The Steel Road to Touchstone


The Steel Road to Touchstone

Thoughts, contemplations, and excitement about the upcoming "Jewelry Fabrication in Steel" course with Sharon Massey at Touchstone Center for Crafts.

Members: 23
Latest Activity: Aug 14, 2015

Thank you to Touchstone for offering me the opportunity to study “Jewelry Fabrication in Steel” with Sharon Massey this May. I am eagerly anticipating learning how to work with a material that will find a friendly home amongst my architectonic design aesthetics.

Steel is a relatively new material for me. I have worked briefly with it in the past as a component in different jewelry designs, but never as the main focus of the work. With the workshop fast approaching, I decided I need to dig into what steel is, what it is to me, and the significance it holds for the studio craft community today. I hope to share my musings in the form of snippets of personal interest and inspirational craftspeople as I strive to delve into the essence of the material.



Discussion Forum

Touchstone Wrap-Up: Thank You!

Started by Erin Knisley May 14, 2013. 0 Replies

As a retrospective on this past weekend, I want to thank everyone at Touchstone for such an amazing craft-filled getaway. Everything was absolutely wonderful. Thank you also to each of my classmates for all the advice and encouragement. I met so many beautiful people with such wonderful spirits and a deep-rooted vivacity for jewelry.  It brought an inspiring and lasting impression which made the weekend that much more memorable.The “Jewelry Fabrication in Steel” workshop with Sharon Massey was an unbelievable experience. Sharon is a phenomenal instructor with a definite ‘special something’ that all really good teachers have. I am truly blessed to have been able to meet her and I look forward to our future conservations and workshops in the future.I knew I was going to learn a lot over the course of the weekend, but I undoubtedly learned so much more than I could have imagined possible in such a short period of time. Not just about techniques, but about the empowerment of being part of…Continue

Sharon Massey: Day 2

Started by Erin Knisley May 13, 2013. 0 Replies

Today was the second (and sadly final) day of the “Jewelry Fabrication in Steel” weekend workshop with Sharon Massey at Touchstone. I spent the morning finishing up my hollow enclosed sample, etching a few more pieces, and dapping to get a feel for forming steel. I also finished up my brooch form by giving it a three dimensional lift and, this time, I was much more successful on my first soldering attempts of the day. Once the brooch was finished (sans pin backs), I felt even more excited (if that was possible) at having constructed my first full steel piece!In the afternoon, we decided to have some fun with finishing and Sharon brought out a bottle of black tool dip (Plasti-Dip). Using scrap and sample pieces that she assembled for us, the class took a little fieldtrip outdoors to dip the pieces and hang them to dry. It made a dripping little collection of gothic jewelry…Continue

Sharon Massey: Day 1

Started by Erin Knisley May 12, 2013. 0 Replies

Today was the first working day of “Jewelry Fabrication in Steel” with Sharon Massey. It started off with another wonderful breakfast (the food here is amazing!) before our group headed to the metals studio. Sharon began with demonstrating how to solder multiple gauges of steel wire (she makes it look so easy!). I made a few really quick sample pieces as she suggested, and I admit my first attempts were not very good. In order to experiment to find the method that worked best for me, I started a brooch which I purposefully made more ornamental than my past work to foster that experimentation. By the time I got the first part of the brooch completed (after multiple attempts of course), I began to get it!Sharon then showed me how to solder steel sheet. I was surprised by how…Continue

Reporting from Touchstone: Meet and Greet Night One

Started by Erin Knisley May 12, 2013. 0 Replies

Touchstone is amazing! Although my experience with craft centers is limited, Touchstone is by far the most put together and free spirited. I understand that this is only the first night of the weekend workshop with Sharon, but it has made an amazing first impression.Through the scholarship, I was provided a room in the dormitory style housing. Each room is outfitted with two closet set-ups, a chair, two beds with separate bed lamps, and an overhead fan-light. There is a spacious central living area which all the rooms share complete with a studio apartment kitchen. I feel like I am staying in a mini-hotel. Plus, due to the perfect size of the campus (just right for walking around without being too big—just the right amount to explore), the building I have been placed in is within site of the metals studio.With it being Mother’s Day weekend, and many of the students still being in school, the “Jewelry Fabrication in Steel” class is rather small—perfect for establishing a quick and…Continue

Steel Selections

Started by Erin Knisley. Last reply by Erin Knisley May 10, 2013. 2 Replies

In preparation for my departure for Touchstone this afternoon, I spent yesterday sketching and skimming the Internet for visual influences of steel jewelry. During my digital travels, I discovered a variety of artists whose steel-based work was highly intriguing for its architectonic and geometric wire roots. I have chosen a selection of artists to share and hope that you find their work as inspirational as myself. Please enjoy! Sarah Loertscher: A runway jewelry artist working in geometric steel wire forms. As a lover of the opulence and ritual of the runway, I adore her work with its bold statements combined with the body carriage of the models. All her work is beautiful, but take especial care to check out her bridal collection! Campos: Utilizes 3D printing technology to created printed steel…Continue

Sharon Massey

Started by Erin Knisley May 8, 2013. 0 Replies

With just a few days separating myself and the workshop at Touchstone, it is high time to highlight the central stimulus for my choice of the workshop; Sharon Massey. After being selected for the Touchstone scholarship I spent the next few days scanning the workshop list, visiting artist websites, and trying to gain a feel for their work. Massey’s portfolio, topic of “Jewelry Fabrication in Steel”, and straightforward artist statement which offers no apologies for her love of steel and iron, instantly had me hooked.Sharon Massey lives and works in Steeltown (aka Pittsburgh), PA, immersing herself in her surroundings as she is directly inspired by the city’s “steel bridges, industry, and the architectural details of buildings”. Drawing on the innate qualities of steel and iron and allowing them to shine, Massy makes it clear that she is “not interested in merely recreating these things [architecture, bridges, ironworks]” but attempting “to capture the essence of the beauty of…Continue

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Comment by Erin Knisley on May 14, 2013 at 2:38pm

Thank you to everyone for joining my group! I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about steel through my own musings, and ever so much more through the workshop itself. Thank you everyone!

Comment by Erin Knisley on May 4, 2013 at 8:32am

Thank you again, Glen! I really enjoy anything craft history related and you continue to provide wonderful sources for me to check out!

I actually am in the midst of compiling a blog post about Paley (especially his absolutely tremendous range of work from jewelry to gateways) and was looking for someone else to pair with him, so I will look into Brent Kington as well.

It's strange how a simple alteration of scale suddenly demeans or elevates a material or idea, especially in today's mass-consumer market. The argument of "selling yourself without selling out" seems to be becoming more prevalent.

Comment by Erin Knisley on May 1, 2013 at 11:28am

It's funny how such a thing as a "titles" such as "small metals" and "blacksmithing" or "forge" seem to keep two sections of metalworking apart although they share many characteristics. I too am excited to see how blending and blurring the lines between heavy metal and small metals alters perceptions of makers on both sides of the line.

Comment by Brenda Schweder on May 1, 2013 at 10:56am

You got it! It will be in tomorrow's mail!

Comment by Brenda Schweder on May 1, 2013 at 10:28am

Adam and Erin--I'm a fan and lover of dark annealed steel for cold-connection jewelry making and wrote Steel Wire Jewelry (Lark Jewelry & Beading). Would you like a complimentary copy for your students (of either side)?


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