HALLIE and STAN KATZ
From the beginning
My story has always been our story.
Stan, my husband, has been my main cheerleader and completely involved with me in our business since we rented our first studio in 1970.
I was already making jewelry in high school when we met, and he was at L.A. Trade Tech learning to be a sheet metal journeyman. I made earrings and necklaces while he made stainless steel restaurant equipment. As they say, it was a match made in heaven!
Inspired by a wonderful jewelry teacher in high school I set out to learn more about handcrafting jewelry. After a summer apprenticeship at a local jewelry store, I enrolled at Cal State Northridge for their extensive metalsmithing program. And I got lucky – while still in college I landed a job teaching jewelry at Barnsdall Arts and Crafts Center in Los Angeles.
Our first ten years in business
Meanwhile, Stan and I rented a studio in Sherman Oaks, which we called Hallie’s Alley, and began teaching private classes as well. A few years later we moved to a much larger space in Studio City with two classrooms and a retail store. Stan sold tools and supplies for jewelers and I taught all facets of jewelry making to hobbyists and professionals. We also opened a showroom and gallery next door.
A new life in Ojai
In 1980 friends in Ojai CA called and invited us to join them as partners in their gallery, Running Ridge, which they 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 surrounded by mountains that attracted artists, writers, musicians, actors, spiritual groups and nature lovers about 80 miles up the coast from LA.
We began designing 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 my clients’ gems.
I’ve always been a designer and maker, while Stan’s role is technical support, production assistant, and business administrator. It’s been a team effort since day one.
In 1991 we became sole owners of the gallery, and re-named it HumanArts. From then on, HumanArts was our chief retail outlet and we stopped doing shows around the country. We really enjoyed being in the gallery meeting patrons who became friends, and visitors to the beautiful Ojai Valley.
In Ojai’s historic Arcade shopping district for a total of 45 years, HumanArts exhibited the work of over 150 local and nationally known artists and became an arts destination in Southern California.
Retirement (but not!)
We began to think about retirement from the retail biz in 2019. We wanted to teach jewelry classes again, in our own studio. When COVID came along in March 2020, the plan was in the works. After intermittent closures due to the Pandemic, we had a final sale and closed the gallery for good August 31, 2020.
The next task was to renovate our studio and by summer of 2022 we started offering two-day workshops once a month in basic silversmithing, stone setting, lost wax casting and more.
It’s been 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’ve had some experience and want to learn different techniques. We can also recommend resources and tools you’ll need if you’re going to work on your own.
Thanks for perusing our new website!
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.