Pauline Warg: Setting the Pace with fARTlek Jewelry

by Metalwerx on February 7, 2019

Metalwerx instructor Pauline Warg has been dedicated to making jewelry since childhood. With 35 years of professional experience Pauline has picked up countless skills and techniques over the years.  In fact, Pauline’s love of jewelry began when she was given a trinket kiln to play with as a child. Pauline became infatuated with the glossy finish and bright colors of enamel on copper.  Tucked away in the family basement Pauline would sift and fuse enamels to create her very first pieces of jewelry. Attention to detail came naturally to Pauline, in her teenage years she would spend hour’s bead weaving intricate patterns. With a few semesters under her belt at college in Ohio, it was clear that jewelry would be her path.  In the spring of 1970 Pauline began an extensive 3 year apprenticeship with Master Goldsmith Phillip Morton of Contemporary Jewelry Holt, Rinehart & Winston. In lieu of an application Pauline was asked to raise a silver bowl on the spot!  The apprenticeship covered every detail of being a successful contemporary craftsperson.  As said by Pauline “We learned design, fabrication, casting, silversmithing, marketing, retailing, bookkeeping and so much more”.


By the time she had completed three years of intensive goldsmith training, Pauline was ready to begin her business.  “After completing my apprenticeship I moved to Portsmouth, NH and opened a store.  I created my own designs, did repairs for Springer’s Jewelers, and specialized in custom work, especially wedding rings”.  Pauline began frequenting the craft show circuit, while she was an adjunct professor at UNH, and at the Jewelry Institute in Providence , RI.


The design process has always been an important part of the Pauline’ s practice (as you can see by the gorgeous sketch below). So when she was given the opportunity to become a designer for Shreve, Crump & Low and their parent company Henry Birks and Sons, she was thrilled.


Pauline’s jewelry can be best described as bold yet elegant. Her attraction to enameling has remained prevalent in her daily practice. She begins her studio day early with a cup of tea and turning on the kiln for a full day of enameling while listening to NPR.  Her studio space in Maine is spacious, light filled, and well stocked with tools. One of her favorite tools is a collection of chasing and matting tools from a jobber for companies like Gorham and Samuel Kirk & Sons in the late 90’s.  As said by Pauline “I am possessed by these tools.  They are gorgeous to look at. All hand made.  I make my own chasing tools, but these tools are beyond compare.  They have made my textured work amazing”


Most recently Pauline has started a new line of jewelry called fARTlek jewelry. “In 2013 after recovering from breast cancer, I became an avid runner.  This helped me to stay strong and positive.  As a result of this I started a new business fARTlek Jewelry® – a line of jewelry to celebrate personal achievements and cancer survival.  In addition to my regular work I now design and make jewelry around personal journeys.  This is also a way for me to give back and pay forward“.  A significant portion of the proceeds earned from fARTlek are donated to charities related to cancer research and help for those with catastrophic illnesses.

fARTlek means “speed play”  in Swedish. It is a technique of running in which the runner alternates between intermittent burst of fast running and slow running.  We think it serves as a beautiful metaphor for Pauline’s new life trajectory as jeweler. Although cancer required her to slow down for a while, it couldn’t keep her from working hard to create her new business! Recently the Maine Cancer Foundation has chosen Pauline to make a unique, exclusive necklace to award to the top fundraisers for the Tri-For-A-Cure® 2019!


To learn more from Pauline Warg, take a look at her upcoming workshop “The Sculpted Bezel” March 29th -31st at Metalwerx in Waltham, MA.


Barbara Seidenath and the Opulence of Glass

by Metalwerx on January 4, 2019

Sifted, wet packed, and fired to perfection.  Perhaps it’s the warm heat of the kilns set to 1550 degrees, the melodic sound of Barbara’s voice, or the excitement of students revealing treasures from the kiln that makes being in one of Barbara’s enameling classes such a unique and rewarding experience. An enameling class with Barbara Seidenath always has a peaceful buzz.  The technique requires a sense of calm, concentration, and a clean work environment as the powdered enamel is carefully washed, sifted, or packed onto the metal.  Each student then tiptoes their piece over to the kiln being cognizant not to tip or blow off any of the enamel. The piece then goes into the kiln, where it is attentively watched by its maker, watching for the perfect moment when the enamel has melted and fused to the metal but hasn’t yet burned.  It is in the minutes following taking the piece out of the kiln that its maker will see the results of their hard work. Sometimes, it is not always what you expect. Colors can change drastically when fired. But it is the kind hand of Barbara Seidenath that helps her students understand the journey of making.


Understanding the process of making – the ups ,the downs, and allowing her students to value to journey of making and not just the outcome – is skill that Barbara has learned from over 20 years as an enamel artist herself.


Barbara fell in love with enameling through her adoration for glass. Growing up in Southern Germany just outside of Munich, she was exposed to the opulence of Southern German Rococo architecture, which would deeply shape her love for ornamentation and embellishment. With trips to the Royal Treasury in the Residence of the Bavarian Monarchy, she was tantalized by the objects and adornments of royalty.   The translucent and elusive qualities of glass captured Barbara’s attention.  As said by Barbara “I was interested in glass and seriously considered going through training in glass making and design. Through my friend in high school I became familiar with jewelry and the profession of a jeweler since her father was the late goldsmith Hermann Jünger. That was it. My decision was made when I was 17 and I have not regretted my choice ever!” In fact, many years later Barbara would study under the late Hermann Jünger at the Academy of Munich. Considered one of the most influential contemporary jewelers of the 20th century, his inspiring methods live on through Barbara and her teachings.


