You Can Help the Jewelers of West Africa

Two jewelers in West Africa looking over a metals textbook.

Awhile back I briefly mentioned an organization that helps out West African jewelers, the Toolbox Initiative. Today I wanted to give them a little more exposure.

The Toolbox Initiative is a volunteer effort created by jewelers Matthieu Cheminée and Tim McCreight in 2014 to assist jewelers with limited resources through the collective strength of the metalworking community and to create new connections worldwide. They collect donations of new or gently used tools and silver and deliver them directly to hardworking jewelers, primarily in West Africa.

Nothing goes to waste — here a broken flipflop becomes a polishing surface.

As hard as it feels to be a jeweler here in America, it is so much more difficult for these jewelers to be able to make a living and support themselves and their families. I’ve been privileged to see metalworkers from other parts of the world at the Folk Life Festival in DC, and it is always amazing to see the innovation these metalworkers use when having to create work-arounds in their studios due to the lack of tools or newer technologies. You can see even more of these innovations in Matthieu Cheminée’s book, Legacy: Jewelry Techniques of West Africa.

You can help out by donating new or gently used tools or silver scrap. More information can be found on the Toolbox Initiative website and you can follow Tim & Matthieu’s journeys to deliver the donations on their Facebook page.


Dolmen Ring ©2012 sterling silver, copper
This guy found a new, loving, forever home this weekend.

I’ve been back from Delaware for a couple of days now, but I still feel like I’m hopelessly behind. I’ve gotten all of the most important things done, but now I need to get caught up with all of my “everyday” tasks. Plus there’s that second teapot to finish!

It was really great seeing so many of my online friends, Guild friends, and fans this past weekend. Some of my work found new homes. I got to meet some of the faces I only see on Facebook and Twitter and even meet some new people who had heard of me through the interwebs and my Art Jewelry article. It was wonderful experiencing this. I hope to see even more of you at my upcoming shows this Fall.

Until then I’ll make some new pieces, write some new posts, and hopefully keep you all entertained…

Join Us!

Guild coat of arms of a smith
Guild coat of arms of a smith (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I mention the PA Guild of Craftsmen quite a lot. I’m a member and they’ve really supported me and all of the members through their workshops, shows, and in other ways too. But they aren’t the only craft organization out there. Here are a few others.

This is hardly a comprehensive list and is obviously skewed to only those guilds that I’m familiar with. Do you know any others that have helped you or another artist out? Leave their info in the comments.