Hi everyone- I hope you all had a great holiday weekend- I've found some time today to post a new interview from one of our active Metalsmiths Unite! members- Bill Roberts. He represents another angle on metalsmithing that we are thrilled to have as part of out community - mostly doing Large scale pieces- with the refinement of a trained jeweler-Here is his interview- Enjoy!
How would you describe what you do as an artist?
I consider myself an ornamental metalsmith. Started as a jeweler in sterling and gold......using lost wax casting for the majority of my designs. And then learned to work with other metals and to create larger decorative metal work........that I like to call "house jewelry". The house jewelry is usually functional art.. One of a Kind metal work.....furniture, lighting, gates, railings, doors, fountains, sculpture and MORE.
what inspires your designs?
I get my inspiration from many sources. But I'd have to say......my personal favs are Art Nouveau, Nature and Marine themes. They seem to keep ......coming to the forefront.
how long have you been involved in this type of making? (how did you start?)
I started this wonderful journey with metals...in the summer of 1984, by learning the jeweler's trade. In 1989, I was introduced to Site Specific One of a Kind architechural metal work........and have been doing both.......plus many other metal arts ever since.
I started...........by desiring to do something that I would LOVE to do......as opposed to just another job. Found my "creative" side......and have never looked back. Proving......."when you blur the line between work and play.......you'll never work another day". Not sure who that quotes from.......but it FITS my artistic life to a T.
where are you located?
I live and work in Ocala, Florida.
Bill Roberts-Ornamental Metalsmith
3740 NE 40th PL Suite D
Ocala, FL. 34479
do you have a website or etsy/artfire/1000market etc store? (list url here)
I do have a website:
and I also have an Etsy store as well......but it's barely ready for prime time. (mbz note: lol- etsy is an art unto itself...I'd be happy to give you a few pointers)
what other ways do you market your work?(shows, galleries, stores)
In the early years......I used Juried Art Shows and Galleries to market my work. Both with varying degrees of sucess. And for the large scaled metalwork........intereior designers and Contractors.
The majority of my sales these days are via the WEB and word of mouth.
do you teach? if so, where- (I’ll link this to the website of teaching institution)
I do teach, a wide variety of metal arts.......usually One on One classes at my studio. Because I'm a "working studio" ............and I LOVE teaching......I schedule my commissions around my classes. One of the wonderful things about teaching so many different processes.....is that I never know ....from one class to another.........what Process I get to play with next. It's not uncommon for me to be teaching blacksmithing one day.......and lost wax casting or jewelry fabrication the next. For a PROCESS freak....it just doesn't get any better that that. :)
any advice for newcomers that you would like to share?
I'd suggest finding what you LOVE to do.....and have a passion for. Then persue it like your life depends upon it. Take classes or find someone that is doing the type of work you like........and hire on. To get paid to learn.....is great, if you are lucky enough to find that opportunity.
where do you envision your work going in the next year? (artistic or business direction)
I see it in a serious growth phase. Both the classes and the metal work. Sky's the limit. I'm livin a dream.
anything else you would like to share? (favorite techniques? any good jokes? you can even put your flickr/twitter/blog links here too)
I LOVE to forge metal.......it makes me feel more alive......when I'm forging.......and "breathing life into an otherwise ridgid material". Not metal..........but I've also found a passion for working with HOT GLASS recently. The similarities of manipulating hot glass and forging metal.......seem addictive.....and familiar.
Thanks Bill! looking forward to seeing more of your work this year!