Category Archives: Studio Space

Catching Up – Tucson Adventures

Hello everyone. It has been a while, but what a trip I have been on. There are so many things to share with you. Tucson was fantastic!!!! I am already looking forward to next year, even though I am still recovering. It was completely exhausting, but SO MUCH FUN!

First, Before I left, I got a new hair cut. Of course, I can never get it to look how it did when the hair stylist does it. Don’t you hate that? I liked it when it looked like this, but you will see in the other pictures, it doesn’t normally. HA!


I am also making another big change. I have begun the process, and am nearly complete, to officially change my business name from Kelsi’s Closet Jewelbox to Melissa Muir – Metalsmith. I will continue to operate my shop of Kelsi’s Closet Jewelbox, but I will change the focus to more of my memorial line of jewelry and items. I will be working on my MelissaMuir.Com website more to showcase my videos, tools, tutorials and supplies and such. But that will take a little while.logo_MM_Metalsmith_horizontal

This is where I spent  my week in Tucson. This is Potter USA. It is an amazing machine shop. Kevin Potter shares his shop with a blacksmith, Doug Thompson who does amazing things!


I have never really been in a Machine Shop before, other than when I visited Kevin a couple of years ago. It was very different to work in here every day. This is also where I held my workshops during the trip.


And this is the man himself, Kevin Potter. He and his family are WONDERFUL people. He is as nice as he seems. It was a pleasure to work along side him in the shop. And he is a lot of fun to shop with when it comes to gems. That man knows his stuff!


On my last full day in Tucson, Kevin and I went shopping. We visited the “big” show, AGTA. This is where you go if you want quality! Yes, the prices are as high as the place is nice, but if you want to make certain you get the good stuff, this is where you go. I could only afford a little.


But that is only because I was saving my money to buy a gem from one of the MOST AMAZING gem cutter, John Dyer. He is so young. And he is just as beautiful as him gems are. Yes, I did buy a gem, only one. And even it was a bit over my budget, but it was so worth it. This is the gem that I will leap and make my first foray into using gold and a couple of diamonds that I have been hoarding. It may take a while to finally release my breath and make the gold purchase, but I plan to make the leap sometime this year.


Kevin graciously opened his shop to all visitors and even hosted a great open house where we had a great turnout. I have finally met some of the people I have been involved with for years online. It was wonderful to finally meet these talented artists in person.

Cristina Leonard –


From Left to Right –

Peter D’Enbeau, Maureen Brusa Zappelini, Me  , Emily Ruffin, Andrea (Magpie) Robinson


This next group of women are very special to me.  I know two of them from the retreat I attended in North Carolina about 6 years ago or so.

Debora Mauser, Eva Sherman, Me and Nancy Vantassell – I had my very first jewelry teaching gig for Eva Sherman when we lived in Ohio.


Okay, Yes, I am standing. I am short and these two ladies are VERY tall.

Me, Lisa Lehman and Annie Pennington from Art Jewelry Magazine.


This is a fun group. All of us are teachers. I haven’t joined the national circuit due to my children being young and the fact that we keep moving, but I look forward to that one day. I mean who wouldn’t want to hang out with the ladies?

Me, Eva Sherman, Kate Richbourg, Barbara Lewis and Debora Mauser.


I forgot to get pictures from my classes, but this is the group that took my class on the last evening in Tucson. We made our own silhouette dies. It was a lot of fun.


As I was getting into my car to leave Tucson and head back home, Melissa Cable stopped by to visit with Kevin Potter. I am so glad she got there when she did as we were both excited to finally meet in person. Melissa just came out with a book on making jewelry with Leather. I am now the proud owner of that book and will have a review of it in the next couple of weeks.


And what trip is complete without an adventure at Wal.Mart? Luckily, this wasn’t my car, but we pulled up and there was a tricked out car completely in flames. We even got there before the fire crew. I feel awful for the poor owner of the car.


After 9 days and 4 days of long drives (yes, I drove) Look who missed me? Awwww. I don’t get flowers very often, so it was really nice to get so many all at once. He is such a good guy. I may not get flowers often, but I know he loves me…. I mean, have you seen the studio he let me build? I love my man!


