“A Day in the Life” with local Calgary artist Milt Fischbein

Milt Fischbein is an independent jewelry artist and educator who discovered his love of working with precious metals about 25 years ago. More recently, Milt has shifted his studio practice to making filigree jewelry.

Filigree is an ancient goldsmithing technique that involves the creation of jewelry and other fine metal objects utilizing twisted strands of silver or gold wire. The word filigree is believed to be derived from two Latin words “filum” meaning wire and “granum” meaning granule, combined together to form Filigrana or its anglicized version – Filigree. Examples of filigree work have been found dating as far back as 500 BC.

Milt discovered filigree in 1996, while traveling in Malaysia where he happened upon a jewelry shop in Kota Bharu, specializing in filigree. He asked the shop owner for a tour of the workshop and was fascinated by the techniques used to create these beautiful filigree objects. Fast forward 18 years to 2014 when Milt started creating filigree objects in his studio in Calgary. He enjoyed the process immensely and began to focus on the creation of filigree jewelry and other small filigree objects.

Milt’s filigree collection is based on techniques developed by craftsmen more than a thousand years ago. He has been fine-tuning these ancient techniques in his Calgary, Alberta studio, to create a body of contemporary silver and gold filigree jewelry. Milt is one of only a handful of metal artists in North America whose studio practice focuses on the design and fabrication of filigree. Milt has been sharing his knowledge of and his passion for filigree through workshops and lectures. He is a member of the Alberta Craft Council.

His works have been published in Edmonton’s Where Magazine and Alberta Craft Magazine. A write up on his studio was featured in the July 2017 issue of the MJSA (Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America) Journal.

Milt Fischbein
Stomping around Alberta with my wife of 35 years. We stopped to see the “World’s Largest Duck” in Andrew Alberta. – Photo Credit: Milt Fischbein
Creating filigree jewelry in my studio. – Photo Credit: Milt Fischbein
Teaching a 5 day Introduction to Filigree class at Summer Series Art School, at Red Deer College, July 2019. – Photo Credit: Natasha Kapty
My Daughter Emma, modeling one of the Tiaras from my filigree Crown and Tiara Series. – Photo Credit: Milt Fischbein
Hamsa/Hand of Fatima filigree pendants. Left Pendant is Rose Gold and Fine Silver, Right Pendant is Fine Silver and Sterling Silver, both set with Amber cabochons. – Photo Credit: Milt Fischbein
Some of the great work produced by my students at a 5 day Introduction to Filigree Jewellery workshop I taught in July, at Series Summer Art School at Red Deer College. – Photo Credit: Milt Fischbein
Filigree Tree of Life pendant. 14kt rose gold and fine silver. – Photo Credit: Milt Fischbein
Asymmetrical Filigree Earrings from the Mandala series. Sterling Silver and Fine Silver. – Photo Credit: Milt Fischbein

What ‘hood are you in?

My Studio is located in South West Calgary

What do you do?

I hand fabricate filigree jewelry using traditional goldsmithing techniques developed over a thousand years ago.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on pieces to add to my “Mandala” Series. I am also in the planning stages on an exhibition series that will be based on photographs that I took during a vacation in Morocco in 2017

Where can we find your work?

In Calgary, my work can be found at the Alberta Craft Council Gallery Store in c-Space King Edward, as well as the Glenbow Museum Gift Shop. In Edmonton, my work can be found at the Alberta Craft Council Gallery Store on 106 st

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