Porter Hovey, Teenage Silversmith

Porter and I went to a pretty great high school. Of course there were the normal tortures, but if you look back with nostalgia, it's a place where boys with shaggy hair and Vasque Sundowners would climb on desks to scream and argue Hobbes and Hume, we read - and understood - Toni Morrison, we challenged our rival school in an annual charity can drive so overwhelmingly successful that they had to bring in engineers to make sure the floor could support all the corn and beans...and we had Mr. Crawford, master silversmith.  It's quite wonderful when you can make your own sterling silver jewelry in high school - and Mr. Crawford helped make these projects shine.  He'd had polio as a kid, which affected one of his hands, but it didn't affect his brilliant craftsmanship.  Porter took his class for five semesters (I, shouldered with the academic expectations of a first born child, was forced to take Calc 2 and AP physics and chemistry, while Porter spent her time at a buffing wheel).  By the time you'd reached Jewelry 5, lost wax rings were a thing of the past - replaced by box construction and hinges.  These were her two masterpieces - a zebra cuff and an envelope box.  Just beautiful.

14 comments

  1. Truly amazing. I'm forwarding this to Mr. B whose blood still runs Columbia Blue, Black and White.

  2. Gorgeous. I absolutely love the envelope box.

  3. Hannah says:

    Wow, these are great. I can't believe these skills were taught at your school, what a wonderful thing to learn.

  4. Bex says:

    The second I saw this I thought Chuck Crawford! (Never took his class, though always admired the work that came out of it.)

  5. I had to come back to see that little envelope box again.

  6. These are superb. Maybe a master silversmith. The envelope box is! Is she still at it? I love her photographs-the gods were kind. la

  7. Dana says:

    So fabulous! ... I took Chuck Crawford's jewelry class five times during my four years at East, and the obsessive craftsmanship he instilled in me has served me VERY well over the many years since. In fact, in no little part thanks to CC (and after a minor, seven-year detour into life as an architect) I'm now a full-time art teacher!

  8. mary says:

    These are amazing pieces of art. Oh, to have an art teacher like that! To be inspired to create-- what a wonderful way to start off on life. Thanks for the inspiration.

  9. Ms. Birt says:

    Crawford may have retired, but he still roams the halls of SME often. I will forward this post to his various proteges in the Art Department!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Wow amazing! I work in a cube for a living sending and receiving emails... So I actually create nothing. I always wanted to, and would like to implement this plan of learning some craft, glass blowing or Silversmithing…

    As a child I watched a VHS recording of Disney’s “Johnny Tremain” over 100 times im sure. If and when I become a master silversmith, I'll wear a tricorne while practicing my craft.

    - William B. Evans

  11. that zebra cuff is GENIUS.

  12. Jenny says:

    those are fantastic. i am taking silversmithing classes at jccc because i spoke with mr. crawford and that's where he recommended i go. it is fun, and i, like you, wish i would have taken more classes in high school. thanks for sharing.