10 Questions for our alumni
ABBEY HUNTER, BFA, JEWELRY AND METALS, 2010
1. Why did you choose to attend Grand Valley?
It was close to home and had diverse classes which worked well since I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do yet...
2. How or why did you choose your major or main emphasis area?
After a couple years of pursuing biomedical science, I realized I should do what I'm more passionate about. There is no guarantee of falling into (or in love with) the field of work we set out to graduate in and I figured I should get better in something that I genuinely love to do, which is to make art.
3. What advise do you have for future students thinking about colleges?
Colleges aren't always the answer. Had I known that being an artist was a viable career option and not the starving artist rhetoric we're fed as children I would have had more fun traveling and taking the workshops that focused on what I wanted to learn more about. You can take blacksmithing in the hills of Pennsylvania and learn about steel jewelry in Maine.
4. What advise do you have for current students thinking about careers?
Careers don't have to be set in stone. Find what interests you and go for it. If you hate it after 10 years, you're still young and can change direction.
5. What did you do after graduating?
After graduation, I immediately started creating jewelry and selling at local fairs and shops. Eventually I came to loathe the whole selling process. in 2012, I set up an LLC for The Hot Spot, a public metalsmithing studio, that I had dreams of opening while still maintaining a full time job. It's funny, I learned a new skill of welding for a local brewery and after 5 years realized that I really loved it.
6. What are you doing now?
My gears shifted and I took my skills as a jeweler and applied them to welding. I'm making larger, more functional, structures. I also feel more confident in selling functional steel work versus jewelry. As far as The Hot Spot, it spent a couple years in an incubating space, my studio and gallery finally has a building of its own. It's absolutely perfect because I have access to both jewelry making and welding tools.
7. How have you used the skills you developed in your field of study in your life and/or career after GVSU?
Always play. One of the best things about being an artist is that there are constant excuses for play and to never take anything too seriously. If you don't like something, assess it, find out why, and toss it if you need to.
8. What is the best advice you got from an instructor at Grand Valley? What is your favorite memory of being a student at Grand Valley?
It wasn't so much advice but an affirmation. I can be quiet and don't always ask a lot of questions. This sometimes leads people to think i'm not understanding everything and also makes me incredibly self-conscious. Bev Seley was really good at pointing out that despite my lack of voice I have a really strong direction in always moving forward.
9. What is your favorite memory of being a student at Grand Valley?
Any moment where I looked up from the intensity of being a student and allowed myself the time to relax, take a stroll, and enjoy everything about being here at Grand Valley as a student. It truly is a beautiful campus and I found inspiration everywhere. The lasting friendships keep all those great memories alive.
10. Anything else you would like to share with our Visual and Media Arts Community?
Ralph Waldo Emerson is famously quoted as saying "Do the thing, and you will have the power." Even if pursuing something feels like too minute of a step forward to matter, just keep doing it. Because you are doing it, and that act of doing set's our minds up in the right state to see success down the road.
Image credit: Abbey Hunter. You can read more about the Hot Spot Metals Studio at https://www.thehotspotgr.com/.
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