How does someone become a goldsmith anyway?


Well, I’m glad you asked…

 My Story 

Beginnings:
I’ve been creating shiny, sparkling things since I was quite young. I remember starting with a simple string friendship bracelet kit that came in a box of Trix cereal. It was 4 bright tropical colors, and the string smelled like artificial fruit flavors. I spent nearly that entire summer, barefoot up in a treehouse with my best friend, peering at library books, tying millions of tiny knots, and teaching myself every bracelet pattern I could master. Once my arms (and those of my friends, and even my parents), were full, I needed to move on. I then devoured every beading book at my local library, until I’d taught myself every technique I could. But I still needed more. Enter metal.

I found a roll of thick copper wire at the hardware store. And with some of my mom’s old gnarly pliers and a hammer, I began shaping the metal around glass and wood beads. I didn’t have an anvil; but sitting cross-legged on the floor, with an upended handweight (with the rubber coating ripped off – sorry mom!) gripped between my calves, I hammered my metal to shape it. And it worked! I make pendants, and rings, and hair pins. And I was a happy, happy girl.

 

Education:
In my junior year of high school, I switched schools so I could attend one with jewelry-making classes (Northrop High School in Ft. Wayne, Indiana). I spent ever extra study hall hour I could in the jewelry studio. The first time my teacher put a torch in my hand, I knew this was something I couldn’t deny myself.

As I was sorting out my college path, I came across a magazine article about a school in Canada that was focused entirely on jewelry-making. I showed it to my mom, marveling at how cool it must be for these people to get to study something so fun. And she changed my life with one question: “Why couldn’t that be you?”

It was only maybe one week later when my mom, my brother, and I all piled in the car and made the 500-mile roadtrip North to check out the school. I fell in love with the college and the sweet city of Barrie, Ontario. And that fall I was enrolled.

I attended Georgian College for Goldsmithing/Silversmithing, Jewelry Design and Fabrication. There I learned all about forming metal with hammers, saws, gravers, and files. I got to play with torches daily! I carved wax and cast metal. And I got hands-on lessons in lapidary: cutting and polishing stones.

 

Professional Experiences:
Since college I have rented studio space &/or worked out of my home studio, creating custom and limited-edition jewelry pieces. My work has been for sale in galleries and boutiques, though currently I’m on a per piece commissioning basis.

In addition to creating jewelry, I love to teach others how to make their own beautiful adornments. I instruct via workshops and through one-on-one private lessons. (Want to learn? Email me, let’s get together and play with metal!)

Summer Jewelers Bench by Addie Kidd photo

My view all summer as a goldsmthing instructor at Tripp Lake Camp in Maine.

After college I’ve moved around a bit, first living in downtown Toronto, Ontario. And then when I grew tired of the winter, Austin, TX lured me South with its promise of 300 days of sunshine every year. It did NOT disappoint. And one summer I even got to sneak away to live as a camp counselor, teaching jewelry making and copper enameling to young girls (7-16) at Tripp Lake summer camp in Maine!

In 2006 I moved from Austin, Tx to Milwaukee, WI to pursue my dream of working for Art Jewelry magazine. I felt so strongly that that was where I was meant to be, that I packed up my car, grabbed my Canadian cat (who is GREAT at roadtrips), and drove North. I’d sent in my résumé, but hadn’t heard anything yet. But my lease was up and I planned to sort it out once I got up to Milwaukee. Halfway through the drive, somewhere in Oklahoma, I got a phone call from the HR rep for the publication company. She asked if I would like to schedule a phone interview later in the week. Would I!??! I told her that I’d actually be in town within two days, so we could just interview in person. She was surprised, to say the least.

My intuition proved itself, and a few weeks after moving to town (while still living in an extended stay hotel) I began with an opening at Bead & Button magazine. I’d started much of my jewelry career with beads, and loved my time at that magazine, designing projects, playing with bead color palettes, and proofing complex stitching diagrams. While there, I worked my way up to an Associate Editor.

Eventually, something in the planets aligned, and there happened to be an opening at Art Jewelry magazine. I was thrilled when the editor asked me aboard. Finally! I was writing about metal and creating true goldsmithing tutorials!

Click for some of my projects & articles.

During my time at both of those publications, I designed and wrote up my own jewelry projects, edited others’ rough works into clear instructional step-by-step articles, helped design how-to photos and graphics, technically-edited other artists’ projects for print, created how-to goldsmithing technique videos for YouTube, and testing and reviewing new power tools (One of my favorite parts!).

In 2011, I ended my time at the publishing company to pursue my doula and photography businesses fulltime. Though I’m no longer at the magazine, I continue to write and edit on a freelance basis. I consult with artists to prepare their tutorials for magazine submission. And I can arrange and edit a creator’s rough words and loose photos into a cohesive, clear step-by-step tutorial that they can be proud to sell online via etsy.com or directly to their students. If you’ve got a project that you’d like to polish up, let’s talk!

Email me by clicking here

 

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