Here is my cozy, little studio nestled in the far north woods.
My commute takes about 15 seconds. I breath in the scent of deep, evergreen forest. It smells like pine needles and earth and campfires.
A loon calls and an eagle flies by.
In the winter I feel a crisp breath of pure white under a cold blanket of silence.
Here, I'll take you inside. That's my design table on the left. The far back table is for polishing and finishing. The bench on the right is for soldering and assembly.
The floor is concrete and not heated, so I added a rug. Still, in the winter when it's sub-zero for months, I wear mukluks out there to keep my feet warm.
I keep the studio at 46 degrees Fahrenheit and then bump it up to 58 or so when I'm working. The heat of the torch, pickle pot, and lights warm it up a few more degrees.
It all starts when a stone begins to whisper a story.
I let the stone out of the box and listen.
I draw out a couple of ideas on paper. The right one is very obvious once I get it. The stones just FEEL happy. And I tell you, if it's not right, it won't work. No matter how hard I try, it won't work. The stones have their story and I need to get it right.
As I begin to work on the piece, I'll take finished parts and double check against the design. In this one, I'm working with 14K gold.
Here's a piece in progress on the work bench. The silver always looks pretty bad as it is getting heated in the fire before cleanup and polish.
Fire is key. I use acetylene gas and a Smith torch. This is a soldering station with an open screen. It allows me to heat the metal from the top or the bottom.
I stand up for this part because a I need to move the fire around.
I use my polishing machine to add texture or to make a smooth surface.
At the very end, after setting the stones, I do a final hand polish.
And that's it!
If you'd like to see more about the actual construction of the studio, take a look at my blog post "Building My Studio"