Q: Have you always been metal smiths?
A: Not by a long shot. Don (AKA Mr. Left brain) was an engineer and managed large-scale construction projects. He is a Master Craftsman and frequently comes up with the most amazing detail that just pushes a piece right over the top. Louise (AKA Mrs. Right Brain has been a teacher, writer, web developer, canvas worker and packer. She has a stack full of ideas, sketches and plans.
Q: Where do you live?
A: We have moved 43 times in 48 years. We have lived on a boat, in a camper, in a mansion on the Atlantic. We live on an island in the Tenn Tom Waterway in Mississippi with water on one side and woods on the other. Thank goodness for our semi-isolation because we can be pretty noisy when the hammers ring.
Q: Who makes the work?
A: We collaborate constantly applying the strengths of the "right brain" (Louise) and the "left brain" (Don) to make the work. Almost every piece we produce has finger prints from both of us.
Q: How do you go about creating your pieces?
We are intensely experimental but we use the metalsmithing techniques that have been used for centuries to create work that is functional, durable and unusual. One of the most frequently heard statements in our show booth or gallery appearances is "I've never seen anything like that before". ... And that is what we want to hear.
But hand crafted and unusual are not enough. That magic combination of C's - Creativity, Craftsmanship and Choice of materials is always present in every piece of our distinctively different work.
Q: Are you famous? (Ha!)
Our work in galleries from Virginia to Louisiana. We do about 12 shows a year in the mid south region. We have won a number of awards, been published in national magazines being finalists in the cover contest for The Crafts Report. We were featured along with 39 other craftsmen in I am a Craftsman, 40 at 40 for the 40th anniversary of the Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi. We are members of the Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi and Tennessee Craft and the Columbus Arts Council.
Q: Since you are retired from other jobs why do you keep working so hard?
A: We have completely failed at retirement. We work because we have a passion for seeing what we can make the metal do. We just simply can't "not" make things.
Q: How do you keep the work "new"?
A: We learn constantly and experiment with new ideas. Each new technique or tool opens new horizons of possibility and design. Sometimes it seems like what one of us doesn't dream up, the other one does. It is not unusual for us to be out in the shop in our pajamas in the middle of the night because we wanted to explore a new design.
Q: What inspires your designs?
A: The river, woods and animals around us influence our shapes, textures and colors. It is not simply the existence of these things - but more the changes we see due to season and aging. We subscribe to the beauty in imperfection concept of Wabi Sabi especially in creating our best One-of-a-Kind pieces.
Some pieces explode spontaneously from the hammer or torch while others are developed through modeling, sketching or experimentation. Each piece is a journey and we invite you along for the adventure!
Q: Why do you not make sets of ladles, spoons, etc.
A: We certainly can by special order, but each piece has almost a life of its own and the excitement of a one-of-a-kind piece is a rare thing. We do try to create a "theme" of leaves that can be used together.
Is there anything else you want to know? If so, let us know at kingfisherdesigns [!at] gmail.com