At this point in my life, I’m 76 years old (in the summer of 2017) and, I must say, more and more feeling my age. It seems like not too long ago I regarded people of this antiquity as hopelessly ancient, to say the least!
But, within every old man there remains a child… and I suppose that’s one of the things I like to keep ahold of, whether one calls it “childish” or “childlike.” When I was about five years old, my dear Mother sent me to an art class for kids because she knew I liked to draw. There, I can clearly remember painting on a big easel with tempera colors, a scene of a mountain with trees, some animals, a sky with clouds and a sun… I was VERY impressed with what I had just done… it was like magic! It seemed so real, so powerful… and the teacher thought so too. That moment was one of those points in my life which I carried with me. Unfortunately my masterpiece did not survive beyond that day, as far as I know…. although where I live now I look daily at a real mountain (the Bald Eagle) which sometimes reminds me of that original painting.
Wanting to be an artist, and becoming one, are sometimes hard to put together… it doesn’t just “happen”! Though I was always interested in drawing and making things, I studied all kinds of subjects like classical languages and history at Haverford College, as I drifted toward law school (a career my family thought was a good idea). But then… my child spoke up! Forget law school! I’m going to the Rhode Island School of Design! Then, it was as if the sun came out in my life. Not only did I study art in a wonderful school, but I had the good fortune to marry my high school sweetheart Anne, a scant 55 years ago. We wandered from there to Athens, Greece where we lived on a Fulbright scholarship. I studied briefly at the Athens Polytechneion (until being asked to leave, for being insubordinate) and enjoyed working in my little studio on Plapouta St. while Anne worked in a pottery studio. We had a year to live in the midst of the powerful remains of an ancient culture and the fun of Mediterranean life… an experience which has remained in our hearts over the years.
After some false starts such as teaching art, and trying to make a living making sculpture, I settled on making jewelry as a way of making a living and being an artist at the same time. We had the good fortune to come to Williamsport, Pa. where we sold our jewelry and pottery to a very supportive public. It was a time of a revival of traditional crafts in America, and we had the great good luck to be a part of that, and the social revolution which coincided with it. For almost thirty years, we sold our jewelry and pottery, and other contemporary American crafts, designing and producing our jewelry in a small workshop comprised of about seven people.
About 1999, guided by a vivid dream to simplify my life (yes, it really was like that) I closed the store and had a sale “to the bare walls” as they say… not really knowing what was next. Since then, I have worked on my own in a studio in the woods next to our house, making one-of-a-kind pieces and using the internet to cultivate a very different and far-flung clientele. A few years ago, in 2010, I thought of returning to the pursuit of printmaking and drawing, and pulling back from the jewelry making, but the requests of customers and my own interest in making jewelry, and dealing with my customers, has proved irresistible. The practice of making jewelry has been very fulfilling, and I continue to enjoy the contact with the interesting people who come to me for custom jewelry projects, or to buy pieces already made up on my website. Customers are always welcome to visit my studio and to consult about unique pieces.
My son Caleb Meyer, who worked with me for many years as a jewelry designer and craftsman, opened his own jewelry workshop 20 years ago in Philadelphia at 8520 Germantown Avenue, and you may view his pieces at: www.calebmeyer.com.
My youngest son Jonah Meyer, who also studied art at RISD, has become a furniture designer and woodworker with a showroom in Rhinebeck, New York, at 31 West Market St., called Sawkille, with a website at: www.sawkille.com.