Steve Deutsch Woodwinds and Willow Jewelry
A shop of mystery, magic and music
Deep in a forest, behind a shallow pond, there is a shop of Magic and Music. There are many signs to guide you to the small shop, because it’s not that easy to find. Also, there’s not actually a forest, but the shop does indeed seem magical. It is nestled amongst other businesses, behind a concrete pool and surrounded by plants right on First Street, downtown Benicia. The shop contains two businesses, Steve Deutsch Woodwind Repair, Etc. and Willow Jewelry. Steve and Willow are both spiritual beings, married in life and in business.
Steve Deutsch has a fascinating and diverse background in music. He began as a musician after being inspired by the alt rock band Traffic, a band that featured the flute in many of their songs. He bought a flute, taught himself how to read music and to play the flute. Thus began his love affair with all things music. He sang Beethoven’s 9th, played with a punk rock band, Latin bands, played big band, led his own group, and has been playing with Johnny Tolbert and de Thangs for the last 12 years. Diverse indeed.
Having been a musician for a while, Steve wanted to learn how to repair his own flute.
He got a set of flute pads as well as advice from George Koregelos at the House of Woodwinds, in Oakland. He took three days to repair his flute and he was happy to find that the flute played. He decided to get into repair seriously for two reasons; to really know how to fix a sax or flute properly, and to be in the music business, playing the music he wanted to without compromising his sense of musical integrity. He apprenticed at Marin Woodwinds with Mike Irwin, worked for himself for 10 years, spent 15 years at Best Instrument Repair in Oakland with Dick Akright, and now has his own shop here in Benicia. Steve has a love of older instruments, at least 50 years old, particularly the saxophones and clarinets. He says that the feel and touch of the instrument is completely different than today’s modern horns. The metal on a new instrument is different, and ultimately the sound is different, more generic. He believes that the pursuit of creating perfect sound through science has cost newer instruments a certain amount of richness and soul.
Steve works for schools all over the Bay Area, including Benicia, repairing instruments.
He and Willow both believe passionately that music and art education must be a priority for schools.
In addition to playing music and repairing instruments, Steve is an artist. His medium is acrylics, and his subject matter is musicians. His style is energetic and colorful and as he says, moves as if to music. He has a new recording to be released at the end of 2023; a mix of original compositions and one piece by Beethoven, which can be purchased in-shop and downloaded from his website, stevedeutschmusic.com. Talented and prolific, Steve is a true renaissance man.
There is no question that Willow is magical. Just looking at her you can see it, with her warm, calm and patient eyes set in an old-world face. She is a very old soul. Willow and Steve met about 8 years ago and discovered a mutual love of the arts. They traveled all over Europe and the States, visiting the great museums and studying the masters of many countries. She plays the trumpet, makes jewelry and is a healer.
Willow has been a jewelry maker for over 45 years.
She was inspired by the richness and variety of all the old Celtic, Chinese, Russian, Middle Eastern, and African designs that she saw at various galleries and exhibits many years ago. Following a path that she felt was based on her own past lives, she began to work on her designs. Over the years Willow studied shamanism, world religions and healing methods, which became represented in her art as well. As she worked with the stones and crystals, they began to work with and for her. She learned how to use them and determine how they interact with and influence the health and well-being of the stone’s wearers.
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Willow learned how to make wax-cast jewelry in the seventh grade. She thought she would be a veterinarian but due to dyslexia, struggled with the required math courses. She credits her dyslexia with directing her path to jewelry-making.
She is inspired by ancient Scythian (Russian) jewelry, which she saw in an exhibit of lost wax casting jewelry.
Not many jewelers use lost wax casting anymore because it’s so much work. Willow enjoys the work and the time it takes. She creates from history and imagination. Her work is fanciful and delicate, elaborate and simple, powerful and beautiful. She picks her stones according to their healing properties, and helps guide her customers to the jewelry that will work best for them, both in design and emotion. Willow has presented her work at science fiction and fantasy conventions, as well as Comic-Con for over 20 years. She still does the Scottish Highland Games in Pleasanton, but now enjoys working out of the shop. Willow’s style incorporates art nouveau, some art deco, Renaissance and Victorian styles. She favors design that is based in nature. She connects people with creation through her art and her spiritual practice.
Willow and Steve want the next generations to be taught to create with their minds and their hands.
Dream something and create it. Take something broken and make it new. Learn to see and appreciate art and to create their own.