Q&A with Nancy LT Hamilton


Did you study metalsmithing?

I majored in fine arts AND archaeology during my first round in school. My second round in college involved learning metalsmithing.  I studied with Linda Weiss for, I believe, 3 years. I was also fortunate to be able to take classes with many amazing artists like Jim Daling, Michael de Ming, Susan Elizabeth Wood, Susan Lenart Kazmer, Thomas Mann, and others. During this period I also became a metal clay instructor with the PMC Guild. Most of my training though has been via books and A TON of practice. I’ve been making jewelry since the early 1990s. 

What are your inspirations?

Well, obviously flora (if you’ve seen my work).  But, it’s a little more complicated than saying: “Ah, a leaf!  That would make a good pendant!” The other day I felt uninspired.  I started flipping through the book: Seven Hundred Years of Jewelry and got really excited by some wire patterns that I saw on a necklace.  My brain said: “How did they do that?” And off we went! So books are inspirational. Pinterest is another great source of inspiration. Looking at jewelry and art in different mediums gets my brain moving. I also take a lot of photographs and often use them to jump-start a project.

Why do you make jewelry? 

Problem-solving is what jewelry making is about, for me.  I love exploring techniques, methods, and materials. I love to study and to experiment.  My brain is always searching for easier, more direct methods to accomplish a task. I design a lot of tools and hope to get a few into production and into my shop soon!  Problem-solving is what drew me to this craft in the first place and it is what keeps me addicted.

Why teach?

I teach because I like sharing what I’ve learned. I think I’m a pretty good teacher and I get a great deal of satisfaction when I see that a student “gets it”.  That shows me that I’ve communicated my message and it has been heard. I believe that part of being a good teacher is remembering how it was to be a student. I think, to be able to explain things, from square one:  simply and clearly, makes a good teacher. I also have a lot of patience - which is a very good thing for an instructor to have! 

I’ve had a YouTube channel for over 10 years and as of today, I have around 115 videos.  I started my channel, at a time when there were just a few jewelry how-to videos, available.  I thought YouTube was a great platform for sharing the craft and so, I committed myself to be a creator. Being able to reach thousands of people is a humbling and inspirational motivator.

What are your plans for your Shopify store?

Recently, I decided to do more in-depth videos and have them available, here in my Shopify store.  It is my hope to provide a more classroom-like scenario and to be able to offer longer, more in-depth videos with patterns and PDFs and a private Facebook page for discussion.  Eventually, I hope to have several complete series available like a wire-working series, chain-making series, beginning jewelry techniques, intermediate, advanced, a stone setting series, etc.  You’ll also find some of my jewelry lurking around the store - waiting to find someone who loves them! I also hope, (if I live long enough!) to carry tools I’ve designed and books I’ve written on the craft. 

 Hope you’ll stop by!  Thanks.