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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Two Cowboys on a Journey: Galts-Goldsmith - Calgary, Alberta

Have Fun and Make Money

(Learn: * Inspire: **** Amaze: * Live: ****)
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I received a phone call early in 2015 from a fella that introduced himself as James Galts-Goldsmith. He wanted a box of my Honey Nougat for his customers to hand out as gifts. He discovered it in a store on his way to the mountains and wanted to order more. 

I was in the middle of wrestling my way through Ayn Rand's 1,000 + page book - Atlas Shrugged - shortly after I contributed to the third movie instalment: "Who is John Galt", on Kickstarter. It was eerily surprising to hear from a guy with a similar and uncommon name during this exact time. Here is someone that is the Goldsmith to John Galt? It was a funny confluence of events, if someone was not playing a very clever practical joke on me. The week after I delivered the Nougat, and that is how I met James Galts-Goldsmith. No joke.

Galts-Goldsmith is a Jewellery Design Studio and Art Gallery located in the heart of Calgary.  A heritage house built in 1912 provides the backdrop for a unique display of handcrafted jewellery along with traditional and contemporary works of art.

Established in early 1978, James has been serving Calgarians and clientele from around the world for over 3 decades with his custom jewellery, painting and sculpting. He crafts every piece completely by hand with a matchless attention to detail and unique and inspiring designs.

If you ever have to find a born maker, then James is your man. Not many people live by a mantra or statement that defines them. James does. Here it is: "Life itself gives me the inspiration to create my art and nature provides me with the raw materials.  Whether jewellery, paintings, or sculpture… passion is to capture the beauty around us in pieces that will last for generations. I am an Artist, a Goldsmith, a Hand Engraver and a Sculptor. "


It is difficult for artists to make a living financially. Many will tell you that they cannot do anything but be an artist, and suffer for it financially. The personal emotional reward is phenomenal. Unfortunately, they often have to supplement the joy of creating, with income from another less inspirational source. A "day" job.

It is therefore very encouraging to listen to a seasoned artist like James when he shares his lifetime story on how he discovered making, and how he tapped into the personal and financial rewards that came from sharing his production. After three decades, James has done a lot of things in the making department. You can see his rock carvings in downtown Calgary. His paintings and jewellery travels the world.

However, it is the things he doesn't sell that caught our attention. The music instruments he made and still loves to play. The customized tools. His workbench. There is so much of a maker in the room that it is encouraging to just be around James' workplace.

He draws his inspiration from nature. If he is not at his desk or in his workshop creating, you find him hiking in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. 

James affirmed a common theme we discovered with every artist we've profiled thus far: When they make something from inspiration it has immediate value. "It sells" is what they will tell you. If you try to make something for someone else, it doesn't have the same success. Trying to anticipate what people want doesn't work so well. Somehow, the true part of the artist has gone missing. True art cannot be separated from its creator. It is what they are.

James' jewellery artwork is beautiful and we enjoyed the morning with him, in his workplace very much. Now, please enjoy the video with us.

Hendrik van Wyk

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