In the early years of World War Two my parents, Hans and Dorrie Meixner, as part of the war effort, went to work at The Chiloco Indian Agricultural School near Ponca City, Oklahoma.
Dad taught sheet metal working and Mom was the school nurse. It was at Chiloco that Dad met Cecil Dick, Art Teacher, Metal Worker, and Silver Smith. (Cecil would go on to become known as The Cherokee Artist of The Age)
As members of the faculty Dad and Cecil worked as colleagues teaching courses in metal work that would lead to employment for the students. The courses taught would also help in the war effort. Dad helped Cecil make tool steel punches that would imprint native symbols into the silver jewelry that Cecil was working on. That project helped develop my Dad’s interest in silversmithing as well as a friendship with Cecil Dick. From that friendship grew The Meixner Family history of silversmithing.
At a very early age I was aware of the bracelets Mom wore. We could hear her jingle as she came up the stairs at night to tell us “For the last time!” to set settle down and get to sleep. And I knew that Dad had made them and that sometimes he would make more. When you grow up with something, it becomes the usual thing and you don’t think much of it or that it is something special.
In the early seventies I would polish now and then for Dad, but it wasn’t until after I was married in 1977 that I made my first bracelet for my wife. I worked as a boat builder and ship’s carpenter and made furniture. It was another 12 years before I began to look at silversmithing in a serious manner. My brother had a shop of his own in the Southern Tier and was well established as a smith by this time. I was Dad’s helper doing his polishing when he was behind on orders or his arthritis was acting up. An injury took me out of the boat yard and I helped Dad as much as I could as I recuperated. I started a new job and at the same time became more involved with the jewelry work. By 1995 I was working at the bench as a smith with my own DBA, developing my own designs.
With my fathers death his bracelet designs have become legacy designs in the family and each of the shops have developed and continue to develop their own unique bracelet and jewelry designs.