New Goldsmith Collaborative offers jewelry and, soon, classes
Some unique educational opportunities are coming soon from The Goldsmith Collaborative, a new jewelry studio/gallery in St. Elmo. Lead jeweler and owner Ben Sault will be offering classes and workshops dedicated to this ancient art form.
The Pulse: Who are some of your influences?
Ben Sault: SEVEN might have been the first artist to have a major impact in the way I viewed the world. In the early ’90s, I was breakdancing and writing graffiti. When I saw SEVEN, AWR and Dave Kinsey down in the 40 Yard in Atlanta, I realized that my environment could be channeled into a beautiful expression.
Doh-Ho-Suh, Zaha Hadid, Peter Gric and Peeta FX came to me at separate times in my life, but showed me the elegance of structure for its own sake; the curve of a surface will dictate the composition.
Louis-François Cartier, Ersy Schwarts, Dalan Hargrave, Ser OFA, Kent Raible and JAR illuminated the craft I’d chosen. They are masters of my field. I am constantly inspired by their work.
Dewa Danu Saputra, Franz Mucha, Aaron Horkey and Luca Barcellona are the world’s foremost experts on the art of line work, in my opinion. Whether it be engraving or calligraphy, these artists have made an indelible impression on the way I deal with the basic idea of medium to surface and handling a single line.
Most recently, Dan Chambers has been a wealth of knowledge in my field. I’m constantly amazed at how much I have to learn. I’m blessed to have him working beside me.
TP: How did you get your start making jewelry?
BS: My grandfather was a welder, so I found a torch in my hand at an age that would be frowned upon nowadays. I enrolled in college as a 28-year-old freshman. I loved working metal. Progressively, as I honed my skills, the size of my work shrank in proportion to the detail of the finished product. I followed suit and began working in commodities.
TP: What materials and processes do you use?
BS: The metals I find myself using tend to be silver, gold and platinum. Finding ethically sourced stones has become a priority for me. I want to know where my rocks are coming from.
TP: What is beauty?
BS: Beauty is inherently subjective. To quote Roger Scruton, “Beauty can be consoling, disturbing, sacred, profane; it can be exhilarating, appealing, inspiring, chilling. It can affect us in an unlimited variety of ways. Yet it is never viewed with indifference: beauty demands to be noticed; it speaks to us directly like the voice of an intimate friend. If there are people who are indifferent to beauty, then it is surely because they do not perceive it.”
In my personal experience and work, I find beauty from the natural world. Seeing patterns and designs echoed from life creates my aesthetic.
TP: Can you tell us about the classes you’re offering?
BS: We will be offering three different tiers of classes.
Beginning in October, we will be offering our introductory workshop. This allows an individual to familiarize him or herself with the composition and design of a piece. We will focus on cold connections and beading.
In November, we will begin a month-long intensive course for a very limited number of individuals.This program will be a guide to the “Fundamentals of Metalsmithing.” We will discover the fundamental techniques of working with copper, brass, and sterling silver as an introduction to jewelry fabrication. Techniques covered include sawing, filing, surface finishing, soldering, cold connections, scoring and bending.
At the first of the year, we will be looking for three individuals interested in acquiring the skills necessary to become bench jewelers. This will be an intensive six-month course guiding the individual through all of the basic facets of the industry. At the end of the program, the apprentice will be a viable candidate for a bench jeweler position.
TP: Any observations about Chattanooga’s art scene?
BS: After leaving for two decades and coming home, I’m amazed at the strides this city has taken to foster the arts. There are new avenues for emerging artists to get their work out to the public and be seen. I’m excited to add to the growth by building an environment that facilitates an education in a creative field.
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For more info on classes and workshops, visit goldcolab.com