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Monday, November 23, 2009

Jewelry for Jewelers - Lee Marshall


I was reading a blog post from one of my favorite MetalSmith pals BZ - of Cosmos Moon. She talks about "Gifts for MetalSmiths" this being the season of giving. The first thing that came to mind was this wonderful post by my go-to Tool man - Lee Marshall of Knew Concepts - the designer of the Bonny Doon Hydraulic Press, Knew Concepts Saw, MicroFold Brake and multi award winning engineer.

Photos Include: Bracelet by Cynthia Eid using the MicroFold Brake; Microfold Brake; Knew Concepts Electric Saw; thrilled workshop attendee using the electric saw!


I Make Jewelry for Jewelers
by Lee Marshall

Who hasn't seen Tee shirts emblazoned with sayings such as "TOOL FOOL", bumper stickers with "I BRAKE FOR TOOLS"?

How many times have you as a jeweler, given an encircled
picture or catalog description of a tool or machine with the notation saying: "This is the one that I want for my anniversary, wedding, birthday, holiday, etc"?

Jewelers fall into a very special category of unique individuals. Those on the "outside" have a hard time coming up with gift ideas for them.

Flowers won't work with this crowd; candy leaves them cold, brandy isn't the answer, and diamonds...they would only use them to make something for someone else! No, the best way to show love or friendship to this group is to give them a tool.

These folks still cherish their very first good tool, and probably still use it every day. In my case, I still have tools given to me by my father over sixty years ago, and even though I don't use them much anymore, as our interests diverged, I still fondle them with reverence.

Good tools free creativity, while poor tools limit it. I have been making tools for jewelers and metalsmiths for more than twenty years, and for the longest time didn't recognize that my appreciation for tools and machinery was shared by others. This was brought home to me when I shipped a tool
to a customer and it happened to arrive on her birthday, along with a box of long-stemmed roses from her brother, and a package from her husband. As she related this story to me later, she confessed that she opened mine first. After all, the piece that she was working on needed the tool to finish it, and her husband would get to see her open his gift to her. Now, this is rationalization of the first order.

For the past 20 years, I have been trying to figure out how to describe to others what it is that I do. I realize now that I occupy a very small niche within the universe circumscribed by the field of jewelry. While some would say that I am an insignificant piece of the larger puzzle, I feel that I
participate in making objects of beauty.

That's good enough for me.

What I do is create jewelry for jewelers.
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