About this blog--As a recent graduate and currently in a one-year residency the question of what’s next and how to get there is always on my mind. For this blog I will be interviewing artists who have taken varying paths and pursued different careers in or out of the arts to see what they are doing now and the steps they took to get there.

Special Note--I want this to be a way to share how we are all trying to figure out the paths to what’s next and where to go, not answers or things to do, but a look into how others are making it and what has helped along the way. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for questions to ask or artists to interview.

About me--First time blogger, long time internet user. My name is Melissa Walter. In 2005 I received a BFA in Metal Design from East Carolina University. I was introduced to Metal Design in college, loved it, and chose metals as what I would pursue a degree in. Since high school I knew I would go to college seeking a degree in art, but never thought much about what would happen after college-let’s be honest, who does. Although, occasionally I would develop a “plan” to tell others who were constantly asking the question “what’s next?”

I finished undergrad in December of 2005, from there I continued my drive-thru coffee shop job, did a short stint of babysitting/nannying, and worked for six months at a bench jewelers/repair shop. After that time I realized two and a half things I did not want to do for the rest of my life—nannying, repair work, and drive-thru coffee shop (I could do a regular coffee shop again).

Connect, steel, handmade abaca paper, thread, 6.5 x 7 x 11”, 2011.

During this time I began looking for a full-time job. Because I had great recommendations from some friends who knew the owner of a communications billing company (aka-knew some people), I was able to get a job in the administration/accounting department of a communications billing company in Greenville, North Carolina. This really was a great job, with a wonderful boss, and co-workers. Unfortunately, during these two and a half years I wasn’t able to afford to have a studio to work in nor did a full-time job leave much energy for studio work. This time was valuable in many ways, one of them being that I was able to again realize something that I did not want to do for the rest of my life and through that realization applied to graduate school. In 2008 I began the MFA program in Jewelry and Metals at the University of Georgia. I approached graduate school differently than undergrad in my making and also in how I used my time. I had an assistantship, but no additional employment and took opportunities as they came such as going to Penland and studying abroad in Italy. Both of which I wouldn’t have been able to spend the money or time away from work to do during undergrad.

Crochet Brooch 04, steel, handmade abaca paper, thread, 3 x 2.5 x 1", 2011.

I made it through grad school finishing in May of 2011, spent some time on applications (which are possibly harder and worse than grad school) and was awarded a one-year artist residency at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, which began in September of 2011 and comes to a close at the end of August of 2012. I have spent my time in Houston in an amazing studio, teaching adjunct Art Appreciation at Houston Community College, doing a little dog-walking, a couple months at a retail cleaning company, and will finish up my residency spending the summer in the studio, working at a local grocery store, teaching a week long kid's art camp, and hopefully a few single day workshops at the Art League of Houston (what’s next, I don’t know, but I have come up with a few “plans” to tell those “people” who must ask).

That's enough about me for now, please come back to read the first interview. Until then feel free to check out my website http://melissawalter.us or post comments for questions you have for artists.

 

Untitled 4 (wall piece), masonite, acrylic paint, cement, charcoal, graphite, 11 x 8 x 6”, 2012.

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A modern metalsmith/metal artist can be found working in traditional metals as well as in nontraditional materials. The designs can range from the classic to the extravagant, and the techniques can either be centuries old or decidedly current.

The wide range of expression preferences, design options, materials, and processes has lead within our field to unfavorable misconceptions, misunderstandings and in some cases even outright disdain between artists. Can the metal and jewelry field overcome its division and send out a much-needed signal?

We appreciate and respect our historical past and acknowledge that current materials have a rightful place in jewelry/object making!

Arriving at this message is the goal of this traveling exhibition opening at the SNAG conference in Boston 2015, Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco, CA - Aug 19 - Sept 20, 2015, Equinox Gallery, San Antonio, TX - Oct 16 - Nov 15, 2015, Baltimore Jewelry Center, Baltimore, MD - Dec 11, 2015 - Jan 08, 2016, Brooklyn Metal Works, Brooklyn, NY - Feb 5 - Mar 4, 2016.

DETAILS on exhibition premise, call for artists, submission guidelines.....

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Brigitte Martin commented on Jivan Astfalck's group Instill - Material Matters 2014
"Thank you, Ann. I cannot take credit for this show though. Professor Astfalck and her students put this up, not me. I'm sure they're happy to hear you find the work interesting! Thanks."
9 hours ago
Ann Davis commented on Jivan Astfalck's group Instill - Material Matters 2014
"Wow, that was a fun show, so diverse!  I'm going to have to come back when I have more time and read all the words, the ones I did read were so thoughtful! Thanks for putting this up and making us aware of it Brigitte!!"
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London and the South/Dundee and the North

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Instill - Material Matters 2014

  INSTILL-material matters “The year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning, but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”  Hal Borland The School of Jewellery at Birmingham City University presents the thesis work by students of the MA in Jewellery, Silversmithing and Related Products course. The show celebrates the achievements of a group of exceptionally diverse individuals, with each piece on display offering an unexpected adventure through material that…See More
14 hours ago
Brigitte Martin commented on Jivan Astfalck's group Instill - Material Matters 2014
"Thank you for sharing your thoughts and reaction, Lieta! "
18 hours ago
Lieta Marziali commented on Jivan Astfalck's group Instill - Material Matters 2014
"Thanks for the invitation Brigitte! A very interesting show. My gut reaction was to first respond to the work of Tsai Chia-Ju (Sora). I started learning English from the age of 4 while growing up in Italy, and I was fully bilingual by the time…"
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Co:Operation GARNISH

Can the metal and jewelry field overcome its division and send out a much-needed signal?We appreciate and respect our historical past and acknowledge that current materials have a rightful place in jewelry/object making! Arriving at this message is the goal of this exhibition cooperatively arranged by Rachel Timmins and Brigitte Martin.Please join this group to stay informed !! This is the official exhibition blog.See More
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Meredith Woolnough - Embroidery

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