Steel Manzanita Tree

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Asheville, NC Land For Sale

Asheville Mountain Land For Sale (website)

This 57 acre parcel of mountain property is the last parcel of land that my parents have for sale. This property is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Western North Carolina town of Asheville. It is located in close, convenient proximity to Asheville's city center. If you are looking for mountain living with some privacy but still want the convenience of shopping, entertainment, etc. that is a short drive away, this might be the location for you. Please feel free to click on the link above to go to an informational website to view photos, further descriptions of this potential mountain get away, as well as the realtor's contact information!

Represented by Judy Byrd of Beverly-Hanks & Associates

Friday, September 2, 2011

My Latest Commission - Manzanita Tree Sculpture, Carmel, CA

I just completed a larger welded sculpture commission. It is a steel manzanita tree sculpture that will be used primarily as a wedding chuppa and then generally as a nice decorative piece on this property. It is my first job/commission in the Carmel, CA., area - we have been waiting a long time to get some work in this area.

The location is at Point Lobos Ridge, a nice private rental home with fantastic views, used for weddings and other private events. The owner, Lou Sena, was super nice and was very happy with the artwork. Hope it brings both of us new and appreciative business!

I hope this next year will be filled with more of this type of art / sculptural commissions!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Menopause, Hot Flashes and Hormone-Related Health Issues - It Is A Big Deal!

This may be a very personal and private issue with some, some may find this an awkward subject, or it may be more of a little window into my personal life than you wanted to see, but I am posting this anyway.

Hormone related health issues are real issues that will affect EVERY WOMAN to some degree EVENTUALLY and the more educated you can be - the better it will be for you and those close to you. Actually, one of my metalsmithing friends, Teresa Masters, turned me on to this and I want to share it as well.

This is a movie that touches on a lot of different aspects of womens health with regards to these issues, including hysterectomies, Womens Health Initiative study on hormone therapy and what was wrong and inaccurate about those studies, hormone use post breast cancer, bone health, heart health and more. There are also references to other educational books, etc.

I did do quite of bit of self-education prior to my hysterectomy, but didn't find a lot of information regarding post hystectomy hormone problems until after the fact....when I started to have problems. My doctor never mentioned any of this either. Maybe it was because my ovaries were left intact and I "wasn't supposed to" experience early menopause - I don't know...

But ..... its not too late to continue to educate myself and pass the word to other women who could be going through the same thing.

Chicks - Its about your health and its about your quality of life!

And ya know what else, it can't hurt to have the men, (and other family members for that matter) in your lives watch this as well to help them have a better understanding about all of this. I will say I have a very supportive and understanding husband and family, for that I am grateful! :)

(via Hot Flash Havoc website) HOT FLASH HAVOC ( is the most provocative and revealing film ever made about menopause. For the first time this film sets the record straight about the Women's Health Initiative study released in 2002, which misrepresented that the hormonal replacement therapy being used by millions of women to treat the symptoms of menopause could actually increase the risk of heart attacks and cancer. This misinformation caused confusion, hysteria, and fear among women as well as healthcare providers, endangering the health and well being of millions of women, many of whom flushed their hormones down the toilet.

This film not only sheds insightful light on the confusion stemming from a decade of misguided facts, but conveys poignant personal stories shared by real women and in-depth interviews with the world's most noted experts.

HOT FLASH HAVOC provides compelling information about menopause that will empower women for the “Second Act” of their lives.


Saturday, May 14, 2011


THIS CLASS WAS CANCELLED DUE TO LOW ENROLLMENT:  I will be teaching a beginning repousse class / workshop at Sharon Art Studio in San Francisco on July 9, 2011 - July 10, 2011; 10 am to 2 pm each day.

Click on the link below for more information and / or to register.

Class size limited. Hope to see you there!


Rio Grande Jewelry Supply has been selling my pitch for some months now. Sales have been good and credible reviews have been coming in. They recently did a nice write up on the pitch in their blog

THE STUDIO - Jewelry Blog by Rio Grande.

Click the link below to read!


