They have been married 45 years. Don was an engineer and Louise was a teacher – They are both metalsmiths and Kingfisher Designs is their “retirement business”. They are pretty much failing retirement altogether.
They are from Texas, but have moved 43 times since they married in 1968. They traveled to jobs all over the country.
They lived on a boat they totally refitted themselves for 12 years in Gloucester, MA. They traveled to their current home in Mississippi in their boat, Caper. They went down Long Island sound, up the Hudson River, through the Erie Canal into the Great Lakes (Lake Ontario, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan then down the Mississippi to the Tennessee and the Tenn-Tom Waterway on to New Orleans.
They bought in Aberdeen, MS on the way through. Don and Louise hand built their home themselves. It is a tiny house with the river on one side and the woods on the other. Louise always wanted to give her children a sense of wonder about this fabulous world. She was spelling it "w o n d e r". As you will see, they evidently spell it as wander.
Their daughter Amy is now an Australian citizen and has lived there for 10 years. Flynn (nearly 3) is her little boy . She is an ER nurse in pediatrics.
John is their son and Anna is his wife. They have two little boys, Arlo and Koa. They live in Portugal. Anna is a full time mom and John works for NOAA as an engineer.
Metalsmiths Don & Louise Coulson use ancient techniques to create holloware, flatware and jewelry in pewter, bronze, copper, silver and gold.
As a former teacher, Louise Coulson contributes a strong sense of design, color and form to the team and Don, an engineer, uses his left-brain perspective to “make things work”. Together, they form the creative whole that has become Kingfisher Designs.
Their work has received awards in numerous juried shows and recognition in exhibits, magazines and newspaper articles. As members of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi, they were chosen along with 39 other master craftsmen to represent in the Guild in the 40th Anniversary book, i am a craftsman: 40 at 40.
Their functional and ornamental metal work develop through their work with hammers, fire and imagination. They are known for the organic shapes of their work and colors developed through the use of flame, fluid or fumes. Don is flame paints with the tip of torch while Louise experiments with fluids and fumes to create color. Their signature enamel colorway, "Eruption" was created through accident and experimentation. It takes many trips into the kiln to get "Eruption" to be exactly right.
Don and Louise find that working with metal is an exercise in evolution. The more they ask of it, the more it seems to respond with a fluidity that is not apparent at the outset. Some pieces spring spontaneously from the hammer or torch, while others are revealed through modeling, sketching or experimentation.
As an engineer, Don brings attention to detail and precision in craftsmanship to everything he does. His cabled, braided and textured designs provide just the right accent for a well crafted traditional ladle or a slotted spoon with the detail of a leaf. They are developed through painstaking planning, experimentation and research. His well-thought-out pieces reflect authenticity and tradition influenced by his own exciting “twist” and Old World craftsmanship. He deserves the title Master Craftsman.
Louise’s background in arts and education aside, she definitely has both feet firmly planted in mid-air. She designs "outside the box" with a fanciful constant questioning of the materials and their possibilities both accidental and by design. Her work is easily recognized for its intricacy and delicate marriage of materials, creativity and craftsmanship.
Don and Louise approach the work from a distinctly different viewpoint, but working closely together, they design and create your special work using their combination of natural skills and learned expertise.
While each piece is rooted in time-honored methods, the natural beauty of the materials and elements is an expression of the excitement of a new idea, design or technique. They see each piece as a journey and every trip into the studio as an adventure. They invite you along on their journey.