Generally, as I come across a new category of tools, I find myself
having to make a complete setup in order to use them. Then I start
thinking of how many extra dimensions of capability I could have even
by practicing with basic skills.
Because I have no formal background and I am coming into this late in
my life, and because I can't do this full time, I won't have enough
years left to be proficient in most of the tools you all have so
generously given me.
But that's okay. It gives me something to do that isn't spoiled by my
past, and that's great for my mental health.
A few months ago, I had once dropped a couple pairs of silver cross
earrings into the collection plate of a church I visit once a month,
because I had no cash and I thought it would be a nice surprise.
The pastor took me aside as I was leaving and told me she deduced
they were from me, and asked what she should do with them. I said,
give them to people who need confidence or comfort.
I haven't done that since, because I had been focused on learning or
organizing rather than producing. But today I had been talking with a
local head of a suicide support group (I've had 4 people in my life
either try or succeed), and she thought it would be a great idea if I
could make art they could auction off.
So I think my life and my hobby as a silversmith are coming a little
more into focus. Just because I may never earn a cent at this, please
don't think you are wasting your time and your help on me. What I
want to do is just learn to make beautiful things and give them away.
as an amateur I am entitled to do this, at my own pace of a couple
hours a day, give or take...
and I want to make some people or causes very happy.
It's all I can think of for now. Are there other jewelers who also
donate thier work to charity rather than live off it?
Andrew Jonathan Fine
1. call the pawn shop owner and ask if the engraver passed away at a
ripe old age, if so then its most unlikely it was from HIV. This
tends to be a young persons as in a sexually active age disease.
2. did you get the minature brake press? I hope do.
Doing work for free? A good friend of mine had a daughter, who
suffered from cystic fibrosis.
Not a well person, and she had a really artistic nature.
As her expectancy was no more than a couple of yrs I asked if she
would like to make some buttons? she said she would love to.
I talked to my modeller, and die maker asking them to do their work
for free as I planned to make the buttons likewise.
100 of each of 2 designs.
She would then sell them through the CF trust here in the UK.
The 2 designs were the "Hand of Salome" her name, and the "Eye of
A couple of months later much to her surprise and real joy I
delivered them to her.
She's no longer with us, but her work always will be.
On the theme of a treasure chest of tools, 3 weeks ago at out local
Sunday car boot, a house clearance chap I know put out some small
scale foundry equipment, along with coin and medal magazines from the
1960's, metal working and foundry reference books and a 6in by 3 in
dia rolling mill.
Had the lot, got it all back and went through it all.
The mill had 3 of the rise and fall drivegears missing. however, in
amongst the papers was the original owners name and address, Arthur
Jones, along with his military service records. Royal Army Ordinance
Corps, ie bomb disposal people. Born 1929, enlisted 1944 discharged
on medical grounds in 1950.
As an ex service chap myself, its right and proper to return records
to ones old unit for their archives.
after a lot of searching found the RAOC veterans association and
they were pleased to have them.
I mentioned that as an ex sevice chap myself, I dont give up, he
said service folk never give up!! it made my day.
So the next thing was to go to the address where they came from, and
ask if the gears were anywhere about.
Called in and the place was empty.
On the floor of the porch was a delivery note August 2012, for a
chipper with a Mr M. Jones, same address and mobile phone no.
To call the no or not? well nothing ventured nothing gained, made
the call and found it was the nephew of Mr. A Jones.
I explained what I had bought and what was missing and asked if I
might do a proper search of all the sheds.
He graciously agreed, and he mentioned that there was also a big
press there as well, cleared last year, by a local scrap dealer.
So yesterday I went back to the house and went through all the
sheds. nothing there.
Then there are 4 scrap dealers in a 20 mile radius of this house.
Off to call in to see them all, At the 3rd, drove into the yard and
there, on one side where it had been put since last year!, was the
A hand operated, my guess,100 ton, toggle press, made by Krause,
that Mr A jones had used to do his coin experiments.
. Collected it yesterday afternoon with the car transporter, weight
around 1 ton. Will motorise it, suitable for work up to 1in in dia.
Some tooling with it as well. Got it for $100.00 It will make a nice
demonstration piece when restored.
A quick search on the Net and Krause are still in business.
An email off to them with questions about age? serial no, tonnage
Its infact a heavy duty printing press, Ideal for small work.
