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The 6th Orchid Dinner

Dear All, Thank you so much for making the Tucson gem show dinner a
smashing success. We had 128 people attend ! Thank you to Alan
Revere for the presentation and Spectrum award I also
want to list and thank all the companies who helped put on the
dinner and make sure Orchidians patronize those businesses during
the year and recognize that they helped Orchid gather together in
person. They also , by donating to the dinner, directly donated to
Hanuman’s Orchid. By lowering the per plate charge we were able to
donate the difference between the plate charge and actual charge. I
will post the list in the next few days and continue to post it
through out the year. Next year will be bigger and better. While I
had much work to organize this dinner I really feel got back more
than I gave as I feel Orchid gives me more than I can give it.
Sam Patania, Tucson

Dear Dr. Aspler and Orchidians, Last night’s dinner was a great
success attended by some of the finest and most generous peoples one
can be honored to know.

Alan Revere read the message from our dear and devoted Hanuman, it
was enthusiastically received with both a rousing hand and a display
of checkbooks. Charles Lewton Brain also added his positive
comments, equally well received.

I would estimate attendance around 150. When i stopped at Patania’s
to leave my check, I was then 101 paid, with some 40 more expected.
The ambiance was perfect, once again squeals of delight with
recognition of friends made in years past as well as with new faces.

The Silent Auction went very well and there were many wonderful
items offered. Winning bids brought out more squeals. I would say
the sheer pleasure and enjoyment rivaled those I knew when I took my
grandchildren to Chuck E Cheese for their birthday party’s, for sure
the noise level of delight was equal. Each table had some sort of
sharing activity going on, at ours Loren Damewood was demonstrating
his marvelous knots with string he just happened to have with him.

A point was made of how sharing Orchid is with many formerly secret
methods being willingly offered. That was so very obvious last night
and every contributor to this list whether present last night or not
must have had constant ringing in their ears. So appreciated each
and every one of you are, so take a bow, pat yourself on the back
and continue to participate knowing you are deeply thanked.

To Sam Patania, both Pat’s, Alan, Charles, Dave Arens, all involved
last night in making this a night to be remembered, thank you very
much. To Hanuman, know you are loved, appreciated, and held in the
greatest esteem, may you have a long happy and healthy life, Teresa

It was a lovely dinner with lots of old friends and meeting new
ones. I thank Sam for all his work to put together a delightful
dinner. When I arrived home, Hanunam’s wonderful words were waiting
for me. What warm and wonderful night…

Wish you all could have been there…

Oops, I forgot a very important thing, our wonderful friend from Sri
Lanka, Ahmed Shareek was unable to attend this year due to some
unfortunate planning on his part. He and his wife just welcomed
another child, the little Orchidian was due to arrive close to the
time of the Orchid Dinner, so Ahmed dutiful loving husband remained
home for the blessed event.

Ahmed was well represented as he had sent this years Orchid Badge
ahead and they were distributed and happily received and worn by all

Ahmed I personally missed your smiling face and wonderful sense of
humor, thank you so very much for my 2002 memento. See you next
year. Teresa

While I had much work to organize this dinner I really feel got
back more than I gave as I feel Orchid gives me more than I can
give it. Sam Patania, Tucson 

Dear Sam and Pat,

It great to meet and talk to both of you. I loved being with fellow
jewelers and being able to talk the same language. It was a
wonderful evening, and I thank you both for making it possible.
Thank you, thank you!

Hope to see you again next year.

Carolyn Sealfon

. . . and winning one of the rolling mills to boot–Wow!

Dear All,

Wow what an amazing night!

Thank you to the group that worked so hard to get things organized.

Dr. Aspler, I am sorry that you were not there as I would have liked
to have met the person behind the elequent words that Alan Revere

I would really love a copy of you letter and I feel that those not
at the dinner should hear it.

It is difficult to enter a room of strangers. But the warmth of the
people at the dinner was unbelieveable. This also made the gem show
so much fun becasue I kept on running into people at the show that I
met at the dinner.

Before the dinner, I really did not understand the call for
donations to run this site. Charles Lewton-Brain told me that Dr.
Aspler pays the server fees himself, and does all the work, and
donates all his time and money. The monthly fee is $2,000./ $24,000

Where do we send our donations to?

