The Artisan Series: In The Metals Studio with Jessica Andersen

By Jessica Leitch
In Culture

I’ve long been passionate about connecting with and telling the stories of the creatives who make up St. Louis. As part of an organization dedicated to raising awareness for local artisans, and as someone with a deep interest in the narrative of the handcrafted movement, I’m collaborating with Craft Alliance to explore the scene and share a few interesting stories of local makers along the way. I got the chance to chat with Jessica Andersen, Metals artist-in-residence at Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design.

Jessica Andersen Metals Artist in Residence

A wall of florals catches my eye when I enter Jessica Andersen’s Craft Alliance studio. The current metals artist-in-residence is exploring organic shapes in her metalwork, the results of which line the walls. The bits of flowers re-imagined are in stark contrast to her thesis work—discarded objects elevated to jewelry—laid out on tables in her studio.

Jessica Andersen New Work Jessica Andersen Work

What began as Andersen’s interest in jewelry’s relationship with the body and adornment has morphed into a study on personal connections with objects. The range of materials and techniques with which she creates drew Andersen to the many possibilities of metals. With a broader range of approaches, came more opportunities to learn.

Looking around at the work Andersen has created, one can’t help but feel impressed and inspired. With an M.F.A in jewelry and metalwork from San Diego State University, her skill level is advanced, to say the least. But despite the oftentimes intimidating nature of her craft, Anderson is using her knowledge of metals to teach classes and workshops at Craft Alliance.

Jessica Andersen Materials

Andersen’s talents in metalsmithing and interest in found objects are the elements behind Craft On Tap, a fun, pressure-free evening workshop that offers a chance for those of us who have never even thought about crafting with metals to create an original piece of jewelry from everyday found objects and wire. Although crafting a piece of wearable art alongside the metals artist-in-residence can sound a tad intimidating, Andersen assures me that the process is a lot more approachable than it seems.

“I always want to incorporate a sense of play in the way I look at objects,” says Andersen about teaching beginners to see things from a different perspective. “When people first experience something, their approach is so great and takes you back to the simplest method.”

Join me in indulging Andersen with your newcomer awe at the Craft On Tap workshop on Nov. 6 in the metals studio at the Grand Center Craft Alliance from 6:30-9pm. Enter now for your chance to win a spot in the class!

Jessica Andersen Studio

Jessica Andersen Necklace

Jessica Andersen Metals Artist

Jessica Andersen Studio Tools

This post was created in partnership with Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design.

About Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design
Established in 1964, Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design provides inspiration and education in contemporary craft to a national community of artists, collectors, students and the art-viewing public. Amongst the classes offered at Craft Alliance, you can take a course in the Metals Studio taught by Andersen herself.

About the Author
Jessica Leitch is a St. Louis creative with a passion for supporting local and telling the story of how the makers’ movement is manifesting right here in St. Louis. As the Contributing Lifestyle Editor for ALIVE Magazine, Jessica lends her talents as a writer and stylist. She also writes and art directs her own award-winning blog, City in A Jar.  

All photos by Hannah Foldy.

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