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Has anyone out there given much thought as to what will happen to
your business, machinery, tools, notes, or library when you finally
step off the planet?

In my case the blood, sweat, and tears I put into collecting it all

  • would weigh far more than the stuff does in actual physical
    reality. I didn’t earn any of it easily.

Should you let it be broken up and auctioned off? Should you
designate someone to receive all or parts of it? Should you impose on
friendships and put together a group to carry out your wishes? Should
you donate or “will” it all and hope that the recipients will care
for it as you did?

What I have collected over the years represents pretty much my
entire adult life. The work will never be finished. I would hate to
see it broken up and sold off piecemeal.

For example: There are over 140 notebooks alone that desperately need
to be gone through and organized. (I’m trying:) Though these notes
would be worthless monetarily, they just might be priceless to the
right kind of metalsmith.

What are the rest of you planning? (Besides living forever:) Have any
of you created foundations or other entities to continue your work?
Made arrangements with friends or spouses?

Even if you haven’t given it any previous thought, I would like to
hear your ideas, suggestions, or ruminations - as to what you think
YOU might do…

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts
Stockton, CA 95209 USA
209-477-0550 Workshop/Studio/

  Sadly, I've purchased the neglected remaining tools from
estates- retired setters or jewelers- 

from heirs that didn’t have a clue. Rusted gravers, envelopes of
unmarked solder, wax tools, rusted burs… even a few useful tools
in good condition… it is heartbreaking to see the rust and damage.
We all know what those tools once accomplished.

Rick Hamilton

Brian M. and all!


Why don’t you do what I am doing…open up a web-site and leave all
of your writings for all to see and read. Even after you take
permanent residence…“upstairs”, many of us and all can still be
reading your thoughts and words. You just can’t take your words with
you…such a legacy it will be…Do it now! I call this a “Mitzvah”,
or a good deed…(Hebrew word here!)

Your tools can be willed to a school or organisation for some
beginner who is just starting to learn…Remember when the web reader
is reading your words, your memory and name is still alive! Put
everything into your new web-site, explain everything, pictures,
rough notes…don’t delay.When you about to go, its too late
then!.."your alive too short, and dead too

“Gerry, the Cyber-Setter!”

I have thought about this. I have thought of donating the whole bit
to a university, or to a young person just starting out. The
trouble with the second is how to find such a person. One would
want to make sure they were committed to the craft.

Now that we have a strong guild in our area
(http:/ I would consider leaving
everything to them for them to sell as a fundraiser for the
organization, perhaps.

Brian’s right to remind us all to think about this. It’s not
pleasant, of course, to ponder your own demise. But the burden of
all this specialized equipment and family members who wouldn’t know
what to do with it. It is important to think about, telling your
family members your intentions, and put it in writing.

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

Dear Mr. Brian B. Marshall,

thanking you for downing questions through the world.

My name is Albert Heim, and it was not allways a pleasure to follow
you orchidians, through times where my heart and eyes have been

Could not follow often, the stuff, I learned to love too.

As Hanuman knows, I love Orchid/s/kids.

I’m crazy about gems 'n/jewels.

Am looking through the windows of my heart to find the start in art.

If you could be so kind to contact me by, I could feel very happy.

Mail to:

Why the mail you sended talks so deep, I think I feel it

My English might make it not so easy sometimes (?).

take care, regards, Albert

As the recipiant of two legacies, grandfather’s and my dad’s ( even
though he is still living and working he has given me enough at this
point to be called a legacy) I have seen the giving in action. One
thing to be certain is that no one will value what you leave as much
as you do or in the way you do. The resources my predicessors gave
me have been just that, resources. Invaluable resources but still I
view them as assets which I do not hold so precious as to not
consider selling if necessary. I was present when my great uncle died
and his tools and materials simply went back into the family to be
used, not set in museum cases. I tried to get him to give to the
metals program at the University of Arizona but he wouldn’t and
since then the program has been discontinued so I don’t know what
would have happened to it all anyway. If I don’t have my children
follow me into the business then I would try to give it to a metals
program and hope they are used and help someone grow. Past the hopes
I have ,I have no control over anything I leave and don’t want to.
Even if they are sold piece meal, just think of the joy it will
bring someone to find just the tool they have been lusting over all
their carreer at the estate sale they just happened to stop in on
one Saturday morning. Or the piece of jewelry which is dug up in a
thousand years with your initials on it.