Think your donations as buying a book of advise, or an on-call
"Help" service - how about sending $24.00, which is only $2.00 a

Just think ahead about the help you might need on turning the the
pieces of raw goods bought at the show into beautiful pieces of
sellable jewelry.

Todah rabah, thank you,

Jerell Skirboll


Dr. Aspler’s comments, along with Theresa Masters’ description of
the atmosphere at the Orchid dinner in Tucson, have gotten me to
thinking. What is it that makes the folks on Orchid care so much
about each other, and be so generous with their time and expertise,
especially in light of the fact that we are in a traditionally
secretive profession?

It is easy to say that that’s just the best side of human nature,
which is true, but I really think something very special is going on
here. Of course, there is the ongoing marvel of world-wide, instant
communication. Someone wants to cast glass in place. Someone else is
kind enough to disabuse the asker–glass can’t take the temps and
the heat shock. OK, yeah, that sounds pretty settled. Then here
comes someone, maybe on the other side of the world, who does it all
the time, who shares the results of who-knows-how-many hours,
months, years of experimentation, to say it can be done, with these
limitations, and these hints. Presumably, since everybody would
think it couldn’t be done, here’s someone with a unique skill, and
so, a leg up on competition, but willing to give someone else a
chunk of that edge!

I am constantly touched and moved by this kind of openness, and by
the effort people go to to protect each other from making mistakes
that someone else has already made.

I would really like to hear what others think is the catalyst for
this forum’s success. I’ve checked out a small handful of other
exchanges, and I guess we’re not unique, but I’m betting we’re not
the norm, either. Speculate, Spock!


Dear Hanuman

Thank you for your wise and wonderful words, reconnecting us with
often forgotten past values, acknowledging the new and the values of
modern technology.

Thanks to your site, I do not feel alone in my work, the connection
is there for me, I only have to ask to receive and learn.

Thank you for your passion and willingness to give to all those who
connect with Ganoksin.


Noel, One point brought out at the wonderful dinner is the open
sharing without the secrecy we once knew. There have always been
those who either tried a bit harder, or never knew something was
thought to be impossible. We just never knew one another.

What has happened here is over the years the way we have expressed
ourselves online has given others the confidence to speak out. In
this way many new ways to do old things have come out and in far
easier ways than previously believed.

The human mind can be amazing especially when another’s words
immediately trigger a path open because of the lack of tunnel vision
from knowledge. I find this a bit difficult to properly express, but
I have seen it within myself and know it to be valid for others too.

We are the light for one another and that is how, and why we are as
communicative and helpful as seen here over and over. Hanuman is our
catalyst, he has given us the path to sharing and enlightenment, we
are the follow through. Teresa

Orchidians All, I’m jealous of those of you who had the opportunity
to get together in Tucson. From your various descriptions it sounds
like everyone had a great time meeting each other. It would be nice
if, perhaps, we could have regional get togethers occasionally. I
know that many of us live all over the globe and that this would be a
limited thing but, in this respect, something is better than nothing.
I also remember someone trying to organize a meeting in Connecticut
last year with little success. I would be willing to try to organize
a meeting of Orchidians to be held somewhere in the New York metro
area later this year. Anyone interested please contact me.

Joel Schwalb

I think this is a great observation and question

    What is it that makes the folks on Orchid care so much about
each other, and be so generous with their time and expertise,
especially in light of the fact that we are in a traditionally
secretive profession? 

I found the praise to Hanuman almost cultish at the dinner but , you
know what THIS IS REALLY SPECIAL and Hanuman is the reason. All
organizations are top down to the largest degree and Orchid is no
exception. The technology which allows Orchid to exist is changing
the world and Orchid seems to really be on the cutting edge. This
profession may have been traditionally secretive but, also very
progressive. Orchid is at the right place at the right time and
Hanuman is the captain. How often do we see that in our lives? I
think very seldom Sam Patania, Tucson

Hi Noel,

As I wrote to someone recently who was inquiring about Orchid, I
believe it to be the embodiment of the vision of what an “online
community” can be. I believe Orchid is unique in nature. I have
been on several other forums pertaining to interests relating to
metals or lapidary, and Orchid is the only community in which I still
participate. It is exactly the supportive, sharing and encouraging
environment you describe that makes Orchid something special. On
other forums, it seems there is often someone waiting in the wings
just to flame some unsuspecting novice, or trying to pick an
argument. On Orchid I find the environment to be, dare I say it,
loving? At least nurturing. Whether an individual is a seasoned
master jeweler or a true beginner, everyone is treated with respect
and courtesy.