You can purchase my chasers pitch through Rio Grande Jewelry Supply or directly through me on my website: Pitch It To You Chasers Pitch


By Eric & Debra Montgomery 
(an article that was written for the California Blacksmith Assn. Journal)

Many factors come into play when you talk about pricing your work. These factors include reputation of the artist/metalsmith, the public’s perceived value, media bias, what the market will bear, competitors’ prices, etc. In this article, we are only going to touch on some basics and base this on a sole proprietorship scenario. The numbers we are going to use are based on working twelve 4 week months or 1920 hours/year = 160 hours/month.


Using a notebook or record book, you can keep track of materials on any particular job. These notebooks may seem unnecessary to a seasoned metalsmith/business owner, but particularly with a startup business, it will help keep you in line with your costs.

There are different viewpoints as far as how to account for cost of materials and is different for every shop. It could be a 10% mark up all the way up to 100% mark up. This starts to get into what the current market will bear, what your competition is charging and other factors. My advice here would be to be more conservative on your markup than not.


What does it cost to run your shop? Take into account business-related costs, which are the fixed costs to run your business other than material costs. Be meticulous about keeping receipts and records of these costs. For example, keep a notebook in your work truck to keep track of the job-related miles. Did you know with mileage alone, you could get a 50¢ per mile write-off on your taxes?

Miscalculation of your overhead expenses could result in underbidding or overbidding your project. This could result in either not getting the job because your price is too high or getting the job because of your low price, but working at a loss.

Therefore, you need to figure an overhead expense hourly rate component to include in your total quote calculations. For example, let’s say your annual overhead is $36,000. Take $36,000/12 which equals $3,000, your average monthly overhead expenses. Now take your $3,000 monthly overhead expenses/160 monthly hours. This equals $18.75 per hour. This is your overhead expense rate component, which must be added onto each hour of fabrication time.

NOTE: Keep in mind when you are keeping track of your overhead expenses, also keep track of what I would call overhead hours. In running your metalsmithing business, you will also be doing other business-related tasks, such as answering emails, answering /making phone calls, preparing quotes, etc. You need to be able to conduct business knowing that you are not losing money when you answer the phone. I will touch on this further in our final calculations.


It is crucial to keep track of the direct hours spent on actually working on a particular project, including design time specific to that project. We have all had a project where the hours were miscalculated and we basically had to eat that labor cost. You certainly can’t go back and ask a customer for more money because you miscalculated your time. Again, a seasoned metalsmith won’t necessarily have to keep notes, but I think it is very important at the beginning or when you take on a type of project you have never done before. It can be as simple as keeping a notebook handy to log in your hours each time you go to work on a particular job.

The importance of this is to (1) be able to provide professional and accurate quotes for your work and (2) if you find your labor costs are higher than the market will bear, you can use these notes to analyze the areas where you may be spending too much time and figure out a way to increase your productivity. You can also use these notes to determine if you could possibly use a lesser-paid employee or helper to do some of the more routine tasks, freeing you up for the more advanced work.


How do you start figuring out what you need to make per hour? One way to start would be to figure out your personal expenses. What do you need to pay your mortgage/rent, utilities and groceries, etc.? Are you working solely as a self-employed metalsmith or do you have a full time job and do the metal work more as a second job?

Let’s just put some numbers out there: Let’s say you need $55,000 a year to pay for your personal living expenses (not including your shop overhead) and plan to work 48 regular 40 hour weeks. That equates to 1920 hours per year. Dividing $55,000/1920 = $28.64 per hour which is your necessary profit hourly rate component.

If you are employee full time through another company and do the metalsmithing on the side, then you can simply use the same formula above to figure out how much you want to make on top of your salary with your side business.


We are ready to do the final calculations to determine your shop rate. The next step is take your profit hourly rate component of $28.64 determined previously and add in your overhead expense rate component of $18.75. This equals $47.39 per hour.

As mentioned previously, you need to factor in an adjustment to cover the hours spent on non-fabrication type tasks of running your metalsmithing business. For example, you determine you spend 8 hours out of a 40 hour week performing these tasks. This means you only have 32 hours of work hours per week available for actual fabrication. Take 32 (hours) / 40 (hours) which equals 0.80 or 80%.

