Karen Smith

Teaching Since: March 2019
Department(s): Jewelry


I am a metal artist who is Brooklyn-bred and Bay Area based. I'm a college graduate and have held positions as diverse as bookstore clerk, journal editor, university instructor and mindfulness facilitator. As an undergraduate, I majored in English, African American Studies and Women's Studies because I wanted to get a fuller picture of what it means to be black and female in the culture. I have written about women and representation and I continue to follow the trail onto new paths that are both exciting and new.

I came late to metal work but I'm proud to say that I live and work as an artist. My mediums are precious metals; I create wearable art as well as 3 dimensional pieces in sterling, fine silver and 14K and 18K gold.

Currently, I've been afforded an opportunity to apprentice in Dakar, Senegal with a 5th generation master goldsmith. From late December, 2017 until the end of January, 2018, I lived and worked in Dakar studying traditional methods of smithing. I have been asked by this master to return in June, 2018 for a period of 6 months intensive study. I feel honored and humbled to have this access; in Senegal, they have a saying that "women don't wield the hammer". I have been blessed to get this training directly from a master.

And then I get to share it. I joined the faculty here at the Crucible as a jewelry instructor; I'm also ecstatic to incubate my project "We Wield the Hammer" here. WWTH is a project I'm creating to bring the art of metalsmithing to African American girls and women who are underrepresented in the field and often with access, opportunity or capital to invest. Beginning in Spring, 2019, my project begins here at the Crucible and I look forward to expanding it to Dakar, Senegal and beyond in the future.

Because women do, indeed, wield the hammer.