I don’t think enough credit can be given to Hanuman for this
achievement. Like a proud parent, he would probably say that we, as a
community have achieved this, but we all know children are often a
reflection of the care and attention they receive during their
formative years. I think we’ll look back on this period and
eventually recognize what a remarkable evolutionary step this has
been for the growth and development of the individual jeweler,
artists, lapidary, etc., at all levels. The greatest resource of
this community is the community itself!

I consider myself privileged and honored to be a humble member of
this remarkable community.

All the best,


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

One more word about the dinner last Friday nite in Tucson. The event
was lots of fun. Sam and his team worked out all the bumps for a
group twice as large as ever before, plus an auction, plus a
presentation, good food, great music for those who stayed…well

It was good to see so many other Orchidians. I was honored to
deliver Hanuman’s statement and then show slides of this year’s AGTA
Spectrum winners and explain a little about the judging, along with
some tips for those contemplating next year’s competition.

It was good to see so many old friends, meet new ones and all in
all, share the Orchid spirit with those who attended. I hope to see
you all next year.


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

I suspect that our attitude of sharing has happened because many of
us come out of college art programs and/or workshops and did not
"apprentice." Educators like to share and see the lightbulbs come on
and you know how it is, one idea leads to another and POW! we’ve
got something NEW. I also think that many of us are scattered and
really like this oppertunity to talk to others with the same

Marilyn Smith

To Sam and the Pats, MANY thanks for all your efforts in organizing
the dinner and auction/drawing. I’ve just returned from Tucson. The
shows were wonderful, but the best was the Orchid Dinner! I saw
friends from last year and met others known only from their postings
or responses. I was not lucky enough to have won one of the rolling
mills kindly donated by Kenneth Singh, but it was a pleasure to meet
him in person. Alan’s presentation was really cool and I think
there will be some Orchidians competing in the future. Our table
had lots of sharing going on and admiring of wonderful creations.
The food was good too! Anyway, I was so glad to be part of the
Orchid Dinner and again thanks to Sam and the Pats… not to forget
Hanuman. After all he keeps this going, bless his heart! Judy in
Kansas where the weather isn’t quite as lovely as Tucson, but
unusually warm for Feb.

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-2936

I have surfaced, just now, still overwhelmed by the "Tucson"
experience.  What a wonderfully delightful group of smiling faces
that prevailed in the Orchidian family at our annual dinner.  Each
year, this is more like a home coming to a huge extended family
that all have one thing in common.  We all have a love of the
bench, tools, stones and an eagerness to share the 
Have any of you seen the movie "Pay it Forward"?  A goodwill
gesture is paid forward, like paying a road toll for the person
behind you.  Orchid is like this. Information is paid forward and
distributed freely. 

Thank you Sam and your crew of warm and tireless helpers. Thank you
Alan for the many tips and insights you have extended to Orchid.
Thank you Charles Lewton Brain for your devoted energy and smiles.

Thank you Hunamen for starting the Orchid engine.

And thank you all Orchidians. You have made my art, my business and
my life a place of sharing and giving a joy.

-karen christians
10 Walnut St.
Woburn, MA 01801
Fax: 781/937-3955
Accredited Jewelry Instruction

Hey, wait a minute,

    I suspect that our attitude of sharing has happened because
many of us come out of college art programs and/or workshops and
did not "apprentice." 

I have a 90% apprentice background and think I liked to share
because I was always astounded to find someone interested in the
craft as much as I was.Then I entered academia and discovered you
could get a degree in what I had been doing for years and loved. Then
I had to quit the art department because I (foolishly) stopped
drinking for while. I thought the politics and self preservation of
academia smothering. Sam Patania, Tucson

Just got back from Tucson and it was the best trip for me (15 years
in a row). I met a lot of Orchidians and must say I am honored to be
among them. For all those I did not meet like, the Girl from Bahrain,
John from from New Zealand, Suzzane from Florida, Marco from CA. I
did mention about you when I spoke. It was a pleasure to meet Judy
from Kansas, Trish from CA and god so many more. Special thanks to
Dave Arens, Sam, Pat Kula, Pat Glower. When you get together then
you realise that Orchid is all about people, Sharing knowledge &

Kenneth Singh. 46 Jewelry Supply,