Welcome- I’m very excited to have the opportunity to share my journey with everyone!

My name is Shannon Craft- yes, that is my actual last name! I should have known, really, that my life would take a decidedly creative path; I have always loved art and craft, but never knew I would end up trying to eke out a living creating it. I come from an extended family of do-it-yourself-but-never-cut-corners individuals, a great lifelong preparation course for becoming an artist, especially a metalsmith. Growing up in Iowa, I danced and played sports, took classes at the local art museum, and fell in love with dinosaurs and archaeology. In high school I got involved in theater, often spending long hours on creating stage props with little to no budget. I took photography classes at the community college, as well as any and every art class they offered at my high school- painting and ceramics were big, but I always felt like there was something missing.

I decided to pursue photojournalism and anthropology at the University of Kansas and dreamed of traveling the world for National Geographic, because I felt becoming a fulltime artist meant a lifetime of struggles, and I could always create art in my free time. But after a year, something was still missing, and I quit school for the next few years. I worked fulltime, taking online classes to keep my mind active. One day, I couldn’t seem to find a pair of earrings to wear, and decided I would dig through my old bead collection and make something. I began making more of these wire and bead creations, pairing different shapes, colors, and materials to create eye catching designs. Soon, I was selling them on consignment at a local store, and realizing that the life of a “starving artist” would be better than working full-time in food service.

Starting at Johnson County Community College, I took a few general education classes, the beginning metalsmithing class, and the introductory sewing class to see if this would be the right fit; I immediately connected with the intense preparation, planning, and attention to detail necessary for Metalsmithing, and found sewing to be, well, therapeutic in comparison. I went back to KU in the Spring of 2008 with a plan firmly in place to finish my degree. I took summer classes, night classes, and continued working to help pay for the mounting cost of supplies. On top of Metalsmithing and Jewelry courses, I took weaving, papermaking and book structures, and a variety of special topics anthropology courses before graduating in May of 2011.

Since then I have spent my time working at a local jewelry store that carries over 50 designers from across the US and Europe, and specializes in custom gold and silver jewelry. Spending time away from the school studio has been beneficial, allowing me to gather my thoughts and refocus my energy. Recently, however, I gained access to a studio space!

There's everything in the closet, waiting to be organized and put in place...

This little desk only cost $25! Three drawers pull all the way out for better access. I'm going to make a catch cloth to hang between the arm rests for catching silver dust. There will be a shelf on the wall with a light underneath it. And, of course, hooks. Lots and lots of hooks...

One side of the room will be for sewing- it still needs better lighting in both corners. The chandelier in the top left corner will hang over a chair and ottoman. The wall will have a shelf for my books and cork board for ideas/sketches/ works in progress.

This little blue desk cost $5, and the glass piece was $6. A little bit of love and touch-ups will turn it into a fantastic sewing station!

Next week, I’ll post pictures of the finished studio and introduce my first projects. Thanks for reading, let me know if you have any suggestions!

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Comment by Brigitte Martin on January 13, 2012 at 7:30am

Enjoy setting up shop. Much success to you !! :-)

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