Student Spotlight: Meet Mike Moretti

by Metalwerx on December 8, 2015

Metalwerx students often share with us how this school has impacted their lives. It’s a story that we never tire of hearing, and one that we are so grateful for. Perhaps the greatest aspect of the experience that keeps students engaged is the sense of community that they feel here, which couldn’t exist were it not for those same students. We have seen such a huge outpouring of enthusiasm and support for this organization, particularly in the past month, with students making donations and offers to volunteer, that we cannot even express how touched we are. But few members of our little family of makers and metalsmiths have given back as much to Metalwerx as Mike Moretti. This software engineer by day and metalsmith by night has volunteered countless hours creating our new website and giving us free I.T. support, and in doing so, has saved us immeasurable headaches, time and money. This month, we want to introduce those of you who don’t know Mike, to a great friend, neighbor and maker of some really awesome jewelry.

Mike’s involvement with Metalwerx was somewhat serendipitous. Mike loves learning new things and regularly takes that enrich his life. In 2007 he was looking through the Brookline Adult & Community Education catalogue, and saw a blacksmithing class offered through Prospect Hill Forge, which turned out to be right down the street from this Waltham resident’s house. Being a huge fan of mythology, fairy tales and medieval art and literature, this was right up his alley. He signed up and dove right in. Within a couple of years he had built a forge in his own backyard. Then, being right next door to Metalwerx, his curiosity was piqued and he decided to see what it was like working with non-ferrous metals. In 2009 Mike took his first class at Metalwerx, and the rest is history.

 

Mike Moretti, hard at work at the forge

When I asked Mike if he was always artistic, he tells me although he made models and painted figurines as a youngster, most of his creative energy was focused on music as a kid. Mike plays many instruments, and continues to learn how to play more all of the time; most recently learning to play the banjo. But since finding Metalwerx and learning how to make his own treasures, like the ones he imagined in all of the ancient myths and tales that he loves, metalsmithing has become just as much a part of his life as making music. He has taken about a dozen classes at Metalwerx, less frequently now since he has built a fully equipped studio in his basement. Electro-etching is one of his favorite processes. He took an etching workshop about a month after taking Jewelry 1, and the skill makes its way into just about every piece that this artist makes.

A Copper and Brass etched book cover, in-progress

Mike says that, “I just loved it. I could add so much detail without even really thinking about it.” He uses different photo-transfer techniques to put his image on the metal to prepare for etching. Mike tells me, laughing, “ I can’t draw to save my life. I do everything on the computer.” He has detailed and illustrated instructions on his technique on his website, mordent.com , further demonstrating his generous nature.

MiOk and Her Magical Salmon of Doubt

The jewelry that Mike Moretti makes is largely influenced by, or made for literary characters. He tells me that there are really two different things about metalsmithing that keep him hooked: the fact that he can make things that look like ancient treasures, and the fact that he can make these things with his hands.

Sultana’s Earrings

For someone who spends most of his time working on a computer, thinking and analyzing, there is something meditative about the process. “I could sand and file all day, just spending hours getting something to look smooth and finished.”

That same diligence is certainly evident to us in his dedication to creating our new website. Ironing out the intricacies of all of the new features, built to make our jobs easier, have kept Mike “on-call,”coming to our aid night and day to make sure that all functions are working properly. When I asked Mike how he was ever convinced to give so much of his time to Metalwerx for this giant endeavor, he said simply that, “if there is something that I know how to do, and I can help a community, I want to help.” And for that, we are forever grateful.

 

You can see Mike’s work on his website, mordent.com and purchase pieces on Etsy.

 

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