As I watch the summer fly by in oh-so-cool Maine, (temperature cool, that is), I've had two exciting jewelry "encounters". The first was a trip to Bucksport, Maine, where we supposedly were attending the town fair.
The REAL reason, as far as I was concerned, was to find the studio of BILL FRETZ, silversmith extraordinaire and designer of the Cadillac line of jeweler's hammers and tools. Designed by Mr. Fretz and manufactured by his son Jordan, in Vietnam, the hammers are a dream of balance, precision and beautiful wood. Mr. Fretz proudly showed my husband and me photos of his just completed factory, bright, modern and busy.
When I am creating a piece of jewelry that takes hours to make, I want to use the best tools. It makes me feel good, and the specialness of the tools is reflected in the specialness of the jewelry, I feel. Here are my two new Fretz hammers and his catalog which makes me lust for adding more to my collection.
My second encounter was of a different sort, because I found an antiques dealer in Maine who specializes in Bakelite pieces. Bakelite was accidentally discovered in 1907 and is the first synthetic plastic. It was used extensively in the 1920s-1940s in buttons, jewelry and even the dash boards of Mercedes Benz cars! It has since become relatively rare and much sought-after.
My dealer was only willing to part with some of her pieces because her collection had grown so large over the years. I have wanted to work with Bakelite for a very long time and this opportunity was not to be missed!
This photo shows my new pieces, mostly buckles, one button and a few caramel "beads" which I think will make good earrings. The buckles will become wonderful focal beads/closures for necklaces or bracelets. I have several designs in mind already. These are rare pieces of Bakelite...see if you find any like them on eBay! I hope to have them incorporated into designs in time for our big Great Falls Studios fall open studio tour on October 20-21, 2012. More about that later!