Dave Alderson's Biography
When Idaho silversmith Dave Alderson was accepted into the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA) in 2002. The prestige and recognition this honor entails were well-deserved for an artist who has spent much of his life doing exquisite work under someone else's name.
Dave grew up on the prairie of South Dakota. From an early age, he was interested in pretty things that came from the earth. As a teenager, he collected beautiful rocks and even panned for gold. Then when he was 16, He befriended a silversmith in Deadwood. Without a car, he would often spend several hours a day walking to and from her shop. She taught him to silver solder.
Daves first project was a ring - a Mother's Day gift for his mom. He got a pretty stone and set it in a ring. He even ornamented the piece with some gold he had panned in a South Dakota creek. Finally, it was finished, and he set off for home afoot to present his gift to his mother.As I recall "I lost it on the way home, I was panic stricken. Fell right out of my pocket." Retracing his steps, Alderson found the ring and his mom still has it today.
The Alderson family moved to California. In 1978, in Atascadero, Dave saw an engraving ball for the first time in his uncles saddle shop . Knowing of his nephew's interest in working with metal,he introduced Dave to Gordon Hayes, owner of Bits of Silver. "Gordon asked me if I could solder,"as I remembered, "then he asked me, 'what time can you show up in the morning?' I said I'd be there at eight."
Dave worked at Bits of Silver for about ten years. When he started, he was mostly confined to soldering. I longed to engrave but no one would show him how. "Finally one day I cornered one of his kids, "I asked him how he made those cuts. He showed me and for the next six months I practiced at home very night for hours. I would nail a piece of copper to a block of wood and practice on that. After I like what I saw, I showed Gordon. Then he let me engrave a little.
While working for Hayes, Dave had the opportunity to meet and learn from Tracy White and other prominent and talented silvermiths and engravers.
Since leaving Bits of Silver, Dave has done silver work for several jewelers and silver companies as well as himself. Because he worked under someone else'sname for some time, Dave's personal reputation as an exceptional craftsman was slow in coming. Ernie Marsh, a founding member of the TCAA, recognized the beauty and quality of Dave's work and encouraged him to apply for membership in that prestigious association. His bid was successful and the talent of the boy who loved beautiful things from the earth was finally recognized.
Today Dave works from his home in Twin Falls, Idaho, where he turns out exquisite silver pieces. His work is prized for its fine hand engraving and quality craftsmanship
" I am a silversmith that ain't really a cowboy but a lover of the west and what it stands for!! I participated in the TCAA for 13 yrs,engraver of the yr AWA,recipient of the Idaho council on the arts Governors Award for Folk Art and lover of great creativity in silver and what ever else we make art with!!!! Most of all,a free spirited American Artist with to may fires to put out. I love teaching and sharing what I have learned and making things that I want to make as well as custom orders that I allow me to use my creativity to express my style and technical capabilities!!! I love hunting and shooting,training my dogs and flyfishing and seeing others doing the things that give them their sense of joy and happiness!!! That is who I really am."