I brought home some new tools for the studio too. This is a bench shear from Kevin Potter. I have just posted a video on YouTube on how to mount and use it. I will post about that soon. Oh, and it was totally a fire in the fireplace kind of day the past couple of days. We may not have snow, but it has been a bit chilly in here.


And yes, there is another press. I know, I am totally spoiled. But this one is soooooo much fun. It is electric. I will be filming a bunch next week and will show you lots of fun things and features of this one. And even though I am not normally a pink girl, this one is so bright and fun here in its new home. I think I will call this the Potter Corner.


And remember when I told you that we had a couple of bathroom remodels going on? This one isn’t entirely complete, they still need to come and fix the grout on the tile, and I need to hang the mirrors, but I am so stinking excited about the new studio bathroom!!!!


And now you see why there haven’t been many updates from me. Hopefully now that I am back, the bathrooms are nearly done and we have settled into more of a routine you will begin to see more from me. I will be posting a few things, including videos over the next couple of days.In the meantime, it is great to be home again.

All content and images on this blog are the property of Melissa Muir and use of them in any context is strictly prohibited unless written permission is first obtained. Please feel free to repin any of the pictures of pieces done by Melissa Muir only.

Tool Time Tuesday – Ventilation in the Studio

I had a really fun night tonight. I hosted a Chocolate party. My new home was built for entertaining and I LOVE to entertain. When we lived in Washington, one of my friends held a Chocolate party and it was so much fun. I knew that when we moved to a new area I would take that idea and run with it, not only for the chocolate, but so that I could meet new people. Tonight I had a great turnout. At one point there were about 25 people here. It was so much fun.


One of my friends brought a chocolate fountain even. That was a huge hit.


The rest of the spread. I am so chocolated out. HAHA

Okay, now for the really good stuff. I have had so many questions about the ventilation in the studio. So I did a really quick video showing the bench top fume exhausters I have decided to use in my new studio. I really like them because they are small, quiet and efficient. They pull the air and fumes away from you as you solder, filter the air and recirculate it. These were made for this purpose. I had used them once in the studio of another metalsmith. As I did my research on it, I spoke with many others in the industry and and we determined that this is a perfect fit for my studio.

I purchased my systems at McMaster-Carr. I don’t get anything from them, not even a discount, I wish I did though.   So this is just my own review and opinion. You can find the Fume Exhausters on this page, about 1/2 way down.

View my video review at:


Jewelry and Metals Studio Tour – Video Format

Sorry I didn’t get a Tool Time Tuesday post up yesterday. I did get into the studio to make a video, but didn’t get finished editing it until after midnight.

I have begun offering my video workshops through a new website called I think it is a great place so far and there are a lot of other great teachers and mediums to choose from. They asked if I would do a video tour of my studio. The studio isn’t completed yet, but it is OH SO CLOSE!

I would like to think that I would have been done already had we not had to replace a microwave, AC/Furnace (OUCH!!!!) and repair the dishwasher. Of course there is the fact that I just removed 28 trees and shrubs and have to replace quite a few of those too. Ahhhh, homeownership is SO MUCH FUN. At least I think we are finally getting to the end of these things. But who knows. We didn’t plan on doing ANY of that and it has absolutely drained our bank accounts dry. So everyone send my house good wishes for no more problems, okay? I am ready to get things finished up.

Even with all the stress of the above problems, things are going well. As many of you know, I was really nervous about moving to Utah. I am quite pleased to say how much I am actually enjoying it here. My neighbors are wonderful. The biking is so easy and accessible. We haven’t started our hiking yet, but hopefully soon. The girls really  miss their friends, and so do I, but we are making new friends and having new adventures. So all in all, it hasn’t been bad at all. In fact, it has been quite fun.

Okay, okay, without further ado, here is the studio tour. Enjoy


Studio Progress

While there are still a few major things that need to be done, the studio is almost finished. It finally looks like a studio and not just a mess. Even my husband walked in there the other night after I had been doing more work on organizing things and said, “Wow, it looks like your studio again.” I have to agree. Sadly, it really isn’t to the point where I can teach classes yet. Though, I would be able to do some of my own work in there.


