15 October 2010

Talk About Blog


I'm part of an amazing group of artists known as the Handmade Division.
Each month, as a collective, we try to answer and/or discuss a particular question.

October's query:
Tell us about yourself:
How did you get to where you are now with your skills?


HA!
Oh, where to be begin . . .
I'm a mishmash of education tidbits and largely self taught.
Not exactly Ms. Professional.

Like some others I know,
I began making jewelry as a hobby.
I was a beader.



First a stringer, then learning to wire-wrap,
slowly trying out some hammering techniques,
then moving to a soldering iron and base metal.
Beading was and can still be a complete joy,
but somehow it wasn't quite satisfying.
(BTW, I really need to get that destash shop up and running.)

I went to community college for two years,
getting all the basic subjects out the way and trying to save up some money.
During that time I attended weekly classes
on basic smithing at the community art center.
They have excellent teachers in Raleigh and allow access to the metal studio
space for a nominal fee,
so I was able to practice outside of classes.

Finding I loved it
(though I was admittedly terrible!)
I slowly began collecting my own tools and supplies,
mainly at flea markets and garage sales, and even Craigslist on occasion.
That's right, there are no Fretz hammers around here!
I still have my first hammer and use regularly,
as well as my original vises and anvils.
All pretty banged up,
but efficient, and I think quite charming.




After community college, I attended the College of Design over at NC State.
They didn't offer metals classes,
so I did an inter-institutional program that allowed me to take the smithing classes
at the all girls school down the street.
I studied with Sydney Scherr for one semester.
It was enough to solidify my interest and secure the notion of what I wanted to do with my life.
Sydney, but the way, found my early work "very uninspiring."
:)

I continued taking community center classes for the duration of my university stay.
My actual degree is in "Art and Design."
I did everything from painting to photography to textile design and graphic work.

After graduation I attended classes at Penland
I left early, however.
I'd met and fallen for Keith just a little bit before leaving,
and I was anxious to get home.

I worked in several jewelry stores and beading/supply shops,

until being laid off in early 2008.



What does a girl do in this economy with nothing more than an art degree?
I tried to make mine work on my behalf.
Since the lay-off, I've tried to keep teaching myself and,
through trial and error,
highs and lows,
have gotten where I am . . .

To Rosy.


* * * * *

Read my teammates' answers to October's Talk About on their respective blogs:

15 comments:

  1. AND when you're ready to take students, I'm there, dear artist.

    Pullen is all well and good but I am dying to learn specifics and ask dumb questions without being concerned about the audience (like MUST one use acetylene? Can you just solder with an iron?).

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  2. My very first painting professor in my very first oils class told me I was the worst student he had ever had. That I was the only person who had regressed instead of progressed. I thought he was bitter and angry that I stood up for my self and my work on the first day of class (and every day after that), so I walked out mid-semester and kissed his attitude goodbye.

    And then proceeded to paint and paint and paint.


    I've loved reading your path. Keep marching forward sister.

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  3. How lucky that you got to go to Penland... maybe we could meet up and do a workshop there together someday.

    xox :)

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  4. Things happen for a reason...to where you ended up today...and I'm so glad you did! My technical journey is very similar...with the exception of the classes and working at bead shops. I started with beading and knew for a long time where I wanted to go....silversmithing...was able to get some mentoring in that vein...not enough though....and i move at a snails pace with my technical work...but atleast I'm moving...hope to gain momentum there with more practice! Thanks for sharing! Sue♥

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  5. So happy you are where you are now. Your work is incredible. xo

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  6. Always love your witt. Thanks for sharing. Amazing photos as well!

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  7. Very uninspiring huh? Somehow I just can't imagine you making something uninspiring!
    I love reading all these stories on how we landed where we did :o)

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  8. So glad that you took those leaps that got you where you are today!

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  9. 'very uninspiring'? seriously? that's just...shocking. i love what you do. keep on truckin.

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  10. loved your post, as always, and wonderful to read about your journey to Now~

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  11. Jess,
    Your path is the way it was supposed to be. It's an amazing story and you've obviously grown through it all into an amazing woman with a clearly-defined purpose. I've believed in you since day one, you know. Keep up the great work and always believe in yourself.

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  12. I still have my first hammer I used to smith with - my dad made it for me!
    I try to keep teaching myself always -the highs and lows are what makes us artists ( i think!)
    xo
    Jaime

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  13. great post! and fabulous work!!! :D

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  14. A great read! Artist Bio is so interesting...
    xo

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  15. I'm with Sybil. I see the fine work of "teacher" in your near future... =) Seriously.

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