Gears I can find, a press like that? a once only chance.
For a picture, Google Krause hand press. One identical just sold in
Hope you enjoy.
I routinely donate pieces to the Red Cross to auction for $, usually
at a golf tournament. I also give Scouts rough and cut stones as part
of their badges in geology.
Of course there others out there that may never make a living off
making jewelry. I am just having fun making and wearing it or giving
to family. Some day we hope to teach family members to pass on what
we have learned. D Pelikan
I donate a lot of my things to charities. I do not need to be
monetarily wealthy. I would prefer to pass it forward as I have had
a lot of help getting to where I am today as a fine artist and
always a student silversmith. I too came to the fine art of metal
crafting jewelry later in life. It seemedlike a better option than
the occupation therapists suggestion I train to work at a fast food
restaurant. I said why would I retrain for a minimum wage physically
hard job? Silly people. These were the same people who after
evaluating me from my brain injury and past jobs which were all
physical outdoor labor. I am so sorry all you can be is a fine
artist. gee poor me LOLFrightening as it is I have full memory of
the 1970's and college(FIne Arts Palentology double major)like it
was yesterday. I figure that there is only one wrong way to live and
that is not at all. So every day I wake up is an excellent day. Go
on being you Andrew it confuses people to see honest generosity.
Teri in Pittsburgh getting ready to demold sculptures.
Ive been busy outside today, working through the processing of the
oak felled earlier in the spring, and mulled some more over your wish
to give work away.
Now any charity that wishes to be ongoing, needs contributors.
Consider Bill and Melinda Gates, who fund medicine in the 3rd world,
they have sufficient income to do what thy think is right.
You, have 2 hrs or so to give to your charity every day, but you
still need an income to fund your overheads and metal costs.
The pastor who wants you to make art, should at least cover the
costs I have mentioned, otherwise they will fall on you and
ultimately on your family.
You will need to get their whole hearted support for these costs,
before you commit yourself. It would be irresponsible not to do so.
Now taking this thought further, if you choose to sell your work and
made a profit therefrom, youd be able to increase your charity work.
Dont limit yourself, you are whatever you want to be, you employ
yourself so you make the rules.
Andrew - I use my jewelry to fundraise every chance I get. But I
have to at least get my costs back so it is a partnering on a
continuing basis in certain pieces of jewelry. My jewelry melds with
all the colours of cancer awareness. And I a raising money for West
Highland White Terrier rescue with bronze pendants - can't forget our
four footed friends need help too.
Many artists, myself included, are asked several times a year to
donate work for charity auctions or events. It is a good thing to do,
to support the causes we want to help. I do make a living by my
jewelry, but that doesn't matter in this discussion. Giving work to
charity will be a joy for you, IMHO. You needn't wait to be asked,
though. You could contact charities dear to your heart and ask them
how and when they could use your work. Good luck with this wonderful
I donate frequently to select causes that I know where the proceeds
go and that are 501 (c) 3 agencies or organizations. I don't know of
anyone that would do this full time without a generous support grant.
However Angola Prison is beginning a jewelery training programme and
production/manufacturing facility- that should upset some of the
wholesale vendors out there as the labour will be practically free
and their work force is "in" for life sentences. In a sense it's
appalling as the skills they learn won't leave the facility, and the
profite? Hmm, the prison system and jurisdictions that made the
convictions, or federal Govt...
I once again commend your spirit, Andrew. Serving others is the
highest calling of Mankind, in my humble opinion.
Are there other jewelers who also donate thier work to charity
rather than live off it?
One of the common wisdoms in the retail jewelry business says to use
charity as a way of disposing of old inventory. The thought process
is that you are helping a charity and at the same time you are able
to take a deduction on your taxes for the full cost of something you
would only get scrap value out of otherwise. Another school of
thought is to donate gift certificates. That way the winner of the
auction has to come into the store to redeem the certificate, giving
the donor a great opportunity to sell them up and actually make some
money in the process. In my humble opinion, both of these tactics are
more self-serving than they are truly charitable.
I don't often get much of an opportunity to create what I want to,
most of my work consists of making other peoples designs come to
life. Don't get me wrong, I ain't complainin'. It is very rewarding
work and it does offer plenty of room for creativity. It's just not
start to finish my creativity that's at the center of the design, it
is often more engineering than pure art for art's sake. Even though
my day job is quite enjoyable and rewarding, the only times I really
get to exercise any real artistic freedom is when I create something
for a charity auction. So, when I do take that plunge, I like to jump
in with both feet and make the biggest splash I can.
