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Amy Wilderson

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HomeArtistsAmy Wilderson

Amy Wilderson loves so many things about being a teaching artist but the one that excites her the most is being able to share this art form that so many people have never considered being something that they could actually do. It’s an absolute joy for her to be able to assist participants as they explore and expand their thinking about creativity, color schemes, and even what is “acceptable” as elements of jewelry making. The participants’ memories develop into narratives or stories over the course of her memory jewelry course. Amy feels that everyone has something special and interesting about themselves and their lives. She also feels that everyone has a creative inclination that might not have had the chance to show itself. Jewelry-making has been a fascinating way to bring those stories to life while tapping into creativity.

In Amy’s own work, she uses metalsmithing, wire-working, and knotting techniques, to tap into memory, culture, and heritage by reviving forgotten treasures (orphan earrings, broken dishes, souvenirs, etc) along with surplus or discarded items (computer elements, bra underwires, vintage glass Mardi Gras beads) and reclaimed metals, connecting them to gemstones that are associated with myth, power, and healing to create wearable, living stories. In her classes, she encourages students to stretch or downright ignore the ‘rules’ of jewelry. Who made those rules anyway? When the students find something treasured or special from their own lives to share with the class, they are beginning to breathe or bend new life into that element, so we spend some time exploring the ‘rules’ around mixing metals and color schemes. Ultimately, this is their piece and it reflects a significant element of their lives, so it is important that they feel connected to it.

More About the Artist

Amy’s jewelry is featured on Springboard for the Arts’ Ready Made platform, at White Bear Center for the Arts’ gallery shop, in Next Avenue’s Vitality Arts series, and it was exhibited in Minneapolis Institute of Art’s Foot In The Door 5:The Virtual Exhibition. She is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Minnesota State Arts Board, Springboard for the Arts, United States Artists, CERFplus, and Luminary-NYC. She is a member of the SistaSmiths jewelry artist collective, the Black In Jewelry Coalition, MN Artists, Metalsmith Society, and the Northside Artspace Lofts community. Amy has a BA in communication from Tulane University in New Orleans.

Program Offerings

Residencies

Reviving Forgotten Treasures, Reviving Memories

In this course, we will make a fabulous bracelet or necklace out of something that we once held dear, really liked but just never found an occasion to wear, or something that broke and just ended up in the treasure box. Now’s our chance to make it into something new. This is also a class about sharing the memories and significance of the treasured piece. We’ll learn how to craft a short elevator pitch-type response as well as a longer narrative/story about how you created this amazing new piece out of something old. We will end the class with a show & tell fashion show where each student gets the opportunity to share their work and the origin story that they’ve revived with their new piece.

Note: can be offered as a workshop as well. Class size limit is 10 participants

You Made It From What?! An Intro to Upcycling

Upcycling is the practice of taking something old, used, or broken and making it into something entirely new. This class is a combination of learning basic wirework skills and expanding our horizons through stretching our creativity in making bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and even rings out of something unheard of. Students will be encouraged to bring ‘challenge’ from their own junk drawers or shoeboxes to share ideas with the rest of the class.

Note: can be offered as a workshop as well. Class size limit is 10 participants

Workshops

Thanks, I Made It! An Intro to Wire Work

This class is an introduction to WireWork in its many forms. We’ll learn the basics of creating beautiful wire jewelry (loops, beads, clasps, and findings). Then we will explore different forms such as links, free-form, and cages. By the end of this class, the students will have completed at least one piece of jewelry, and be well on their way to creating so much more.

Note: Class size limit is 10 participants

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COMPAS is an arts education nonprofit that puts creativity in the hands of Minnesotans, regardless of their age, background, or skills. Based in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area, COMPAS teaching artists deliver creative experiences and arts programming across Minnesota.

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This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.