I decided that when I left here (RIT as an undergrad) that it was very important for me to have other experiences outside of the traditional academic path. So when I moved around I actually ended up having a job as a receptionist, which sounds really easy and trivial, it’s really not. It taught me a lot with how to work with people and also do something during the day that didn’t have to do with my passion, and come home at night to my studio in my garage and have to muster up the energy to continue to do my own work. I think it’s necessary to have experience outside of academia for my job in order to be able to handle what types of students I come to contact with when I teach in the classroom.
The first time I took a metals class was in my freshman year of high school. To me, it was the first time that something made sense, like it clicked. So I applied to RIT with my mind set on jewelry and metals since my first day of undergrad.
My personal work is actually –there’s a lot of content in it. It has a lot to do with the fact that I am a maker and create things by hand. I primarily work with precious materials such as sterling silver and gold and make a lot of hollow forms. Think of things that have air inside of them which requires a lot of soldering and construction techniques. It’s a fairly difficult process when you have multiple pieces coming together, and the reason why I do it is because I am very interested in the idea of evidence and the evidence of hand. So, knowing that the thing that I’m making is coming directly from me and from a place within inside myself and that the person that is wearing it can also have that connection.
I absolutely think that everyone should try taking a metals class at least once. Sometimes you love it and sometimes you can hate it. But I think it’s about getting over the fear that you are going to enter a class where you don’t have a skillset and you are most definitely going to fail a lot. But there’s also something very freeing in that because it becomes an area where you don’t have to stress out so much and experiment and maybe even bring into your own practice. I mean who doesn’t like to light things on fire right?
Lydia Martin, Adjunct Professor – Metals and Jewelry Design/School of American Crafts