Sam Patania, Tucson

Hi Brian,

Every once in a while, one of the schools I teach at gets a batch
of tools from a former student, who has willed it to the school.
That is a really nice way to be sure that more than just one person
gets the benefit of the tools. It is a nice way to remember an
institution that has been helpful to you—a way to pay back.

A good place to think about for your notebooks is the Archives at the
Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis. They will now be the SNAG slide
archive, in addition to all that they have already collected, so
that, I think, will be the best place for your notes----they could be
cared for and studied.

It is good to think of these things. My grandmother used to give me
things when she was alive. Often, I protested, but she would insist,
saying that my relatives would not appreciate the things the way I
did, but they would fight over the stuff anyways, when I die, just
’cuz folks get greedy. She was right, as it turned out.

All best wishes,

(and with fond memories of our dinner that Anne Hollerbach cooked
for all of us last May!)

Cynthia Eid

and yet here I am a new person in the trade devouring everything I
can learn as fast as I can and buying estate tools because it is the
only way I can afford tools

I just finished cleaning and fixing my 1940 era buffer grinder and I
got it for $20 on the web from a dealer who buys estates for watches
and watch parts. Sometimes he has items that his clients just do not
need and that is my lucky day!

I have a grinder polisher I am so excited lol I have also purchased
pliers and other items one at a time from him and must admit that
though I must build my work shop from scratch as I had no one in my
family to legacy me a jewelry business that when I die my items will
go to someone starting out. I already send extra tools I get in bulk
purchases at estates to others.

I belong to a disabled artists cooprative and we help each other
survive. A lot of the beginner jewelry people I have met are disabled
like myself. So giving doesn’t always have to wait until you die!

Some day I will be established and earning a living and be able to
help more. I look forward to the days when I can teach cameo arts to
fellow jewelers and encourage young people to try a trade that I find
fascinating and very challenging.

Thank you to the persons who sold their tools…
America’s Only cameo Artist

    Why don't you do what I am up a web-site and
leave all of your writings for all to see and read. Even after you
take permanent residence.."upstairs", many of us and all can still
be reading your thoughts and words. 

Gerald, any ideas about who is going to pay the domain registration
and hosting fees for this while we’re “upstairs”? Some sort of
endowment, maybe? A “Successor Webmaster”? What about after the time
when the Internet has become obsolete? Do you really have a way to
keep it going forever after you die? If so, please let me know as
I’d be very interested.

I’ve pondered what to do about this “Legacy” situation many times
over the years. Besides all the lapidary, casting and smithing
stuff, there are enough woodworking tools for the average carpenter,
12 (at this time) guitars, several amplifiers, recording equipment
and effects, a firearms collection and a fairly large comic book and
non-sports card collection to deal with. I guess most will go to my
son and nephew, but nobody else is interested in the jewelry making
stuff. Looks like some lucky organization will receive a nice

James in SoFl

I wondered, upon seeing this post from Brian, if it would start a
firestorm of discussion or not.

In reading the responses, I thought I’d offer a resource for those
(in the US) who still haven’t written a will.

It’s a site owned by a lawyer and it’s very easy to use. You’ll be
done very quickly and then you’ll just need to pop out to have it

Usual disclaimer, no connection.

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

    Gerald, any ideas about who is going to pay the domain
registration and hosting fees for this while we're "upstairs"? Some
sort of endowment, 

This is exactly where a guild could be of service, or, our own dear
ganoksin project.

I would be happy to talk to anyone who is looking for a web home. I
could present such an offer to the board of directors of the Chicago
Metal Arts Guild.

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

Here’s my unconventional take on the legacy issue.

Question: What is a chicken?
Answer: An egg’s way of making another egg.

The last chapter of Dawkin’s “The Selfish Gene” argues quite
cogently that we humans reproduce ourselves to preserve our
immortality. However, by the fifth generation our contribution would
only 1/32nd of that new individual.

Thus he argues that immortality or legacy is not in distributing
one’s genes but in distributing ideas. Think of Aristotle, Mozart,
or even the monk, Theophilis.

What I am trying to express, is that it may not be the things we
leave behind but the ideas that we have shared with others. And that
sharing of the “idea” also brings an attitude that often will

Hence Orchid. I am deeply indebted to you all who have expressed so
many of your ideas, even if I disagree with them. You have touched
me. And in turn when I provide demonstrations and lectures to
students, they in turn are touched with your thoughts.