Barbara received extensive technical training from the State School for Glass and Jewelry, in Neugablonz, Germany, a BFA in Goldsmithing from SUNY, New Paltz, NY, and a MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Germany.

It is safe say Barbara leads a pretty busy life, as she is currently teaching at two local universities: Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and Rhode Island School of Design, as well as teaching regular classes and workshops at Metalwerx, all while exhibiting her work nationally and internationally.  Getting time in the studio is a valued necessity, and time management is a must for Barbara. She starts her days early with a cup of tea and her laptop, where she will manage the daily administrative upkeep (replying to students and galleries via email, helping us write this blog, etc.). For Barbara it is essential to keep her home and studio separate. Having this designated space for her art making allows her to fully enter into the artistic mindset and achieve “full focus.” Along side Liz Clark, Arthur Hash, Tanya Crane, and Matt Crane, Barbara shares a studio in what they like to call “The Cottage”. It is spacious and well lit space, in Pawtucket, RI. which used to be a dairy.

BS 676 pendant

The creative process can be different for everyone. For Barbara, that means working on multiple projects at once. Each day she picks between working on her production line, one-of-a-kind creations, and commissions.  What she decides to work on is dependent on how much time she has and her level of concentration. Barbara finds her inspiration for her jewelry in all aspects of life– textures, nature, architecture, colleagues, movies, and travel. In order make sense of her sources of inspiration Barbara has found away to organize it all…“I make sketches and maintain a creative scrap book where I collect tear-sheets of interesting images, textures, colors etc., and make collages and draw.  There I imagine pieces without the concern of their materiality. Once I have isolated and edited ideas that I feel worthy of pursuing, I put on my engineering hat in order to figure out how to execute them. This process involves lots of models, material tests, and of course worthy failures.”

seidenath enamel 1

Barbara is in the process of designing a new collection, which will revisit a body of work that centers around “crystallization. ” We can look forward to bright turquoises and vibrant greens, with contrasting pink and chartreuse.

BS 674 Brooch orton

In addition to being represented by Sienna Gallery, in Lenox, Barbara’s work can be seen on view in Adorning Boston and Beyond: Contemporary Studio Jewelry then and Now curated by Heather White, at the Society of Arts and Crafts, November 8, 2018- February 17, 2019. Her works can viewed alongside her enamelist counterparts Jamie Bennet, Tanya Crane, and Kat Cole.

In Barbara’s upcoming workshop she will be teaching the art of creating dimension in transparent enamels with etching, chasing and roller printing in Texture and Enamel: Basse Taille Two Ways, January 19-20, 2019, 10am-5pm.


Thank you for an amazing 2018 at Metalwerx!

January 4, 2019

As another year at Metalwerx comes to a close, we are once again blown away by the incredibly supportive and creative community that surrounds us at Metalwerx.  It is a feeling that can be hard to explain to anyone outside of these four walls lined with tools and metal dust… perhaps it is just the […]

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Metalwerx Maker Kelly Bollman: The Woman Behind Stone, Spirit, & Fire

November 30, 2018

Every once in while you come across a business that feels so genuine and good that you can’t help but want to support them.  Stone, Spirit, & Fire is one of those small businesses.  When Metalwerx studiomate Kelly Bollman started Stone Spirit & Fire, she knew she wanted her jewelry business to be ethically sourced, environmentally friendly, […]

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Metalwerx Ornamental Peace Project

November 2, 2018

Metalwerx is happy to announce another year of the Ornamental Peace Project.  In the wake of a national tragedy, we often find ourselves questioning what is “peace” and how do we obtain it, and more importantly how can we maintain it?  As community of jewelers and metalsmiths, Metalwerx invites you express these feelings through making. […]

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Artist Bio: Sessin Durgham and the Art Nun

September 24, 2018

For those who have had the pleasure of meeting Sessin, you are probably familiar with his enthusiasm for forging metal and his knack for storytelling. His stories are boisterous, hilarious, and always have you at the edge of your seat (both in an anticipation, but also because you might fall out of your seat laughing). […]

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Artist Bio: Catching up with Laura Wood

August 30, 2018

Through the thick early morning fog, shine the rays of morning sunlight, and the silhouette of the neighboring mountains. With lush greenery right outside her studio window and the crisp mountain air, Laura Wood’s newest adventure has her settled in for a 3 year residency at Penland Mountain School, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of […]

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Artist Bio: Paulette Werger

July 26, 2018

  We sat down with artist, maker, and Metalwerx instructor Paulette Werger to talk about the origins of her interest in metalsmithing, her career in teaching, and how she keeps things fresh in the studio. What was your first introduction to Jewelry and Metals? When did you know that you wanted to be a metalsmith? […]

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Arist Bio: Victoria Lansford

June 28, 2018

A day in the life of Victoria Lansford is multifaceted to say the least- it is a masterful balancing act, consisting of business work, writing for one of her many books or blogs, creating instructional videos, and most importantly creating stunning work in metal.   For those of you that are not acquainted with Victoria’s […]

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Metalwerx Maker Sharon Stafford- Weaving with Wire

May 24, 2018

Over, under, over, under, over, under…. music quietly running threw her head phones. All you can hear is the sound of metal wires lightly brushing against each other. The level of concentrations is palpable as Sharon’s fingers carefully bend and manipulate the metal wires of the woven pod she is sculpting. It is a process […]

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