Ornament Magazine

VOL37.1 2014

Ornament is the leading magazine celebrating wearable art. Explore jewelry, fashion, beads; contemporary, ancient and ethnographic.

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fashion major, she changed her degree to fibers after taking a class as an elective. "After that class I fell in love with the fibers program. It allowed me to control the whole process in the garments I made, from the production of the fabric to the actual finished piece." Now working at the American design firm Vera Bradley, Shea has an increased appreciation for how the syllabus is set up. "I really enjoyed what was required of us for our senior portfolio. We could choose from a fine art, studio production, or textile design portfolio. It gave us the freedom to make what we wanted, but still had 64 ORNAMENT 37.1.2013 DIGITAL PRINTER in the Fibers Department. WEAVING CLASSROOM with eight harness looms. enough requirements that we were also creating what the industry wanted to see." The proportion of jewelry and fiber graduates who go into different careers varies over the years and between the fields. In 2012, forty percent of jewelry majors went into the industry; another forty percent established their own studio practices. The remaining twenty percent moved on to other occupations. For SCAD's fiber department, sixty percent became involved in textile design, both for apparel and interior decorating. The remaining forty percent went into studio design, production and fine art. That number changes from year to year. The exposure of the students to actual markets is vital for those interested in being a studio craftsperson. The college's partnership with craft shows across the country, like the American Craft Council shows as a participant in its School to Market program, as well as having been represented at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show and the Smithsonian Craft Show with booths, has allowed its students firsthand experience with the environment and customers. Sometimes, this introduction is enough to convince a person to follow that life path. That was the case for Hsiang-Ting Yen, a Taiwanese MFA graduate who attended the first two years that a SCAD booth was hosted by the Philadelphia Craft Show. Being able to personally hear feedback from attendees, as well as be responsible for selling her jewelry (as the school booths featured the attending students work for sale), gave Yen the confidence and appreciation for the exchange between buyer and maker to become a studio jeweler herself. Yen is also a fan of the rigorous critiques that are a frequent part of the graduate program. "I love the time all the graduate students can gather together to share their concept, their progress, and the professor leads and guides the conversation. The feedback from everybody is priceless, you don't get those after you graduate. To completely speak true to yourself and to others was so helpful. The training really helps me to build up this very logical and structural thinking process." After graduation comes the real world, for which no school can completely prepare a student. Many SCAD graduates however have found their footing, and can impart quite a few lessons to those who are still studying. Local alumni come to give talks at the college, and there are alumni studies which students can attend. Those interviewed within this article who have graduated now have their own businesses, or work in the industry. Baird in particular has distilled some of the most important tips for her fellow budding entrepreneurs. "By far the biggest challenge is learning how to run a business successfully. I was an artist. Now I am an artist and business woman. I learned that the SCORE and SBA offices are key resources. I am currently working on a new business plan and will be seeking investors at some point in the near future," she says. "Also, networking is even more crucial now. The Chamber of Commerce and local young professionals groups have been very good for me. "You never know who knows the person that will give you a big break," she relates solemnly. "I met the security manager at the Bohemian on River Street at a

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