The meticulous pounding of a hammer against metal echoed through the room as Bruce Creech worked to meld a piece of silver into what would become an intricate pair of earrings.
Pounding metal is something of an art — and a hobby for the self-taught maker of jewelry.
More than 15 years ago, Creech, who has a background in business, on a whim decided he wanted to learn the art of silversmiths. And just like most people do, he turned to the internet, taking an online class with the hopes of learning a thing or two about the fading art.
“I didn’t really learn much in that class,” explained Creech, surrounded by many of his handcrafted works of art. “I pretty much, through trial and error, taught myself silversmithing.”
In actuality, Creech is a metalsmith. The difference — a silversmith only works with silver, while a metalsmith is a craftsman who makes useful items out of various types of metal, like brass or even copper. He likes to use a mix of metals in his work.
“This is something I enjoy doing in my spare time,” the craftsman said, a smile playing at his lips.
Each piece Creech crafts is handmade, from the silver bracelet clasp to the brass and copper designs inside pendants and rings. Only the occassion beads used in some of the handiwork are purchased. For that reason, Creech warns, if you see a pair of earrings on a friend that you like, don’t expect to get an exact replica, as no two pieces are ever the same.
Creech only uses a hammer and kismet tools when creating the designs and textures for his art.
“I do this because I love it,” Creech shared.
He isn’t in it for the money. Pieces start at about $10, and while there is a range in prices, he has been told he doesn’t charge enough.
Since 2000, when he began learning the art, Creech says he has traveled to different craft shows and events selling his jewelry. But, he is just as content sitting in the comfort of his home and making items for those near and dear.
There is an art and a process to making his pieces. Most things take about an hour or two, but just recently, Creech says he completed a piece that took him about five hours. It wasn’t done in one sitting, but it took a great deal of concentration and attention to detail.
“If you mess up, you have to start over,” Creech explained. “Once you cut the piece of metal, pound a shape or design into it or stamp it with a letter, you can’t undo what has been done.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.