|William Fretz got his start in jewelry making while in high school in Pennsylvania. His essay "Creativity" was read at the graduation ceremonies. He graduated with High Honors, and received a BFA from The Rochester Institute of Technology's School for American Craftsmen in 1969. Since then, he has shown his work in galleries and juried shows in the United States and Mexico. He taught silversmithing at the Cleveland Institute of Art, and jewelry at The Portland School of Art.
It was during this time that his regrinding of hammers and stakes would
later lead to tool design.
Bill opened his first workshop in 1970 in
St. Peters, Pennsylvania with his wife Marian. In 1974 they moved
to Keenebunkport, Maine. This was the same year that they both
were in the World Silver Show in Mexico City. Over the years he has won numerous awards and commissions, including a commission from Paul Newman to make a presentation sculpture for the Hole in the Wall Camp. In 2000, Mr. Fretz, working with Jordan Fretz,
won first place in the Maine Jewelers Association's Annual Design
Contest for a 22K mesh bracelet.
In 2001, he began making models for a
line of jewelers' tools. These tools are now being distributed by major
catalog companies. In July, 2004, Mr. Fretz won a Maine Technology Institute Grant to design new stakes and a hammer to go with these new tools.
Today his line of hammers is manufactured is his son, Jordan's,
workshop in Vietnam. Bill and his wife continue their design work
in Buckport, Maine.