Admittedly obsessed with jewelry, Bruce Metcalf says he’s inspired by natural images, such as leaves, pods, buds and seeds that he crafts into small wood-carved necklaces and other fine objects.
Bruce prefers to be called a jeweler rather than an artist. He focuses on making things well, and he’s loyal to a way of working, not the varied materials he manipulates. Sketches capture his concepts and the specs for each piece. As a boy, he built model planes and cars, then studied sociology and architecture, before gravitating to metals his senior year in college. All this shows in his work.
Metcalf, today an American Craft Council Fellow, initially came to Philadelphia in 1986 as a visiting artist for Sharon Church at the University of the Arts, and returned in 1991 as a homeowner because housing was cheap. He started writing in graduate school because critics misinterpreted his work. Writing was a way to explain his work, and that evolved into writing about craft too. He wants people to understand careful making; process is important. Metcalf’s most ambitious publication to date is Makers: A History of American Studio Craft, with art critic Janet Koplos in 2010.