I could have done better. Maybe my mistakes will help someone else
see that what seems like a good idea at the time, might not be.
At first, when I was a teenager in the 1970s I used the word
"silversmith" My first business cards said "S. Walker, Silversmith."
I wanted to do hollowware and any jewelry I made at first was silver.
I still have friends who introduce me as a “silversmith.”
Then I started making a lot of mokume, brass, copper and bronze with
silver. It very quickly became obvious that handing a customer a
business card the said “silversmith” was confusing and
counter-productive when my product was mixed metals and often
contained no silver at all. So the I became a “metalsmith”.
“S. Walker, Metalsmith"became"Walker Metalsmiths” an I felt pretty
good about that at first. “Metalsmith” was an artsy word, fashionable
with craftsmen who considered themselves more than mere jewelers. It
covered the variety of metals I used. But for most people in the
general public it was not especially descriptive. I would sometimes
get calls from people who wanted me to shoe their horses or make
alterations in stainless steel sinks. There are two other companies
that have used the name “Walker Metalsmith”, one is a sculptor in
California who does a lot of restorations. The other, I think no
longer uses the name, made duct-work for heating and cooling systems.
What I mainly do now is Celtic jewelry in gold and/or silver. My
family name, Walker, is one of the most common names in Scotland
(think Walker Shortbread or Johnny Walker Scotch)but Walker is not an
especially Gaelic sounding or stereotypical Celtic name. In fact most
people named Walker are of English ancestry. Since I have been
slugging away at it “Walker Metalsmiths” is now fairly well
established as a brand for Celtic jewelry, but it might have been
easier with a name that conveyed Celtic jewelry.
When my son opened a branch of the family business in the Rochester
area, he called it “Walker’s Celtic Jewelry”, which was better.
My original “silversmith” title is perpetual a problem. I still have
people who will start their inquiry by saying, “I know you do a lot
of silver, but can you work in gold?” I have made over 10,000 gold
rings in my career. When people introduce me as “the silversmith” it
gives me the chance to answer with a mild, good natured scold, “How
am I supposed to sell gold and diamonds when you introduce me as a
silversmith?” I go on to explain how it is my own fault, because that
was what I called myself when I was a kid and all my role models were