We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrew Vandekop and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrew, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I have been a creator my entire life. I received my first of four US patents when I was 22 years old. However, I was only able to become a full-time creative and make it my career when I began sharing my work with the public. Silversmithing was an art form I originally learned from my grandfather when I was a teenager but I didn’t really utilize that skill until about 5 years ago. My wife and I began sharing my first jewelry creations at art fairs and festivals in the DFW area and people were always asking me how I made certain pieces. We realized that maybe people would enjoy seeing the creative process in real time and so we decided to transition from my backyard to a workshop that people could visit. People can see how the jewelry is made and support the art by purchasing my pieces on-site. Visitors can also see the progress of another project that I’m working on with my parents – a system that can map the depth of groundwater under a property.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art is basic. I take a chunk of the purest silver I can find (.999), and hit it with a hammer, chisel, saw, or blowtorch, to create something that both me and the person who purchased it think is beautiful. In pursuing my art, I do have 3 lessons that I’ve learned that I think any artist or creator can benefit from: 1. Do something that you love. It will show in your product, it will show in your health, and the people you come in contact with will feel your passion. 2. Put your name on your work. Each piece of jewelry that I make is clearly stamped with our name. I get such pride when someone from another state or country calls me because they’ve seen one of my pieces and asks me to create one for them too. 3. Surround yourself with bright people you trust. Virtually all of my creations started with an initial idea from me, but were shaped and refined by my family and friends.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them to the Perot Museum and the Dallas Museum of Art. Walking the halls, you will be reminded of the awesome beauty of our world and the incredible pieces that someone created in their studio. Some of these pieces were created more than 100 years ago, and some last month. So it’s nice to know there are people that are dedicated to making the world beautiful.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Thinking about my life today, I want to credit the beginning of my story to my grandfather. Ronald Couch was a silversmith in England. He spent countless, patient hours every summer teaching me the art of silversmithing. But it was my wife Teisha who turned my art into my career. She came up with the idea that people would actually like to see the jewelry being made and had the vision for what our workshop experience is today. I would also like to recognize my mother and father, Franz and Bridget Vandekop, for starting what has become my next great adventure. Back in 1998, my dad and I (mostly my dad because he’s brilliant), created a system to use electromagnetic waves to identify layers of groundwater. My mom, who graduated in geography and geology, was able to decode the first sets of electromagnetic wave recordings from the system. Now, in 2021, with the support of a small team of co-inventors, we’ve been granted a new patent and will be launching a new service for helping farmers find groundwater for crops and livestock. So today, with the assistance of my grandfather, my wife and my parents, I get to spend 4 days a week silversmithing, and one day a week in the field operating our water finding equipment.
Other: Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/backyardsilver/_created/