Matthieu Cheminée is a jeweler, teacher, author, and photographer who has been visiting West Africa and researching the jewelry trade there for almost 20 years.

Tim McCreight is a jeweler, teacher, author, and publisher who has written and produced dozens of books and videos covering all aspects of modern metalsmithing.

In 2013, after a decade of research, Matthieu brought his concept and materials for a book about West African jewelry making to Tim's company, Brynmorgen Press. During the next year they worked closely together and traveled to Senegal in order to finalize the book. The result is called Legacy, Jewelry Techniques of West Africa, available from Brynmorgen Press.

Beyond being impressed with the talent and ingenuity of the craftsmen they came to know, both men were struck by the imbalance of resources affecting their peers. The Toolbox Initiative was formed as a way to assist the metalsmithing community in West Africa and to recognize them for their kindness and generosity during the research for the book.