Jamie Santellano

What Ireland Means To Me – Silversmithing In Ireland

The beginning of a life long journey

Throughout the years, one might say I’m completely obsessed with Ireland. After all, I’ve been there many times. It just so happens that Ireland is where my journey in jewelry and traveling began. Little did I know at the time how much it would change my life. Traveling is something I highly believe in, and feel that everyone should consider doing at some point in their life.

Traveling to Ireland feeds the soul with Inspiration

Seeing new sights feeds the soul with wonder and inspiration, and opens the mind to new adventures. In some cases it reminds us how good our lives truly are. In any

Glenmalure, Ireland
Glenmalure in the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland.

case, travel changes a person, and teaches them more about themselves. Similarly, traveling to Ireland gave me more than the inspiration I’d sought out. In fact, there was a point in my life that I truly wanted to pack up and move there. I was in love with the country, and would’ve done (almost) anything to get there.

My Search Began

My journey began in early Spring 2005. At the time, I was taking classes at the local college and wanted to fine tune my skills. I had been at home searching the internet for classes in metal art. With very little experience in computers, I knew enough to get online and do a basic search. During my search, I found a blog post about someone who had taken a class in silversmithing, located in South East Ireland. As I read the post, I came across a link to the name Brian Clarke. I was amazed at what I found when I got to his website. I got so excited seeing all the pictures of his students work! All I could think of was I was going, and after a year of planning I flew to Ireland in Spring 2006.

The Old School House 

Upon my arrival, I met Brian and was introduced to JPR (I’ll use his initials for his privacy). He was another student in the workshop who was from the Los Angeles area. When we got to The Old School House we were so excited! I remember walking through the door and smelling the odor of metal, and the burned scents left by the torch lingering in the air. At that moment I knew I was home. The workshop was two weeks long and super intense. We each made 3 bowls out of copper sheet, and I made a silver trinket box. Also, I had some time to get some pointers on making masks. I love the sculptural aspects in metal art, and felt I had to ask as many questions as I could before we returned home.

High-end Quality Hand Craftsmanship

My experience at the workshop was refreshing and inspiring. Silversmithing changed the way I approached new projects and gave me the confidence to take on more challenging concepts. Brian teaches high-end quality hand craftsmanship in his workshops. Many

Brian raising a bowl in Ireland
Brian demonstrating how to raise a bowl.

times over the years I’ve been asked, “Why Ireland?” and all I can say is because that’s where the teacher is. Then they ask, “isn’t there someone in the states that can teach you?” I’m sure there is, however Brian is exceptional at what he does, and it’s the whole experience. Traveling to another country, seeing beautiful lush hills, meeting people at the local Pubs, having conversation with those that enjoy the kind of work we do, and also visiting the ones we’ve grown to love and think of as family just makes for the whole experience. It’s precious and it’s life!

Learn How To Create By Hand

Since then, I’ve traveled from Los Angeles to Ireland many times to take Brian’s silversmithing workshops. Each time I’m always amazed at how much my skills improve.  I remember a conversation I had with Brian as he was showing me how to make jumprings

Jamie Santellano in Ireland
My projects from a two week workshop in silversmithing in Ireland.

for a chain I was creating. Brian said at that moment, “It’s better to learn how to do things by hand than by machine. Machines are good, but when the machine breaks if you know how to work by hand you won’t be out of the job.” I didn’t take his wisdom lightly and always try to remind myself of what he said. Nothing could be truer when it comes to handmade craftsmanship, and is something I value in the designs I create.

In search of the best in Old World Craftsmanship, traveling abroad, and creating high quality jewelry is what Ireland means to me and is why I travel the distance for you.

-Jamie xo

Today!

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