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.
Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, Inc.
760 Market Street
San Francisco, California 94102