Featured Member

Each month a new Featured Member is chosen from the completed member profiles on our website. Their interview and work is highlighted on our blog and social media. Visit our archive of past Featured Members.

October 2018

 

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Gregg Hessel

Website: hesselstudios.com

Instagram: Hesselstudios

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was raised in a creatively driven family by an artist/craftsmen father who taught furniture making, and a collector mother who was a crafts historian and collector of 19th century handmade American crafts.  I was immersed in a world of craft and the art of making from an early age.  It was quite a childhood.

I have studied, over the years, many forms of art and worked professionally in several crafts from metal sculpture to jewelry. I found my true passion in coppersmithing and the forms that I could make with copper.  Because there are few coppersmiths today, I am mostly self-taught. The last time the art of copper as a medium was popular was in the early 1900’s during the Arts and Crafts period. This movement was especially strong here in the San Francisco Bay area and I am part of this continuum, keeping coppersmthing, as an art form alive in California.  I am presently working with the Dirk Van Erp Foundation and Museum in Alameda to bring knowledge of this craft back to the present. Forming copper with a hammer is something that every craftsman should experience at least once in their life.

What is your favorite tool and why?

I love hammers, hammers of all kinds. Small hammers large hammers it doesn’t seem to matter, hammers are the tool that I love the most.

Which materials do you create with most and what is your attraction to using them?

Sterling silver. Standard millstock – meaning the ‘normal’ shapes we buy like round, square, half-round wire and various sheet thicknesses.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

My inspiration comes from nature primarily mixed with a little bit of the arts and crafts period.

How long have you been working in metals and what brought you into this field?

I’ve been working in Copper for about 28 years now. What brought me to it was the fact that when I was in Rhode Island I found these beautiful hundred-year-old hand powered machines that I had no idea what they did, so I bought them, bunches of them, then brought them back to California where they taught me how to form metal and I found copper to be the metal that I enjoyed the most.

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in metals?

My advice to anybody starting out in metal would be to marry someone who’s willing to support you. this is a joke but not untrue. My real advice would be to accept the fact that hard work is going to be a part of your future.