I kind of expected what we’ve seen so far… human beings do not
want to face “unpleasant” facts. If given the opportunity the
majority will shy away.

As some of you know, I’ve been more than a little close to the
reality several times recently… and when you get that close your
entire way of thinking changes.

I would bet that no one who knows me would deny that I am a bit
obsessed! From the minute I wake up - 'till the wee hours of the
night - I am constantly immersed in metalsmithing. (There are some
exceptions - like when I’m doing electrical, plumbing, sheetrock,
or what ever it takes to make a better place to do the
metalsmithing. My wife wishes I’d spend half as much time on the
house maintenance & repairs:)

The breakfast table is covered with magazines and books. I NEVER eat
without reading. The bathroom (perhaps the best private place:) has
more reading material than towels! And I read 'till I fall asleep
in bed. During the day, I am always writing, or at one bench or
another, or out in the tool room making more tools to do the
metalsmithing with!

So far, I am leaning towards appointing a handful of friends to see
to it that all this “stuff” in my personal studio is placed in the
hands of other individuals as “bent” as I am. Perhaps those friends
will be cussing me for doing this to them? I’m wondering what kind
of parameters they’ll find to use as a benchmark test to qualify
recipients? There are people out there who are close to as obsessed
as I am, but those that I’ve run across are mostly pretty well set
up. I’m sure there are those who for lack of funds, bad
circumstances, or some other barrier holding them back - a little
"jump-start" might just push 'em over that last little hump.

The contents of the school will probably end up in Taxco, Mexico -
one of my favorite places on this planet. But even that is not
decided for sure yet.

I’ll try to distill as much as I possibly can from my notebooks in
useable form, booklets at least, books if I’m given the time.
Donating them to some archive somewhere where they’ll just be
another dusty stack in a corner doesn’t appeal to me much. Putting
them online in their current form wouldn’t be of much help to
anyone and involves just too much time in relation to how useful
that would be. I think I’ve decided who’s gonna get the 500 plus
books - someone that I know will go through every single page in
every single one - as I did.

Hasn’t anyone out there DONE SOMETHING to guide those that will be
left behind? Or is everyone just gonna accept that family and
relatives will put most of the stuff in a garage sale or post it to
Ebay? All those years you put into developing your “style(s)” and
collecting the contents of your studios aren’t worth anything?


   Hasn't anyone out there DONE SOMETHING to guide those that will
be left  behind? Or is everyone just gonna accept that family and
relatives will put most  of the stuff in a garage sale or post it
to Ebay? All those years you put  into developing your "style(s)"
and collecting the contents of your  studios aren't worth anything? 

Yes, I have given a lot of thought to this. I am in the process of
photographing my tools (spread out on the table) and identifying
those that are very task specific and their approximate value. Most
people don’t know what some of the tools are for. I will list
materials that I usually have on hand (silver, wire, beads,
gemstones etc) in general terms and again indicated value. All my
files for jewelry (idea, sketches, photographs of my work) plus my
MSDS file are all together as are all my books. All of this is being
done so my children (who will no doubt settle up my “ahem” estate)
will know where everything is and the approximate value. When I had
to shut down my parents house, nothing was listed, pictures of
people were not identified etc. and it was one heck of a job to try
to guess what was of value and what to do with all of it. I vowed
that wouldn’t happen with my kids.

I have told my DIL that she may have all my beading supplies, beads,
wire etc. as she is a beader. The completed jewelry that is of
interest to them should be divied up between my daughter and
daughters-in-law and grand daughters. I think the left over jewelry
should be given to a community art center to be sold for whatever
prices they can get and the money used to promote art in the
community. Since all of my children are into the arts in some form
or other, they will probably divvy up the tools among themselves. I
will advise them that all that is left over, whether it is the
actual silver sheet, the wire, whatever it is, is to go to two
community art schools, that I will designate, for their metals
departments. Likewise with the books - they will go to the local
high schools for their art departments to become a lending library
for the students.

Can’t do much more than that. I don’t have a store front and don’t
do a lot of sales at this point. Jewelry designing and creating has
now (in my retirement) become a passionate hobby - I simply create
because I love to. And it is my fervent desire that when I am no
more, all of the accoutrements I have acquired over the years should
be dispensed to community art centers where they will do the most
good for those students who have little. Perhaps somewhere someone
will have their senses awakened to the world of jewelry fabrication
as a result of this.