This is how it currently looks when you walk into the studio. I will be
putting in a sink where the black cabinet currently sits. I will take my
beloved black cabinet into another room when the sink finally arrives.
As you can see, I still need to hang a light and also put up some
shelving and artwork on this wall.

The little black boxes on the soldering table are individual fume exhausters made for small scale soldering. It pulls the fumes away and filters it out. They aren’t inexpensive, but they were an answer to the question of how to work the ventilation in this studio…. something that has been a source of much contemplation. I will be doing a Tool Time Tuesday post on these in the next few weeks.


None of the doors have been painted or rehung yet. I still need to do that. You can see the new door we installed just across the hall. The room across the hall is rather large, but had a very small door and was in an awkward place making it difficult to get any furniture or anything into it. So we decided we would add one ourselves. Now that I had my husband install one that has the windows, I have fallen in love with it and hope to replace the two doors into the studio with similar doors. I like that I can see out into the hall way.

The yellow cord there at the bottom of the soldering table will have an electrical box installed and I will run a power strip on the top of the table so I can plug in the ventilation and pickle pots. And check out those chairs. I found them for $10 each! WOOT! I couldn’t pass that up. They are a little worn, but nothing that a little bit of sanding and re-staining won’t take care of.


Ahhhhh, aren’t the new tables pretty? And look, I have room for more tools. Can’t beat that.


This is another as you enter the studio, just panning to the left.


This is what the room looks like from the tool section. Again, I still need to paint and rehang the doors on the closets.


This is looking at the room from the back entrance to the studio. I need to come up with some lamps for the big work bench. There is enough light from the overhead ones, but it isn’t good enough for doing any type of detail work. Sadly, this means I will have to run a cord from under the table to a plug on a wall, which means I have to do one of those cord cover things to keep people from tripping. BLAH!


Another shot from the same entrance. I hope to find a nice comfy chair to put next to the fireplace under the three pictures on the wall. This would be a great place to kick back, turn on the fire and look through my books and magazines.


I found these little carts at IKEA. I guess they are TV stands, but they work perfectly under the tables we built in the tool area. I can organize the tools so they are in the location for that type of work. For instance, this cart sits in the forging area and is located just below the “wall of hammers.”

Well, that is the tour for now. Like I said, there is still a lot of work to be done. And I still haven’t found some things. For instance, I have yet to find my beloved saws. But I hope to find them this week as I try to finish things up even more.

All in all, it is a great place and not too shabby for a basement studio. I know, I am so spoiled.



The old windows in the house had a lot of broken seals and some just didn’t fit right due to either installation or settling of the house. So yesterday the two windows in the studio were replaced with new windows. I love the darker tinting and ease of use with the new windows. One thing I am not happy with and didn’t realize until they were installed, but they didn’t replace my windows with the same sizes. I mean, they fit in the opening, but now the middle glass is larger than the two outer windows, and before, they were all the same. However, now I can actually open both windows at the same time.

But they are easy to use, and I mean EASY. I LOVE THAT! We bought the windows through American Exteriors. I don’t know if I would recommend them yet or not, I will have to keep you posted. But so far they do seem to be nice windows.


It is so nice to be able to see through the window without looking through a bunch of fog and moisture.

Utah Studio is Coming Along

Wow, we have been here for a full month already. In some ways it seems like we have been here forever and in others it seems like just yesterday we were just learning we were even going to be moving to Utah. I haven’t cared for the weather here so far. It seems, just as in other places in the US right now, that winter does not want to leave. We get various teasers, but for the most part, winter weather is what we have had. I am really missing my bike rides and am anxious to get them started again.

Next week I have the opportunity to participate in a medical study related to the issues that I had with my last baby that resulted in her having 9 blood transfusions (4 of which happened before she was even born.) I will be in Indianapolis for a couple of days, with one day being completely open. Does anyone live in the area and would like to get together? Let me know and I will give you the particulars. Otherwise, I will plan on just hanging out at the mall and nearby art museums.