Take your hourly rate $47.39/0.80 which equals $59.24. This is your final shop rate that you would use in calculating your chargeable labor hours on a job quote.


Figuring the Price of the Job


Pricing is a vast topic and this article covers some very basic information. We hope you find this basic information helpful and useful. For outstanding references on pricing metal crafts and the like, check out any of the links provided below.


References/Links: Harriete Estel Berman - ASK Harriete; Home Jewelry Business and Design Guide; SNAG Professional Development Seminars


Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Internet Is Becoming The New Yellow Pages - Are You Ready?

This is an article that I wrote for the Jan/Feb 2011 Issue of the California Blacksmith Assn Journal - thought it would be worth posting here:

I don’t claim to be an expert in internet marketing or website building, but I can share with you what I have learned by trial and error in relation to our business exposure on the world wide web.

In this economy, I think small businesses need as much of an edge as the possibly can get without spending a fortune. It appears that the internet is becoming the new yellow pages. Having a website or blog is a great way to get your name, portfolio and content out there in connection with your particular market locally, as well as get some nationwide and world wide exposure for what can be minimal cost compared to most conventional advertising.
There are many topics I can talk about under this umbrella, but I think the first thing would be
“Do It Yourself “ web site building services.

Three features that are important in my book are:

1. Affordability
2. Ease of Use
3. Google Verification Friendly

Everyone is tightening their belts these days and building your own website is one way to save some up front expenses. I have experimented with “do it yourself” website building services since we opened our business 7 years ago. I will talk about four which in my opinion, are the most user-friendly, most reasonably priced for what you get, have nicer templates and have decent integration/site verification with Google, Yahoo and Bing website tools. Site verification gives you the tools to get information about your site, helping you improve your site optimization by tracking how your site is working on the web.

The first service, which is my favorite and is the service we are currently using for both our sites, is This is a website service that was created initially for the music industry with many easy to use features for the more artistic venue. While it was created for the music industry, I think it crosses over very well with many useful features for visual arts as well. The templates are attractive and artsy. The site building tools are extremely easy to use so even the most novice website builder can put together a very nice site. For the more experienced website builder, you can utilize the more advanced features on the templates or you have the capability to build a completely custom site. The prices are reasonable starting at $9.95 for a 10 page/1 email site up to $19.95 per month for unlimited pages/10 email site. They can also host your domain. This service has seamless integration/site verification with Google Webmaster Tools. With regard to technical support, you have live chat and email “help desk” correspondence available and they are quick to respond. The only thing I don’t like about this site is, at this time, there is no way to promote each individual page. Having said that though, I have not noticed a drop in the visitation to our site since switching. Go to for more information and a free, no-obligation 30-day trial. Honestly, out of all of the do it yourself services I have tried, this is the easiest I have used to date, as well as the smoothest transition when moving from another service.

The second,, is a decent do it yourself service with very reasonable prices. You can get a domain name for as low as $1.99 and a 5-page website for as low as $4.99/month. The templates are relatively easy to use and they have a good choice of some very nice professional looking templates. There is seamless integration/site verification with Google Website Tools. For the advanced user, you can squeeze a little more out of the templates using some of their advanced features. Techical support is not bad. hosts the domain names for websites through their service, and can host your domain if you are not using their website building service. You get a professional email box option with also. Go to for more information or to start a website.

The third,, is a little more complicated. In my experience, it requires a little working knowledge on putting a site together here, but it is not too difficult. One thing about is that there is seamless integration/site verification with Google Webmaster Tools, Yahoo Site Explore AND Bing Web Tools. It takes sometimes 24 hours to get an answer from the help desk. You can use for free as a blog OR, you can pay $25.00 for the year for a domain name, that they host, and have an actual “” website address. F.Y.I: Don’t get this service confused with which is for website builders with very advanced skills - is designed for doing it yourself.

The fourth,, which is a blogging “service” through Google. This is another situation where you can obtain website presence for free. However, if you want to have an actual “” website address, you have the option here, like, to upgrade to a domain name. domain names are hosted by and for as little as $10.00 a year, you have a .com address. No professional email services are offered through However, you can use whatever active email address you have through this service. Help forums, etc., are available for technical questions. Since this is a Google “product,” the integration/verification process through Google Website Tools is automatic.