I don't participate in design contests very much. Instead, I use the
opportunity of giving to determine the worth of my designs. It also
presents a golden opportunity to leverage my donations. Say I have
$1000 to donate. I can write a check, and that's pretty helpful to
the charity. But if I take that thousand and buy metal, melee and a
really cool gemstone, put some of my time and some of my soul into
creating a piece that I really want to make and donate that, well the
charity can get $3000, $5000 or even more. But only if I make
something other people really want. The ultimate design contest.
I was going to tell about my best and worst showings, but they are
more or less meaningless stories without the dollar amounts and I
don't think it's altogether appropriate for me to get into that so
publicly. Let's just say I've been overwhelmed by the reaction to my
work, on both ends of the scale. The highs are just that. The low
ball pieces just plain hurt. But either way, creating work for
charity auctions will provide the most honest feedback anyone can
A small warning - this kind of thing isn't for the weak-of-heart or
for the person that really doesn't want to hear that their work isn't
quite as good as they think it is. It can be the most brutal honesty
your work will ever face.
I admire both your tenacity and your generosity, Andrew. You will be
rewarded by both, in more ways than you can possibly imagine. I hope
and pray that your example will be followed by many.
What a coincidence Jonathan. I was just thinking about doing this
very thing myself today! My daughter's beloved boyfriend tragically
took his life last year, leaving his family, my daughter and their
baby girl before she was born. His parents are doing a lot of work
for a charity called CALM, which raises awareness of young male
suicide and offers various forms of support. I was trying to think
of a way that I could help this cause with my jewellery, so I'll be
interested to hear how you get on with this and what others'
thoughts are on the matter.
Andrew, you are a kind and loving man and an example for many of us.
You may not have much money, but you are rich in so many other ways.
Have fun with the treasures you found in the pawn shop. I am always
amazedat the creativity and imagination that you have which
transforms so many of the things which others have discarded into
useful tools in your shop. Keep well and happy. Alma
I have sufficient resources for my hobby. Before I got laid off in
2005, I was a radio amateur for at least 30 years, during both my
first marriage and second. From that, I had lots of cabinets that I
was able to repurpose.
I switched to machining, in 2005, because I was allowed to use my
unemployment money to buy a 3-axis mill, and I thought to combine my
electronics and software knowledge along with being able to create
mechanical parts with the CNC to built apparatus for inventors and
business. That didn't get off the ground because all R&D was now
I began actually silversmithing in 2008 while my wife and I both
still had incomes. I'd hit the stores in Gallup and buy from my $50
monthly allowance any consumables I thought I would need several
years out: polish, tips, rubber wheels, vises, clamps, etc.
The allowance stopped in 2010 because we had to go down to one
income, my SSDI, but my wife is generous enough to allow me to buy
more consumeables or tools occasionally, in honor of my birthday. or
sometimes the occasional ounce of silver when the price is low or I
I've been planning this very carefully over a long time. I have a
father who, having far more money than common sense, would send about
$250 just for my own use for my birthday, and $500 on Christmas. With
those resources I would buy some pre-owned major tools: diamond
bandsaw, and an Inland 8-inch all-in-one flat lap.
My father-in-law gave me a drill-press, a shop vac, and a bench
grinder, all of these very practical tools.
Last year, I sold all of my electronics and equipment from my amateur
radio hobby, for about $1000, and then used the proceeds to run power
No offense, but I am just not ready to operate as anything but an
amateur, because I don't want the pressure from operating from a
profit motive. I just want to make things to give away. Need I say
Andrew Jonathan Fine
Well, I don't donate to charity INSTEAD of live off my art, I do
both, as I'm sure the majority do. Usually donate to the festival
auction while vending, donate to @ 1/2 the charities who ask, incl
cancer research, cleft palate surgeries, Mercy Corp, Fistula
surgeries etc, but the most fun is giving freepair of earrings to
birthday girls, and my favorite is choosing one (smallish) piece at
each show that I will give away to the first person who genuinely
admires it, looks like they could use a boost, or touches my heart. I
have found this last rewards me with renewed enthusiasm in the
mind-numbing marathon of too many shows. Great thread, Jonathan,
Sterling Bliss, llc