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“The World’s Most Wonderful Enamels” from the “King O’ Pins”

Bill Spear got his law degree in Nebraska and moved to Alaska to become an assistant Attorney General.

But then he threw it all over to follow a passion sparked in him when he was four years old and saw some bright enamel pins from a military school.

He’d always liked to draw isolated objects. So, first as a hobby, then as a business: he started making drawings of objects and turning them into bright charming intricate enamel pins.

He has created over 2,000 designs. They include images you might never expect to see as a piece of jewelry: a DNA helix, a bellhop carrying suitcases, a diver in mid-air, a geisha, a crawling baby, bagpipes, or one of many different species of fish and birds and other sea creatures.

Husband Bob and I went to his shop in Juneau when we were there a few years ago. First we noticed that people all over this surprisingly small town were wearing collections of pins, all at once. Both men and women.

We tracked the pins down to their showcases at William Spear Design, and were delighted with these wee bits of wearable art, mostly hand-made. Each one is so particular that it seems like a fragment of a story. I have one of a Prairie-style house, and a dinosaur, and a book with wings, and a tube of artist’s paint. I have my eye on the high diver in the red bathing suit.

They’re irresistible. (And they range from about $5 to $20 each.) I’m so glad Bill Spear didn’t resist the urge to create them. And thanks to the article in Coastal Living magazine for info on his history.

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