The main thing with the internet is getting your “content” out there for people to find whether it is through the blogs or actual websites. For examples of some of the site services I have mentioned, feel free to view our websites, at the following links:
To view one of our sites, follow this link:
To view one of our sites, follow this link:

I hope you find this information helpful!

Friday, March 11, 2011


I finally got some t-shirts printed up and are now for sale!

Mens sizes S-XL (Crew neck) $16.00/ea + shpg and applicable tax
Womens sizes S-XL (V-neck) $18.00/ea + shpg and applicable tax

Below is how the back of the shirt looks.

Go to my store to order A COPPER ROSE STORE

This first order was on the conservative side with regard to colors, sizes and quantities until I can see how much they sell. If I don't currently have your size or you would like to see a specific style, please email me at to let me know and I will try to accommodate any changes and additions on future orders! UVMHUMFHX4GM

Thanks in advance for your support of A COPPER ROSE METAL ART!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I'D RATHER BE IN THE STUDIO - Book by Alyson B. Standfield

I recently purchased this book and find that it has plenty of easy to understand common sense advice and great organizational and marketing tips!

I'd Rather Be in the Studio! I'D RATHER BE IN THE STUDIO is for artists of all kinds. Painters, sculptors, ceramist, jewelers, photographers, and others will benefit from the easy-to-follow self-promotion practices in this book.

I’d Rather Be in the Studio! The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion

Author and art-marketing consultant Alyson B. Stanfield, of, focuses on sharing the artwork directly with potential buyers through electronic and traditional communication outlets—in a manner that is comfortable, not artificial. Artists match Internet marketing strategies with sincere personal skills to take charge of their art careers.

The book includes online worksheets and downloads.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Victoria Lansford - Instructional Metal Techniques Videos and Book

Victoria Lansford  - Independent studio metalsmith, producer of the Metal Techniques of Bronze Age Masters  

An internationally acclaimed artist, educator, author and publisher,  Victoria Lansford creates one-of-a-kind wearable pieces of art and art objects that evoke the mystery and splendor of ancient masters, yet are infused with her own provocative vision.

She has developed a series of instructional videos in high relief Eastern Repousse, Russian Filigree and Rings, as well as an instructional book on Chainmaking

Follow any of the links above for more information or to preview these videos and book! 

Monday, January 3, 2011


School of Industrial Arts


2223 S. Van Ness Avenue
Fresno, CA  93721

Mission Statement

Fresno Fire and Metal is a start-up non-profit educational facility that seeks to offer both fine and industrial arts instruction to youth and adults with an emphasis on eco-friendly practices and providing scholarships to under-privileged youth.

Classes to be offered in:

· Blacksmithing / Coppersmithing
· Welding—MIG, TIG, Oxy-Acetylene
· Glass—Slumping, Fusing, Lampworking, Blowing
· Enameling
· Jewelry
· Foundry
· Sculpture—Metal and Stone
· Metal Fabrication
· Fire Dance


In addition to their focus on art . . .

They will provide leverage for local teachers of at-risk youth. FFM will collaborate with teachers to identify students who might benefit from scholarships to attend classes at FFM. Teachers at the middle/high school level, working with FFM staff, will devise a behavioral plan unique to the identified student. The plan might emphasize things such as completion of homework over a specified time, behavioral changes in the classroom, number of books read, or grades. If the student meets the objectives set forth in his/her plan, the student then earns admission into a class of his/her choosing at FFM!


Fresno Fire & Metal
2223 S. Van Ness Avenue
Fresno, CA  93721

Sat.  Feb 5, 2011 9am-3pm
Sun. Feb 6, 2011 9am-3pm

Debra Montgomery / A Copper Rose Metal Art

All tools, materials and copper will be supplied for the class.  Just bring gloves and safety glasses.

An instructional book is included in the cost of the class and will be yours to take home at the end of the class, as well as your completed copper piece(s).