As the country shifted focus earlier this summer to a long-overdue focus on racial justice, one organization came to the forefront in the jewelry community - the non-profit education program We Wield the Hammer. Started in 2019, We Wield the Hammer was founded by Oakland metal artist Karen Smith after an apprenticeship in Dakar, Senegal. Karen was a "sensation" as the only woman in her workshop, in a country where the craft of metalsmithing traditionally passes from father to son, and the saying goes that "women do not wield the hammer".
Karen returned to Oakland and established We Wield the Hammer to buck this paradigm, offering training and support to young women of African descent who are interested in a career as a metalsmith. The 8-week program is free to participants and offers training in fabrication, design, and the business of jewelry making.
Formerly incubating out of a local metalwork school on a space-available basis, Karen and We Wield the Hammer are now raising funds to acquire, equip and build out a dedicated studio space, where they can continue the program in 2021 and beyond. Finding a suitable home in the Bay Area is a unique challenge, and the program needs all the support it can get to be able to move into the right space. Once settled, WWTH has big plans to grow an urban apprenticeship program, offer workshops, and eventually branch out internationally to offer the program in Dakar, Senegal - where the seed was planted.
We are so excited to support this Black-owned nonprofit right here in Oakland (home of our own studio and flagship retail shop) with a raffle! We hope that with your support, we can help We Wield the Hammer get the studio space they need and relaunch successfully in 2021.
You can enter to win one of three amazing ring stacks donated by our wonderful artists. Tickets are $25 and you can purchase as many as you like - all proceeds will be donated to We Wield the Hammer. Click on a stack to purchase tickets and enter!
Purchase raffle tickets through Monday, October 5th 9:00am PST. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, October 7th!
100% of proceeds go to We Wield The Hammer
Thanks so much to the artists who donated their work for this raffle: Adeline, Anthony Lent, Jennie Kwon, Katerina LaPenne, Lauren Wolf Jewelry, Melissa Joy Manning, Nan Collymore, Rebecca Overmann, Sarah Swell, Scosha, TenThousandThings, WWAKE.