Recently, a student from the UK contacted me about doing an interview for his program. I’ve decided to share a small portion of it here with you. These are my answers about my education and starting up.
I decided to go to art school when I was prompted by my high school drawing teacher. I had no intention of majoring in metals, but took an intro to jewelry course as an elective. I then took a metalsmithing course and that was where I figured out that this was what I was meant to do be doing.
As far as fitting me for a career in the industry… We did have a required “Business of Crafts” course that helped with basic things like writing your CV and developing a pricing structure. I really wish that more general business classes had been required or that perhaps the crafts business course was taught by a working artist rather than the head of the jewelry program who’d been working in academia for 30 years. It would’ve been nice to have some direction in how to market your work – approaching galleries, finding calls for entry, etc.
After college I ended up taking about five years off from metalwork mostly because I couldn’t afford studio space and my landlords wouldn’t allow a torch or loud hammering. I got back into it by auditing classes at a community college so that I would have access to their studio. This helped me get back into creating and fit nicely into my budget.
I haven’t received any grants or funding, but I did have some family money that I used when setting up my own studio once we bought a house. Other than that I have had to work part time in order to afford to keep making my art. Each year gets better, but the bad economy has made it harder to get sales and gallery representation.