Lynette Andreasen is a metalsmith living and working in Mesa, Arizona. She has exhibited in galleries across the United States and is currently an artist-in-residence and instructor at Mesa Art Center, as well as an adjunct faculty member at Central Arizona College. She was also the co-chair of the 2011 Society of North American Goldsmiths conference in Phoenix, Arizona.  

Please give a short bio of the path you have taken to your current state in life through education, employment, residencies, and other artistic ventures.

I took my first jewelry class in jr high school. I loved it at the time but kind of forgot about it later as I finished up high school. I started out college as a political science major and found out quickly that I hated it. One day while browsing the college catalog I noticed that jewelry classes were offered and I decided I wanted to take one. They wouldn’t enroll me in the class unless I was an art major so I changed my major to art and ended up falling in love. I received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Metals and then went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts in Metals as well. After finishing graduate school I went on to teach at local art centers for two years before starting to teach adjunct at a community college. I also have a residency at the Mesa Art Center which I started when I finished graduate school and am currently still there. I also try to maintain a very active personal studio practice. 

                                              Collection, found silver spoons, silk, pearls.

How where you financially able to make things work during your journey to where you are now? (teaching, unrelated jobs, selling of your work, financial support from a partner or family, loans…. please be as general or specific as you are comfortable with)

All of the above!! Teaching is the most reliable income for me, and is thankfully something I enjoy. But I have to be careful not to consume myself with teaching because I want to make sure I am continuing to make my own work as well. I did have unrelated jobs while I was in school, and took out loans just to be able to survive. Currently I teach at a local art center and a community college. The majority of my income is from these teaching jobs. I also sell my work at a couple of local stores/galleries. In addition to that I am supported by my husband who works as a civil engineer.

Please estimate the break down of the percentage of your time (in a week or month) spent in your studio, at related jobs, unrelated jobs, marketing, working with galleries, craft fairs, time with family and friends, or other relevant categories.

The answer to this question has changed drastically for me over the last year. Last summer I had a baby so obviously my time is now spent a lot differently than it used to be. Currently I spend about 25 hours a week either teaching or working on demos for my teaching jobs. I usually spend maybe 5 hours a week on my own personal work (this is the area that has taken the hardest hit this year and needs to change).  I probably spend about 4 hours per week on marketing and gallery related issues. The rest of my time is spent with my baby girl or on desperately needed sleep. I hope in the next year or two that I am able to spend a little less time teaching and a little more on my own work, but for now teaching is the more reliable of the two incomes and I am trying to pay off my student loans as quickly as possible. 

                                             Flora, found antique pewter platter, embroidery.

Looking back at the opportunities you have had which do you feel have directed or benefited your current path the most? Are there things you would have done differently, opportunities you would not have taken, bigger risks you would have made, etc?

My college professor always told me to say yes to everything and figure it out later. I find myself always doing this (even now), and although it can be stressful it has really opened up some doors for me. I used to be scared and really self conscious about a lot of opportunities that I was given. But if you are afraid and you say no to things based on fear or insecurity, you are only hurting yourself. But I am also learning that I don’t necessarily want to say yes to everything anymore. I am learning to balance and prioritize (harder now that I am a mom). I have to ask myself questions like, “How will this benefit me/my career/my work/my teaching ability?”, or “Do the benefits of this opportunity outweigh the cons?”. A lot of it comes down to asking yourself, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”.  That may sound silly but its true…some opportunities are great if you want to be a teacher but aren’t necessarily great if you want to be a production jeweler selling lots of work. You have to decide which opportunities are going to get you where you want to go. 
                                                             Flora, detail.

Where do you hope your career will be in five years? (Especially in relationship to the breakdown of your time spent in the studio, at related jobs, unrelated jobs, teaching, with family. Are there galleries you hope to be in? Have a solo exhibition? Have studio employees, bookkeeper, etc?)

In five years I hope to have a little more balance between teaching and making. I do want to continue to teach, I love sharing this passion I have with people. But I also got into this field because I fell in love with the process- with making. So I need to make sure I continue to do that as well. I hope to get to a place where I spend equal amounts of time teaching and on my own work. Major goals for me include having at least one full time gallery selling my work, and having an assistant to help me with marketing and computer related tasks. 

Feel free to ask questions in the comment section. Also, be sure to view more of Lynette's work on her website at

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Pots to Fence Posts:  An Eye-Opening Event

I went off to the University of Southern California to study architecture.  I needed an elective course, and while standing in line to register someone suggested ceramics.  Why not?

  During my first semester I took ceramics from the noted Susan Peterson and Carlton Ball.  One day, I was in the clay studio and noticed Carlton Ball throwing on the potter's wheel.  There were lots of tall cylinders next to the wheel and I watched him throw another one.  He was putting pulled handles on each cylinder.  I asked him what was he making and he replied,"Fence posts".

   From that moment on, I realized that ceramics was much more than pots.  That was an eye-opening event for me.  It gave me permission to work in a sculptural manner and I have pursued that approach to working with clay ever since.  Every visit to my studio is a new and exciting experience based on curiosity and how the next idea will turn out.  Tom Supensky, Aiken, South Carolina.


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