When Rebecca Wicklund took her first metals class five years ago, she was on a quest. “I was always looking for jewelry that I liked and could afford. I wanted to see if I could make things for myself.” After learning the basics of soldering, drilling and piercing metal with a jeweler’s saw, she made her first pieces. As she grew in experience, she gave earrings and necklaces to friends and family as gifts.
“It was fun for me to see them wear it,” she said. She took more classes and did some experimenting on her own, striving to create clean, contemporary pieces for every-day wear. “People started asking if they could buy things from me. Some encouraged me to start selling it.”
She and her sister, Beth Wicklund, a letterpress artist, share a studio in the California Building that will be open for Art-A-Whirl. Her jewelry is for sale at Minnesota Center for the Arts stores in Minnetonka and Ridgedale. A South Minneapolis resident, she sells her work at the LOLA (League of Longfellow Artists) annual arts crawl, and also shows her jewelry at several regional arts fairs and at the Grand Marais Art Colony show.
Wicklund is a physical therapist, a job she now works at part-time. Her career training was in the sciences, not the arts, but as she grows in skill, she said that she has been spending more time making jewelry. She buys sheets of metal and does her own cutting, hammering and shaping. Although she practices with copper, which she said is cheaper, she crafts her finished pieces in sterling silver.
When she gets an idea for a piece, Wicklund said, she doesn’t sketch it. She carries a notebook and writes it down. “Sometimes I’ll take a photo of something that inspires me. I have an inspiration board. I’m working on using different shapes. Most of what I’ve done is hammered, with a slight curvature. I like playing with different shaping designs and different textures. I’ve used some glass beads and pearl stones.” Her future projects might include fibers such as wool, she said.
Wicklund said she has been selling her work and getting a lot of positive feedback. “I’m getting repeat customers, and some people have come back and said they love my jewelry. I have set some goals, and I’ve stopped calling physical therapy my ‘real’ job. I’m not closing the door on the idea of earning a living making jewelry.” She said she has been trying to overcome her bad habit of waiting until the last minute before a show to “binge” on jewelry making.
Her next steps, she said, are to keep learning, and try marketing her work in more retail stores. “I would like to keep my business growing, and I would like to learn more skills.”
Wicklund’s studio is No.120 in the California Building, 2205 California St. NE. Her website is www.etsy.com/ shop/metalpetalsstudio. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.