Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Beth Wicker

Here's an interview with Metalsmiths Unite member, Beth Wicker -

How would you describe what you do as an artist? Currently my main focus is as a metalsmith. I work primarily in silver, with some copper, brass, and gold. I use gemstones, pearls, found objects, and interesting beads I find on my travels. I create primarily jewelry designed to be worn. I also make hand made paper, do fiber art, printmaking, a bit of sculpture, draw and paint.

what inspires your designs?  I have always been interested in pattern, texture and color - no matter what media I am working in. Much of my inspiration comes from the world around me - I am an avid gardener and traveler, and store images in my head and sketchbook.

how long have you been involved in this type of making? (how did you start?)
I have been in involved in one form of art or another all my life. I started making jewelry as a child, probably about 10, getting purchased components from the local hobby shop. I moved into other media, and got a BA in art from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. Then I took graduate courses in art at UNC-Chapel Hill, NC, did a year of graduate work in printmaking at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI, then finished my MFA in printmaking at USC-Columbia, SC. Then when my daughter was about 10 she asked me to show her how to make jewelry, and that started me back into metals - and took me way farther into that than I had ever done as a child. So I have been a practicing artist for over 30 years, and a metalsmith for about 10 this time around. 

where are you located?
 I live in the country outside of Cheraw, SC in the US. Cheraw has less than 6,500 people, and the entire county (Chesterfield County) has less than 30,000, so a very rural area. I live on a farm with Santa Gertrudis cattle, pine trees, and we planted a stand of hardwoods a few years ago. Cheraw was founded in the 1700's, and had battles fought here in both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, and still has many of the old historic homes and churches.

do you have a website or etsy/artfire/1000market etc store? - website

what other ways do you market your work?(shows, galleries, brick + mortar stores)
I have work in galleries and gift shops throughout SC, including the Drayton Hall Museum Store outside of Charleston, SC, and in Ohio. I also do craft and art shows in the South.

do you teach? if so, where-
I teach at my workshop/gallery space, which is across the pond from my house outside of Cheraw, SC on our farm. It is a delightful small building that my in-laws built as a guest house for their daughter from Massachusetts to stay in when she visited. I have converted it into a small gallery featuring local artists, and a teaching space where I teach metalsmithing and a range of other media to adults and children. I also teach a Monthly Metals class at Black Creek Arts Council in Hartsville, SC about 30 minutes away to children and adults. I have taught classes for the Cheraw Arts Commission also. In addition, I am on the SC Approved Artist Roster, and have been for over 30 years. I have done residencies in schools and communities throughout SC for over 30 years.

any sage advice for newcomers that you would like to share?
Join multiple internet jewelry groups - most folks are more than willing to share tips and how to's. Don't be afraid to ask questions - that is how you learn! If you are interested in jewelry, be sure to check out, the world's biggest internet jewelry site. It is chock full of great information, a wonderful daily e-mail list, and very helpful links and people. Do NOT expect to make a living making jewelry right away - that will take time!

where do you envision your work going in the next year? (artistic direction) I am becoming increasingly interested in kinetic jewelry, where things are designed to move as part of the piece. I am also exploring ways to incorporate pattern and texture into more areas of a given piece, and really trying to make the backs and sides of things more visually interesting.

anything else you would like to share? (favorite techniques? any good jokes? you can even put your flickr/twitter/blog links here too) Twitter link is above.
I have a one hour blog radio interview done by Jay Whaley at
I'm also on the Artisans of the SC Cotton Trail site at

thanks Beth! great info and interview-
always a pleasure to "meet" Metalsmiths Unite members!
ciao- Maureen

No comments:

Post a Comment