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George McLean is gone

Hi All,

George McLean was a remarkable man, jeweler, thinker, rendering
genius and all around good man. I only think of him smiling or
laughing, being kind and smart. He was a friend, and will be missed.
His drawing lecture can be found in Mattiello’s rendering book. Much
sympathy to his family. Charles

George D. McLean

George McLean, born April 24, 1932 in Gilroy, California to Meta and
Arthur McLean, passed away July 17, 2005 at the University of =A0
Washington Hospital loved and supported by his family. He was 73 =A0
years old.

George is survived by his wife Carol; his seven children, Rachel =A0
McLean, Lisa Woodbury, Sean McLean, Amy Woodbury, Alison Thrasher, =A0
Kevin McLean, Winona Lee; and four grandchildren, Camden and Hayden
Thrasher, Teyline and Aderyn McLean.

George was a designer with a long successful career in the =A0
contemporary jewelry field. Recognition of his work came from the =A0
Society of North American Goldsmiths; the Museum of California, =A0
Oakland, CA; Renwick Gallery, Washington, D.C. and numerous juried =A0
exhibitions of Metalsmithing. In addition to the creation of his =A0
personal work, he was an educator, a designer for several companies,
and an illustrator and contributor to professional publications. =A0In
1965 he started McLean and Co. in Sausalito, CA and became an
influential part of the San Francisco area contemporary jewelry scene
by educating the public and training jewelers to quality design, a
number of whom have gone on to establish their own businesses. He
taught at numerous schools including Haystack School of Crafts,
University of Washington, De Young Museum Art School, San Francisco,
CA, California College of Arts and Crafts, Pratt School of Arts in
Seattle and at numerous workshops throughout the United States,
Canada, Taiwan and England. He was an early member of the Society of
North American Goldsmiths.

He and his wife Carol Ireland-McLean moved to Vashon Island, WA in =A0
1995 where he became a part of the northwest jewelry community and =A0
continued to teach, design and make jewelry for local galleries.

George was a kind, strong and gentle man who inspired many students,
friends and those that knew him. His patience, generosity and quiet
humor will be missed and remembered.

A memorial celebration will be held on Sunday, July 24th at 2pm at =A0
the Pt. Robinson Lighthouse on Vashon Island.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his name may be made to
the Society of North American Goldsmiths, or to the charity of
your choice.

I knew George, not real well, but we were acquainted. He was
probably not a saint, but he just seemed like one. What a nice, nice
person he was. I discovered a photo in SNAG, if any are interested -
from 1970. The link is:

May God rest his

George taught me how to bend light. His light will shine on in so
many of us.


I am so sorry to learn that George McLean is no long with us. I
took a workshop in rendering with him several years ago, and well
remember his patience and kindness. He was indeed a remarkable and
generous man.

My deepest sympathy to his family. Alma

This is sad, sad news, George was a wonderful mentor and friend. We
have lost a very good man. My sympathies go out to his family.


Jim Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160

Member of the Better Business Bureau

Thank you Charles for telling us of the passing of such a wonderful
man. He will be very much missed and I extend my heartfelt
condolences to his friends and family. I was fortunate to take
"Rendering" and “Advanced Rendering” from George at Revere Academy a
number of years ago. He had such a kind and gentle manner that his
students all felt encouraged and “able” under his tutelage and felt
inspired to do their best work. What a wonderful teacher! I didn’t
know until your post that we shared an April 24 birthday. It will
make it easy to remember and celebrate his life each year.

Sheridan Reed

George McLean was a god. Back in the 70’s, he would occasionally
come down to Fresno State University to show slides, do demos, and
generally inspire and enlighten. I owe much of what I do to his
influence and presence.

At the San Francisco SNAG Conference, I was finally able to shake
his hand and thank him for being. His response was “No, Thank

-BK in AK

I ,too,was very saddened to hear of Geoge’s passing. As my husband
stated,such a wonderful,gentle,elegant person. It was priviledge to
have taken several rendering classes and a waxing class taught by
him at the Revere Academy years ago. Even now, as I teach evening
casting class in Castro Valley,I still incorporate his tricks on
drawing as well as wax work. One of the best tricks he taught was
taking a sewing needle, putting the sharp point into a small piece
of wood(chop stick, short pencil etc.) to form the handle and
making this into a minature spatula tool-using the eye of the needle
to hold the wax. It can be any size of needle-whatever fits the
project. The ultimate way to work on or build prongs in wax And you
can build small beads with it… Tante grazie,George!!! We shall
miss you and have been blessed to have had you in our lives,both as
teacher & friend…Our sympathy to your family. Sincerely, Jo-Ann
Maggiora Donivan

I was very saddened to learn of George McLean’s passing last week.

George McLean was my mentor, my colleague and my friend. We met in
1974, when I returned from Germany as a freshly trained goldsmith.
George owned G.D. McLean, the most avant-garde jewelry store in
Sausalito, across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. His
jewelry designs were beautiful, crisp, intriguing and masterful. His
workshop was teeming with energy, inspiration and creativity; and
many successful careers were incubated in that shop.

In 1979, when I opened the Revere Academy, George was the first
person I asked to teach, because of his natural mastery and
experience training his own employees. Over the years, George taught
hundreds and hundreds of eager students the skills of drawing and
design, wax modeling and jewelry making, which he loved, and which
came so effortlessly to him.

George was extremely talented, generous, patient and caring. He was
unbelievably gifted with his hands, even after a youthful accident
left him with only two fingers on his dominant right hand. His story
is partially told in Frank Wilson’s fascinating book, The Hand - How
its use shapes the brain, language, and human culture.

Personally, I will treasure the magical experience of watching
George sculpt a piece of jewelry in three dimensions, right before
my eyes, using only a pencil and paper. As he drew, laying down
graphite, he modeled the image as if it were clay. All this while,
answering questions and explaining every nuance of light, surface,
and contour to share his advanced understanding with others. And in
the end, his work jumped off the page with a life of its own, an
achievement that always amazed me. Every stroke and highlight, in
just the right place.

George was a beautiful man who created beautiful things, and he will
be missed by those who knew him and loved him.

Alan Revere

Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, Inc.
760 Market Street
Suite 900
San Francisco, California 94102
tel: 415-391-4179
fax: 415-391-7570

Truly a fine teacher and talented artist. He will be missed by many.

I’ve heard that he spent the last nine months on a waiting list for a
donor liver. Time, it seems ran out before one became available.
Perhaps his passing can serve as an incentive to those reading this,
who are not otherwise opposed to the idea, to take the time to fill
out an organ donor card and other needed paperwork, including being
sure your next of kin are aware of your wishes, to insure that, in
the event of your own demise, usable transplantable organs might
save lives, instead of going to waste.


Peter, what an excellent thought. My driver’s license includes my
wish to be a donor, but it doesn’t hurt to reinforce that with my
spouse and kids! You are so SMART!

Judy in Kansas, who just buried one of her very best metal friends.
Too young and talented to die at 56. I’m sad.

A few more words about George McLean, in response to Janet and
others; Examples of George’s drawings and renderings can be seen in,
Techniques of Jewelry Illustration and Color Rendering by Adolfo
Mattiello ISBN 0-9644193-0-0. There is a portrait of George on page
7 and the chapters on Pencil Rendering pp 22-24 and Color Rendering
pp 25-29 are his.


Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, Inc.
760 Market Street
Suite 900
San Francisco, California 94102
tel: 415-391-4179
fax: 415-391-7570