HALLIE and STAN KATZ
From the beginning
My story has always been our story.
I was already making jewelry in high school when we met. Stan was at L.A. Trade Tech learning to be a sheet metal journeyman and went to work making stainless steel restaurant equipment.
Inspired by my high school teacher, I set out to pursue jewelry making as a career. After a summer apprenticeship at a local jewelry store, I enrolled at Cal State Northridge for their extensive metalsmithing program. Recommended by a professor, I landed a job teaching at Barnsdall Arts and Crafts Center in Los Angeles, which I did for two years.
Our first ten years in business
By 1970 Stan quit sheet metal, we rented a studio which we called Hallie’s Alley, and began teaching private classes. He has been my main cheerleader and completely involved in our business since day one.
A few years went by, the school grew, and we moved to a larger space with two classrooms and a retail store. Stan sold tools and supplies for jewelers, I taught the classes, and we opened a gallery next door to show our work and other artists.
A new life in Ojai
In 1980 friends in Ojai, California called and invited us to join them as partners in their gallery, Running Ridge, which had opened in 1975. It took all of 15 minutes to decide to do it! We sold our jewelry school to a colleague and moved to Ojai, a charming town about 80 miles north of LA that attracted artists, writers, musicians, actors, spiritual groups and nature lovers.
We designed a line of silver and gold jewelry which sold successfully for 12 years at juried craft shows, galleries, and museum shops around the country. I also made a lot of custom work often using clients’ gems.
We became sole owners of the gallery in 1991 and re-named it HumanArts. From then on, HumanArts was our chief retail outlet and we really enjoyed being in the gallery to greet our local fans, loyal patrons and visitors.
In Ojai’s historic Arcade shopping district for a total of 45 years, HumanArts represented over 150 local and nationally known artists and became an art destination in Southern California.
Retirement (but not!)
We began to think about retirement from the retail biz in 2019 so we could teach jewelry classes again. When COVID came along in March 2020, our plan was in the works. After intermittent closures due to the Pandemic, the gallery had its final sale and closed for good on August 31, 2020. We began extensive renovation in our studio, and in June 2022 we started teaching two-day workshops once a month in beginning silversmithing, stone setting, and lost wax casting.
I’ve always been a teacher, writer, designer and maker, while Stan’s role is technical support, production assistant, and business administrator. He also has fun creating sculpture from found objects, and he makes a great teacher’s assistant too!
It’s exciting to see students become inspired, and a joy to share the passion that has kept us going all these years.
We hope you’ll join us in a class as a beginner, or if you’re more experienced and want to learn something new.
Hallie is a member of Ojai Studio Artists which hosts annual studio tours and exhibits. Her work can be seen at OVA Arts (Ojai Valley Artists), a co-op gallery in downtown Ojai.
Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.