About Randy Stromsoe
As a young man of 19, I began working with master silversmith, Porter Blanchard, who at the time was in his mid-80’s. His silver business was thriving and his clientele was impressive. I was quickly thrown into the mix and found myself in the unique position of having to work on and be responsible for challenging commissions: 14kt. gold trophy cups for Santa Anita Race Track, grand scale sterling silver punch bowls, ornate fish platters, and various silver commissions for the Hollywood set. This was not a traditional apprenticeship ... it was like a “light speed” understanding between us. I was an eager and attentive apprentice he was a powerhouse with a lot of information to share in a limited amount of time. Only a few years later, after Porter Blanchard’s passing, the shop was handed over to one of his two son-in-laws, Lewis Wise. His other son-in-law, Allen Adler had trained with Porter and then established his own successful business in 1959. Lewis merged together the flatware department and hollowware department which had been housed under two separate locations and thus became the inception of Porter Blanchard Silversmith’s Inc. I became shop superintendent. This is where I gleaned my knowledge of the tableware industry. I was suddenly responsible for filling huge orders for some of the nation’s leading finest retail stores: Gump’s San Francisco, Bullock’s Wilshire Beverly Hills, Cartier, Fortunoff, Shrieve Crump and Low and Geary’s to name a few.
I was attracted to the beauty of the Central Coast of California and moved from Los Angeles to Cambria to start my own small studio in late 1979. I had only a handful of tools, and no clients. In 1980, the Williamsburg Foundation (Colonial Williamsburg) launched what would be a 12 month search to find a qualified craftsman to fill a special order for the U.S. State Dept. They found and hired me to take care of the project. My classical training paid off.