The story behind Jose’ Lins winning the Saul Bell Emerging Artist Award has a lot to do with Seattle Metals Guild’s, Passing the Torch, a statewide, high school jewelry exhibit program. In the spring of 2012 I was working with a couple of students in the Jewelry Manufacturing Arts class, at Hazen High School, to enter Passing the Torch. Junior class student, Jose’ Lins, had made a roll-printed and hinged tea defuser in response to the box project in class.
TeaNut tea defuser
I encouraged him to enter it in PTT where he took 3rd place in the hollowware division receiving at tool box with pliers and a $50. gift certificate from Rio Grande.
With this first tasted of recognition for his good craftsmanship and pleasing aesthetic choices, Jose’ was hooked. He used the prize money to buy silver wire and began to make silver versions of an advanced introduction to filigree project I had taught him. Over the summer with the tools he had won Jose’ continued to practice his metalsmithing.
In the fall with the resumption of classes he presented me with a handful of elegant filigree beads with the thought of taking 1st place in PTT. At that time I encouraged him to think on a national scale and showed him the Saul Bell Emerging Artist competition brochure. From that moment on Jose’ continued to work diligently exploring variations on the techniques he had learned. He completed a graduated filigree bead necklace and created a computer illustration of the final piece with a filigree pendant, which he entered in the Saul Bell Emerging Artist Competition.
Saul Bell Emerging Artist Award winner
In January of 2013 we were informed that Jose’ necklace was a finalist in the Saul Bell competition. So, in addition to regular class work, he completed the filigree pendant with a bezel set, teardrop, cabochon, chalcedony for the Saul Bell competition and he made a roll-printed, sterling, pendant with a spinning design for the 2013 PTT movement theme category.
2013 PTT Entry
The 2013 PTT competition was the strongest I have seen in many years with over 16 high schools across the state making entries. The exhibit was held at the Washington State Convention Center receiving over 1000 visitors daily. While Jose’ spinning pendant did not receive a prize at the 2013 PTT, we were consoled with the knowledge of his taking 1st place in the national Saul Bell competition.
On June 1st, 2013 Jose’, his father, and I attended – with show passes provided by Rio Grande – the Jewelers Circular Keystone (JCK) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada for the awards banquette. The JCK show is the largest jewelry trade show in the world and totally wow-ed Jose’ and his father. As we walked the show floor many jewelry professionals who I knew from my days as the fine jewelry designer for Nordstrom came forward to say hello. I have never had such great pride and joy introducing my award winning student to so many people who could help foster his future career.
Jose’ Lins (holding the award trophy) and his Father Jose’ senior
The Awards banquette was a semi-formal, dinner, event at Mandalay Bay Convention Center with many top designers from the jewelry industry present to celebrate the winners. The jewelry pieces were displayed in wonderfully lit display cases while a video showcasing the winners answering key questions was displayed on large flat screens around the packed dinning room. Of all the design awards I have won myself for my own jewelry I must say I never felt so excited or so proud during an awards ceremony as I did during this one.
This last weekend I picked up the PTT entries as the show has come down. I have returned the jewelry items to their makers as some of them are graduating. That is the great challenge with PTT, just as the students get accomplished enough to begin making really good work – they are gone. Jose’ Lins has chosen to pursue a career in the jewelry field and I am working to find him scholarships. I am so glad that this story has such a happy ending!
Other happy news: I will be teaching at Danaca Designs Studio this summer!!! This class will cover the basic techniques that Jose’ used to create his PTT award winning TeaNut tea defuser.
So, if you want to learn the techniques it takes to be an award winning jewelry maker from an award winning jewelry maker…sign-up for my class at Danaca!