Artist In Residence : Thomas Mann



Despard is pleased to announce they will be hosting New Orleans based artist and Designer Thomas Mann for a month long residency in October and November of 2015.

Thomas Mann has been an active participant in the contemporary American craft movement for the past thirty years as an artist, gallery owner and lecturer. He describes himself as an artist working in the medium of jewelry and sculpture. The primary design vocabulary which he employs in the making of jewelry objects combines industrial aesthetics and materials and with evocative romantic themes and imagery. He calls this design system Techno.Romantic ̈. Though it is not the only design mode in which he works, it is the one for which he and his work is best known. Thomas Mann lives and works in New Orleans where he oversees a jewelry design and production studio, a sculpture studio, and gallery. He currently exhibits his jewelry and sculpture with some 250 galleries and stores in the US and abroad, and at premier craft events around the US. Thomas Mann describes himself as an artist working in the medium of metal. Actually he sees himself more as a sculptor than a jeweler, a term he denies as inaccurate with vigor. A self-employed artist since 1970, he is best known for his Techno- Romantic Jewelry Objects,® a style he invented in the late 1970s and pursued intensely over the next 20 years. Originally from Pennsylvania, the artist exhibited his work at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 1977 and has called New Orleans home ever since. Though it might be more accurate for him to call the United States at-large his home, since he spends most of his time on the road exhibiting at as many as 15 nationally juried craft and art events each year, in addition to teaching workshops and public speaking. Somehow, he still finds time to oversee the management and art direction of a jewelry and sculpture studio and retail gallery with a very capable staff of fourteen. Since the turn of the century he has moved away from his signature Techno-Romantic® design vocabulary towards edgier jewelry designs that are, in some cases, models for large-scale sculpture.



The Found Object Sandwich™

(FOS) – Personal Pin Making – The Photo Assemblage Brooch

2 Day Workshop 21 & 22 October

Workshop Fee $370.00

Material Kit: $80 for kit with cold connecting tools and colour booklet $40 kit materials only

Student level: Beginner to Advanced

This workshop offers the opportunity to explore the design concepts and fabrication techniques important to an assemblage approach to jewellery making. FOS introduces an unusual cold connection system from which, students can extrapolate other jewellery engineering solutions. Mann will lead workshop participants in the creation of their own found object creations. Students are encouraged to bring photographs (old, new or magazine) and found objects such as buttons, heirloom jewellery or materials they find on the streets or in nature, and industrial materials (chain, electronic parts, etc.). to incorporate in the design and fabrication of a personal wearable expression.

Note: this workshop requires participants to know “How to Saw” using a jewellers saw.


Forge IT

26 October 9am – 4pm

Clarence Studio

Workshop Fee $185.00

Material Kits: $25.00

Student Level:Beginner – Intermediate

Type of Workshop: Process

Prerequisite: None

This is NOT smashing it, nope, and its definitely NOT hammering it, this is….FORGING! Let Thomas Mann give you an introduction to the way metal can move, not unlike clay, when specialised hammers are applied strategically.

Forging Basics: The tools, The Technique, The Potentials

Materials: Copper, Brass, Silver
Projects: Bangles, Cuffs & Chains

Student should bring:

Make sure to bring your notebook and if you have them, your own basic set of metalsmithing tools:
jeweler’s saw
files and rivet
chasing hammers.

All of the tools that are peculiar to the techniques we will be exploring will be provided for use in class, as well as for purchase.  If you have your own planishing hammer or bracelet mandrels, feel free to bring them with you!

To book please contact the gallery, spaces are limited.


Spin IT – Intensive Flex-Shaft Workshop

23 October, 9am – 4pm

Clarence Studio

Workshop Fee: $185.00

Student Level: Beginner – Intermediate

Type of Workshop: Process

Prerequisite: None

Material Kit Fee :$20.00

Let Thomas Mann be the one to introduce you to the tool that wins the contest for the most VERSATILE tool on the metalsmith’s workbench — The Flexible Shaft Machine. It is also one of the most INDISPENSABLE tools that a serious artisan must master in order to MAKE at an elevated level, but one that jewellers rarely use to its maximum advantage. From burs to buffs to burnishers to bits, you’ll learn the basics & also a few secrets that only Mann can bring you from his 40+ years as a jewelry artist.

Your finished projects include a custom drill index & a carved object in your choice of material uniquely designed by you.



LM book copy

Thomas Mann will present a series of small works created while on residency in Hobart. Due to open at Despard Gallery on 30 October from 5:30pm. More details to be released soon.