This week we are featuring Daniel and Angelica from Sentimentals Keepsakes. They create intricate, yet sleek pieces that can be customized to your every whim. Check out their story and wonderful jewelry!
“I remember as a child…. well, even into my teenage years my favorite books and movies always seemed to center around medieval times. Stories of wizards, witchcraft, dragons, and magic always did intrigue me the most. Anything with words like “legend” or “myth” always seemed to grab my attention. But also in those stories… you had the big burly men in the background that didn’t get any attention. You know, the ones with faces and clothes so black from soot that their fiery eyes was the only evidence that they even existed at all. Well, that, and the loud clanging of that hammer coming down on the anvil. With fire… with sweat…. with blood…. but most importantly…. with soul would they hammer and chisel and shape. They would take the most precious ores from our earth and handle them with a time aged mastery. These metal workers…. these blacksmiths, were the artists that grew from the earth. They were as hard…. and soft as the ores that they manipulated in to instruments of life, love, and death. These men were the ones in the stories that fascinated me the most.
So, here we are 30 years later. And, alas, I am now on a path to become one of those big burly men. Facial hair…. check. Sooty face and clothes….. getting there. My own forge….*goal*. Everyone has to have something to work towards.
For the last 15 years I have lived my occupational life as a machinist. So I have learned an awful lot about metals. Got myself a college edu macation and a bunch of little pieces of paper framed and hanging on my wall. Learned how to weld metal too. And braze and solder and grind and sand and polish and blah blah blah…..blah … blah. Mostly did high tech stuff making things for the government and the military. Ya believe it or not… that scruffy looking dude in that picture knows how to program computer controlled machines to cut metals in every different direction you can imagine. Sounds pretty cool does it not? Well, yes…….. but no. Somewhere, along this path I have taken, I lost something. Some call it “caught up in the rat race.” Maybe even “working for the man.” Don’t get me wrong I do like my job as a machinist. Using high tech machinery to make very elaborate, precision parts is a trade not to be ashamed of. But…. and there is a but. I woke up one morning and realized that my work had lost its soul. What do I mean by this. Your work “lost its soul” you may be asking yourself. But your work is just cold lifeless metal objects. Yes, you are right…. but you are also wrong. So very wrong.
Day in and day out over the last 15 years I have taken those metal pieces out of the computerized machine. Put their cold, lifeless bodies in a box and shipped them on their way. But one day, that all changed. Was standing over the manual lathe that we have at work. My job I was working on needed a little brass bushing. So I was making one up on the old manual lathe we have parked over in the dark, dirty corner of the shop. I turned it out and cut it off. It fell down onto the bed of the lathe. Reaching down and picking it up was the start of that life changing moment. I scooped it up in my hand. It was still warm from the friction created by the metal to metal contact of the tools that I used to cut and shape it. My little brass bushing, with that heat, had went from a cold lifeless little piece of metal to warm, magical little extension of my craft. Why did my little bushing look so much like a ring than a part for the job I was working on? Because it wasn’t the part that it really wanted to be. I slipped it over my finger and wouldn’t you know it…. a perfect fit. Took it over to the bench grinder and buffed it until it glowed. Somehow…. someway…. I had just put a little bit of magic…. a little bit of soul… into that beautiful piece of metal.
Frantically I searched online resources over the next two weeks. I had to buy myself a small manual lathe to put in my house. Just HAD to. Then, just as quickly as my ring making revelation came to me, I found the perfect lathe for me. Went that weekend to look at it. My leather belt driven, made in 1933 Southbend, sweetheart (that’s what I named her… sweetheart) lathe was on its way back to my house. I cleaned her. I oiled her. I talked to her. Loved her. And in return she has helped me… no, become a part of me. We have worked together to make the things you see on these pages. She helps me out with the deliverance of soul. The crafting of magic into your special metal piece.
Maybe one of these days I can do this full time and leave the cold metal pieces behind. Maybe one of these days I can have that metal forge and my picture on here will show a soot covered man with fire in his eyes. Maybe one of these days you will drive by my house and you will hear that hammering. No wait, stop by. We can talk about how everything can have a soul if you believe in it.”