A Lost Cufflink…

 In Blog

Our friend and silvermith extroadinaire, Wendy Krag, founder of KragSilversmith.com, puts down her tools and backs away from the bench to tell you more about how her collaboration with CfR came about, starting back almost one hundred years ago.

Wendy Krag O’Neil today and with her grandfather Frederick Colby in his Detroit studio 1992

How a lost cufflink in the 1930’s lead me to Casting for Recovery…    

Back in the 1930’s when my grandfather took classes in silver-smithing so that he could replace a lost cufflink given to him by my grandmother, he never dreamed he was starting a family tradition…. 

It all started for me, when I was 19, after my freshman year in college. Because of my interest in the arts, my grandfather, award winning silversmith Frederick Colby, generously gave me the opportunity to spend time with him in his basement studio in suburban Detroit. I learned some basic techniques and quickly realized that this was something that I was keen to pursue. For the next few summers, along with apprenticing for my grandfather, I took classes in Detroit and eventually found my way to Santa Fe, New Mexico where I resided and worked in silver for over a decade.

While living in Santa Fe, my husband Tom, introduced me to fly fishing.   I will never forget, early on, fishing the Rio Grande on a cold winters day with him.  I sat down to adjust my fly and quickly realized that my waders had frozen to the rock I was sitting on.  What had I gotten myself into?  It only took a couple of day trips to the San Juan and Pecos Rivers (and some warmer weather) to get me hooked on fly fishing.  I found peace, solitude, and always felt utterly cleansed after a day on the river and it continues to take me to so many amazing places.

As you can imagine my two passions began to organically combine.  I made my first trout belt buckle for Tom that Christmas, and from there I was inspired to create a line of silver products that feature trout and fly fishing.   Sweet Tom always wears one of my fish buckles and it just took off from there.  Since then I have added several different kinds of fish including striped bass and bonefish. 

In 2002 Tom and I and our baby son moved back to the East Coast to be closer to my mother-in-law who was a breast cancer survivor for over a decade.  Her markers were on the rise and it was time for us to be by her side.  I think of her often in her battle and how I wish she could have met our daughter.  They would have been thick as thieves those two, but secretly, I think my mother-in-law from the Heavens had something to do with picking her out just for us. 

Last spring, in search of a break from the daily routine in the Berkshires, I found myself on the road heading east to the Fly Fishing Show in Marlborough Mass.  There, I was delighted to meet so many like minded people with a passion for fishing.  My catch of the day was discovering the inspirational mission of CfR and meeting Wendy Gawlik.   It was at this show that the idea of a CfR charm was born and launched shortly there after with Tiffany Greene.  

As my hands embrace the tools that have been passed through the generations of my family, I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to carry on a family tradition that all started with the lost cufflink.  I have enjoyed the circuitous paths and rivers that my creativity has taken me on and find great pride in projects that give back.  You can find my designs at www.kragsilversmith.com.

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