Hi gang,

To me it is very simple: If I ever die (big grin), my tools and
other workshop inventory will go to the one of my two my daughters,
who is a silversmith, and who surely will make good use of it.

Niels Lovschal

Dear Brian, it is so nice to share the obsession, that is one of the
beautifull things about Orchid, we get to rat ourselves out to those
who understand! Hell no I haven’t done a thing to prepare for the
untimely death of myself, that would take time away from
metalsmithing. I keep making bad plans for the future and have no
time for reality. My God, if I were to face reality I would probably
get out of the biz RIGHT NOW and get a real job. Nah, I wouldn’t.

Sam Patania, Tucson

Question: What is a chicken?
Answer: An egg's way of making another egg.

Have you seen “What the bleep are we doing here”. One of the
commentaries is about intention. When we do something, there is a
thought, then a physical action. We have consciousness and then our
phyical actions bring something that is an idea into manifistation
through our creativity.

Having come from a thoroughly disfunctional family, and having been
to therapy and trying to find a way to deal with all the anger ,
frustration, and pain of what happened to me, through spiritual work
I realized what was passed through my parents, my grandparents, ect.
was consciousness.

Conciousness has no country, ethicity, race, dogma. What we are
looking for, we are looking with.

When thoughts or ideas are attributed to people in the past, is it
important who said or did what? It might be an indiction of that
person’s recognition of something they were aware of, in touch with,
and possibly they were objective enough to perceive from a different
reality and make something known that is a potential that we all
share. That person might not have really known the inpact of what
they said or did, or the influence on the future they had.

On this forum, we see sometimes, 12 people have 12 ways to do
something. 12 different approaches, and the results are fairly
relational in the outcome.

Seems that consciouness is a potential, and the processes we use
express our consciousness. So it might be not about where we are
going, but about how we are getting there.

Well I am certainly glad that this thread opened up. A few weeks
ago I mentioned to my daughter that It would be a good idea if she
went over some of the things in my studio so that she whould know
what they are used for, their worth etc… She immediately became
concerned that I was hiding some bad health news from her. “Are you
o.k. Mother?” “What did the doctor say when you made your last
visit.??” In short,she got quite upset, and after I assured her I
was in fine health I dropped the subject. Now that this thread is
on Orchid I shall print most of it out to assure her that I am just
being sensible about it, and that I want to save everyone a lot of
concern about what to do with the stuff, and that I expect to be
around for a long time. Thanks to whoever started this discussion.
You have made it a lot easier for me to discuss this with my

I especially like kay’s idea of photographing and labeling all the

thanks to all of you.

Hi ya Richard also been through the 1000 psychic wars and agree that
is why I suggested a living legacy and why I give time, tools, and
food to living artists of all media now.

America’s Only cameo Artist

Dear Kay,

I like your common sense approach to legacy. I think that the
fundamental approach to the problem should be the one of avoiding
the all too common disaster of allowing a collection of tools,
equipment, supplies and books and records to be hauled to the dump
after trying to blow them off at a garage sale. The key to value is
marketing. The stuff needs to be exposed to those wouho would most
benefit by them.

I am inclined to think that one ought to make a big effort to find
an auctioneering firm that has highly reputed and senstive to your
needs and estate. If you have enough “stuff” and can properly
identify and organize it, you would be amazed at how valuable it can
be to those that appreciate what it is. I have seen craft oriented
auctions bring prices that average at or above replacement ! From a
legacy standpoint one might say that this is truly the highest and
best disposition of things inasmuch as they are dispensed to those
who place a high value on them…in other words, they really
appreciate them and will probably put them to good use.The key to
such an auction is proper advertising and promotion…you have to
inform those who would most likely want the goods.

In my own case ( I’m becoming actuarilly improbable) I am attempting
to organize my tons of “stuff” into a form that can best produce
comfort for my wife should I predecease her. Once this has been
accomplished I will make a line of succession for the beneficiaries.
For those of us who can afford it, it might be time to give some
consideration to leaving something behind for Ganoksin…a bit of
money OR, maybe, some jewelry “stuff” that could be auctioned off on
Orchid…now that is a hell of an idea…what better legacy than
that !

Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co.
Los Osos, Ca.