Tuesday, May 3, 2016

My First Time

Welcome to my new blog, Jim Cohen Contemporary Judaic Metalsmith.  Doesn't exactly role off the tongue does it.

I'm a metalsmith specializing in judaica. I came to this point after a long career as an attorney in government service.  In the early nineties I realized I wasn't having any fun as an attorney and wanted to work with my hands.  I started taking classes at the Torpedo Factory, a community arts center in Alexandria, VA.  Those classes,  a couple of sessions at Penland, an apartment studio (shared with my wife who was writing her dissertation), gallery shows, some ACC shows led me to retire from the law and enter a MFA program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

At Madison I was very fortunate to study with two icons of the art metal community; Fred Fenster and Eleanor Moty.  I owe what I am and where I am to Fred and eleanor as well as the other instructors I've had,  my classmates, and others who ovr th past twenty years have looked at and critqued my work.  I hope my work honors them.

Here are some Jim Cohen, metalsmith, firsts.
-Making tubing at the Torpedo Factory, an early project, I was amazed.  I keep a piece of that tubing in my inventory to this day.
-My first craft show was ACC Atlanta in the mid nineties.  My memory of that show is smiling for three consecutive days and not selling a thing.  I didn't think the part of smiling for three days in those circumstances was possible.
-My first class at Madison.  It was like going from the low minors to the major leagues with nothing in between.  Quickly I was humbled, and humbled again.  It took me three tries to "successfully" complete the first project.
-My first big sale was a pewter coffee service.  The buyer didn't think it would pour well and she would buy it if it did.  I took the pot to the mens room, filled it up and it poured like a champ.  I took her check, she took her coffer service.
-Myfirst big jewelry sale.  At the Palm Beach show a woman saw a perfume bottle necklace (sterling/14KY) in the first 15 minutes of the show.  She liked it but wanted to look around.  Forty Fiveminutes she came back and we traded necklace and check.  I was excited, what a way to start a show.  My only sale of the weekend.  Did make a coupke of great trades though.

In the future I look forward to sharing my thoughts on judaica, my process, examples of other judaic metalsmiths whose work I admire.  Let me know your thoughts.

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