Metalwork in Sheffield

Katey Felton - Silversmith

In addition to reading this interview, you can also watch video interviews  with Silversmith Katey Felton  and other local metalwork artists in the video gallery of this resource.

Q. Can you give me a brief description of your work/skills?

Designer/Silversmith – I design as well.

Q. How long have you been a Silversmith and how did you start?

When I was doing A levels I knew I wanted to do something artistic so I went to art college and took a foundation course in art and design then realised I liked making things.

I then went to Manchester Metropolitan University to study three dimensional design. The course included using wood, metal, ceramics and product design so I used abroad spectrum of materials. At the end of that I specialised in Metalwork because it’s malleable and I found silver a joy to work with as it is so soft.

I then did an MA in Silversmithing at Birmingham University where I specialised more. I have been in business here (at Sheffield Yorkshire Art Space) for the past five years although officially as a business since 2002. I suppose you could say I’ve been involved in artistic practice for the past ten years.

Q. What opportunities do you think there are for people wanting to work in the metalwork industry in this region?

The reason for me moving to Sheffield was because of the Silversmith Starter Studio programme which I think is the first in the country. It’s quite unique to Sheffield. It is a fantastic stepping stone between university and trying to set up a business as a Silversmith. It’s sponsored by the Sheffield Assay Office so they supplied all the equipment and you get a fully equipped workshop.

When you leave university you can’t afford all the equipment. You get the workshop at a subsidised rate, you get a mentor who is one of the more established silversmiths who supports you and you get a business programmer from Yorkshire Art Space Society. It’s a two year programme and amazing for help and everything you need is there.
The programme is open to a broad range of applicants.

Sheffield Assay Office has given me phenomenal support as well, because I moved here and didn’t know anyone. They helped me build contacts and I did a commission for them and I was put in touch with local retailers such as HL Brown. The Yorkshire Art Space Society programme has been a massive and major opportunity. I finished the course in 2004.

Q. Have you any words of wisdom for people wanting to start work as a Silversmith?

I think you’ve just got to believe in yourself and believe in what you do. I think it’s good to enjoy what you do. Stick with what you are passionate about and keep working at it. Be persistent.

For more information about Katey Felton and her work have a look at her website (link below).

View other relevant My Learning resources or see the teachers' notes page for discussion and activity ideas. 

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