In other news, the studio is coming together. I am starting to get really excited, no I am not, I have been excited for a long time. But I am getting more and more antsy to use the place. Some parts of the room actually look like it is getting close to being done. I love looking at the end of the room that has the fireplace. Just a couple more boxes to remove and that end of the room will look great.

Look, you can even see part of the table tops on the student work bench. YAY! I still need to paint the coset doors and attach the handles. I found these really cool forged iron handles that I am going to use as door pulls. But I need to get some new hinges as the originals are all brass.

We also figured out how to use the fireplace. It had to be wired for the switch and everything. But when we flipped the switch, only the pilot light would come on. But I found the remote for it and now I can have a beautifully inviting fire in the fireplace. (obviously, I still have a few things to clean up on the mantle.)

The forging area and equipment tables are finally finished as well.


It is still a big mess right now, but that is just because I am still trying to figure out where to put everything and all the associated accessories. I can’t wait to have it done and do the proper studio tour.

I even have a little helper. Our new home has central vacuum. I haven’t had one of those before. But my baby LOVES the fact that she can now help out. In fact, you should hear the screams when we make her stop. HAHAHA


Now if only I could get her to keep that love of cleaning. Why is it that they want to help and do the cleaning when they really aren’t able to, and when they are old enough to do it and do a good job at it, they refuse to? Sigh.

One area that hasn’t really had any attention paid to it yet is the sink area. In fact, there isn’t a sink yet. I still need to do some shopping for that.


Sigh, what a mess.

But all in all, it is coming together.

What a move… (long)

Well, we have been here for 2 weeks now. I cannot believe that much time has already passed. It has been an interesting move to say the least. Our items came and some made it unharmed, and others, well, not so much. The house is big and that has taken a bit to get used to. There are a lot of projects to do in here as the house is 13 years old and some things haven’t been maintained as they should have been. So that has been keeping us VERY busy.

Today as a reward for getting one bathroom unpacked and finished, my closet almost finished and a few other boxes unpacked, I went on a bike ride. There are biking trails all over the place here. It is an extremely family friendly and bike friendly place. It isn’t the Columbia River Gorge, mind you, but it is nice and accessible.

We are finally starting to work a little bit on the studio. The walls were already up with the electrical run. But that is pretty much the extent of it. There are can lights in the room (21 of them to be exact) and some of those need to be changed out as it isn’t good lighting for working on detailed projects like I do in my classes.

I started to put things together in my studio, but then realized quite quickly how dumb that was since the walls aren’t finished. So this is what it has looked like for the past few days.






I unloaded several boxes, but you could barely tell I had even made a dent. And you know what? It took a lot of time to empty these boxes….


I bought a 5 gallon bucket of primer and will be working on the walls and ceiling tonight. Kiari is enjoying the carpet with the tarps on the floor.


It looks like I have a great blue whale in my studio at the moment. HAHAHA


I have really been having a hard time with this move since we have run into several issues with the house that the inspector should have caught and didn’t. So we have had to put out a lot of extra money that we weren’t planning on to take care of some BIG issues. It has been difficult, mentally and emotionally. But yesterday as we were outside taking care of one of those issues, we saw this….


How can that not make you feel even a LITTLE bit better? It was actually a double rainbow, but the second one didn’t really show up with my cell phone camera.

Also, Kate’s school is only about 1/2 a mile from here, so we have been walking and yesterday morning as I was pondering all the issues we are having and my feelings, I saw this….


The sky was totally gray and cloud covered and then there was one little spot that opened up and the sun was so bright. It was just beautiful.

Okay, so this didn’t get posted last week as I had planned. So let me show you what I have accomplished….
















Tomorrow, I will tape the rest of the room off and paint the rest of the walls. I have chosen a light gray color to go with the dark gray on the walls you see above. My Father-in-law will be here starting tomorrow and we will build the rest of the tables and then I can get putting things back together. I am getting closer and closer each day. YAY!