Gold and silver-smithing shop showcases artists ‘whacky inventions’
Tim McLean, owner and operator of McLean Jewelry in Cayucos, sees art and potential everywhere he looks, and what’s more, he takes action to bring that potential to life.
He does it in his gold and silver-smithing work, in his self-proclaimed whacky inventions, writing and performing music and in refurbishing the historic building where he has owned and operated his jewelry business for the past 38 years.
The jewelry McLean makes is contemporary and starts with his annual trips to Tucson where he peruses thousands of gems and stones looking for the ones that provoke images of art. “Starting off with a beautiful gem stone as a focal point, that’s what inspires me. I specialize in rare gems, Tahitian pearls, black pearls.”
As McLean prepares to close his retail space at the end of the year, he plans some big close-out extravaganzas and reflects on the last four decades.
He agonized over his decision to close his retail space. “This is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” he said. “I just want to work on more artistic pieces without distractions. At times, I’m doing things that require absolute total focus.”
McLean’s artistic expression extends to the very building in which he works. He rented the structure that contained no plumbing when he first arrived in Cayucos. “I used to haul in five gallons of water each day then get by on that…I’ve restored every part of this building.”
McLean was voted Citizen of the Year in 2009 for one of his inventions: a cigarette-butt receptacle called, Please Butt In. McLean invented the apparatus then donated it to the town because he was “so sick of cleaning up cigarette butts.” Now, volunteers empty the receptacles.
“I emptied them for quite a while then volunteers came on board to carry the torch,” he said. “In the summertime, we collected two pounds of cigarette butts per week.”
Firmly dedicated to his Cayucos home, McLean may be changing the way his business runs, but he’s happy where he is. “Cayucos is a magical town — it’s a great place to live, and it’s been a great place to work.”
McLean Jewelry is located at 180 North Ocean Ave. in Cayucos. For more information, go to mcleanjewelry.com.
– Paula McCambridge