Metal Arts Worker

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Metal Arts Worker


Statues are almost as common as trees in today's public parks. Statues are generally made of cast iron or bronze. They are not made of wood, they are not made of plastic. Nothing lasts as long as metal, and since the statues are monuments to heroes and great leaders, artists who have experience and knowledge create these statues for us, using strong metal, assuring us that the monument will be around for a long, long time.

Metal arts workers do more than just conceptualize and create large statues and other sculptures. They also create jewelry, and functional things like garden and patio furniture, signs, fences, and railings. By heating, pouring, pounding, and twisting metal into the desired shape, a metal arts worker can make just about anything.

Metal arts workers learn their skills in practical college courses, from mentors, through workshops, and through practice, practice, practice. They may specialize in one type of metal, or one aspect of design. Some may prefer to make art pieces, and focus on statues and sculpture, while others may enjoy making everyday items like fences and signage beautiful and visually arresting.

However they choose to work, metal arts workers work long, hard hours when in the throes of a project. The job can be hot, uncomfortable, and thrilling, all at the same time.
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  Interests and Skills  
Interested in becoming a metal arts worker? Metal arts workers must be creative, and driven to create art. They should be willing to put in long, hard hours. They need good manual dexterity, steady hands, and patience to work in this career. Metal arts workers are innovate thinkers who enjoy creating new things. They need to be business especially if they would like to make this their career.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Consult with supervisor, head designer, or client about piece
  • Research current trends, historical and cultural traditions
  • Sketch ideas and plans for each creation
  • Use various techniques to create ornamental and functional items
  • Manage a shop or online business
  • They typical day for a metal arts worker involves meeting with clients, creating sketches and drawing up plans for the item. More time is spent preparing for the actual design than making it. When metal arts workers actually get down to it, and begin making the objects, the hours can be long, and quick accurate work is crucial. Metal arts workers may travel around the world to exhibitions, festivals, and schools to sell their work, conduct seminars, and for research, to learn about new techniques and ancient metal working traditions.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Generally, metal arts workers start out working part-time; however, the longer they work and the more popular their creations, the more likely it is their talents can be put to work full-time. They work in studios, often in their own homes or garages. Metal arts workers usually work alone, or in collaboration with a few artists. They can set their own hours, and may work nights and weekends if working on a special project or design.
  • They may sell their original work in galleries, jewelry stores, gardening supply stores, artisans' shops, or they may create special pieces made-to-order for specific clients.
  • Some find full-time work with companies who make garden ornaments, patio or garden furniture, or signage, fences or railings. They may work with museums and historical societies, making historically accurate re-creations, working as a blacksmith within an exhibit, or restoring antiques and artifacts while completing their own creations on the side.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Metal arts workers can become full-time artisans, and open a shop to sell their wares. They can become instructors, and write books and articles on the history and technique of their art. They can become jewelry artists and designers, goldsmiths or clothing designers, or open a patio furniture store, a jewelry store or gallery. They can also work as a blacksmith with living history museums.

  Educational Paths  
There is no required program to take or path to follow if you want to become a metal arts worker. Often, they will study under the guidance of an established artisan, so it is a good idea to find an individual with whom you can work and learn. Some colleges and private schools offer courses in metal work. It might be a good idea, however, to complete a university degree or college diploma in fine art, design, or sculpture, as well as a few courses in business, if you plan on establishing your own business.

Those wishing to work in blacksmithing techniques, may want to look for courses in history, as well as blacksmithing, in order to understand the historical context of the blacksmith, and this crucial role in European and settler societies of the past.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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