Wendy Krag O'Neil currently in her studio in the Berkshires

Wendy Krag O'Neil currently in her studio in the Berkshires

 Wendy Krag O'Neil her grandfather Frederick Colby in his Detroit studio 1992

Wendy Krag O'Neil her grandfather Frederick Colby in his Detroit studio 1992

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. As I sit in my studio today in the Berkshires creating my silver belt buckles and designs, I credit his tutelage and support for my ability to follow in his footsteps.

It all started for me, after my freshman year in college at Denison University. My grandfather, award winning silversmith Frederick Colby, kindly and 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 Florence, Italy and eventually found my way to Santa Fe, New Mexico where I resided and worked in silver for over a decade.

My original designs are simple and classic and I am inspired by my surroundings and life’s journeys. While living in Santa Fe, my husband introduced me to fly fishing, which inspired me to create a line of belt buckles and silver products that feature trout. I now reside in Massachusetts and I am drawn to the sea. Beach combing the ragged coastline is one of my favorite pastimes and this is where my Island Buckle designs originated. As you can probably imagine the fishing here has been rather inspiring as well. There are so many more designs to come!

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 a lost cufflink.