pro-M Kilns and QuickMelt Pro 10 furnaces. To learn more about the idea behind these innovative ovens we spoke with the product inventor, Ken Allison.
“The inspiration for creating my original top loading unit came from a personal need to condense and melt some gold and silver that I had been collecting. When I went to the various marketplaces in search of a furnace to work with, I was shocked to find out I would have to spend upwards of a thousand dollars or more for a high powered reliable unit. The units that I came across were also big and bulky, and for me space is a huge concern, so even if I had the money to spend on one of those units, I wouldn not have had the space to set it up!
So, instead of admitting defeat, I started researching into kiln designs and theory. With a more than basic understanding of electrical circuits, and being a general tinkerer of all kinds, I decided I would design a portable furnace that would fit my needs specifically. Continue reading Meet the inventer of the RapidFire Kiln and QuickMelt ovens.
We were thrilled to interview the talented owner of the acclaimed Facèré Antique & Art Jewelry Gallery in Seattle, Washington. Karen Lorene has owned and operated her own business for over 40 years now! In addition, she is an accomplished and published writer of 4 books and a quarterly magazine. Karen is deeply involved in the Society of North American Goldsmiths and well known for her knowledge of antique and modern jewelry. Karen is a delightful person and tactful gallery owner and operator. Learn more about Karen and her beloved Facèré in the following interview.
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?