Interview with Michael Stoffel in Three Parts - II

Meet Michael Stoffel at The Gallery at Designer Gold on:
Saturday, December 12th from 2 to 5pm at Designer Gold.
The superior craftsmanship and attention to detail in Michael's work is best seen in person. We hope you can join us on Saturday!

Part 2 --Techniques

What is your favorite technique? What have you found most challenging?

I have enjoyed chasing and repoussé, which uses metal punches to shape a sheet of metal set in pitch. It is beautiful work, but time consuming. Another favorite technique is granulation, which is also labor intensive. I do those things because I love doing them. Part of jewelry making is idealistic.

Granulated shank of Sapphire Ring in 18 karat yellow gold.

Granulated shank of Sapphire Ring in 18 karat yellow gold.

 

What do you find so appealing about granulation?

Each of these granules is applied by hand and fused onto the piece of jewelry with a torch.

Each of these granules is applied by hand and fused onto the piece of jewelry with a torch.

Granulation is an ancient art form, and I use it in my work to reference ancient cultures and people. The actual process of applying the granules to metal is more like painting than traditional metal work. I use a particular solution that helps to bind the individual granules to each other and also the surface metal when heated to just below melting temperature. Granulation is technical work and that is part of the reason I find it so appealing.

I like to try out things and see where it leads me. Not every experiment goes right, and there is always the chance that you ruin stuff. Wasting materials is not so bad because the materials can be melted down. A lot of time is lost when things go wrong, because the preparation is so intense.

What inspires you? 
I sometimes go to gem shows in either Denver or Tuscon. Much of my inspiration comes from the materials themselves, especially gemstones.

I find many others jewelers inspiring, in particular the work of Jean Paul Miller's is really cool. He was an American professor who taught goldsmithing and also created highly detailed jewelry depicting bugs and other creatures. I also keep up to date with ongoing archaeological finds, because quite often it is jewelry that is dug up.

To be continued next week...