Betsy Lewis '16

My internship gave me a sense of where I want to be in ten years. The work I did and the people I met gave me a lot of ideas about what I can do, and the kind of artist I want to be.

Not content to spend her summer with one internship, Elizabeth “Betsy” Lewis traveled to New York City to intern for jewelry designer Janice Grzyb, as well as Erin Daily and Brian Weissman, owners of Brooklyn Metal Works.

“My objectives for this summer were to be thrown into the depths of the metals industry,” Betsy explains, hence her choice to work with two very different kinds of metalworkers rather than just one. Over the course of the dual internships, she reflects, “I was introduced the differences between production work and art work, which raised a lot of questions for what kind of artist I want to be.”

While working as a bench assistant for Janice Grzyb, Betsy learned a number of jewelry-making processes, including oxidizing, tumbling, finishing and soldering. She was also introduced to the business side of making and selling jewelry, with her tasks including inventory control, pricing, inspection of materials, and negotiation with vendors. In fact, Janice recalls, “the processes and many aspects of running a business were of special interest. I believe this was a profound realization for Elizabeth.” Furthermore, she praises Betsy as being “refreshing and extremely eager to learn. Her enthusiasm was well felt by all in my studio.” By the end of her internship, Betsy had produced finished jewelry pieces for Janice’s fall 2013 collection.

Meanwhile, at Brooklyn Metal Works, Betsy had very different jobs to do and very different things to learn. Tasked primarily with maintaining and organizing the studio, gallery and school, Betsy maintained a weekly cleaning schedule, as well as creating an inventory of tools and helping to set up and take down several galleries and artists’ talks. Once again, Betsy took a particular interest in how the business itself was run, with Brian noting that she “really came to appreciate how much work it takes to run a studio/gallery/school”. He further added, “I feel she got a pretty well rounded understanding of the assorted knowledge and skills needed to make a multifaceted business like this run.” Her passion also continued to help her, with Brian remarking that “Betsy’s enthusiasm was her greatest strength because she was always ready to try something new with the tools and techniques she was learning.” This love for her work encouraged Betsy to attend workshops at the school, try out tools she had never used before, and ultimately complete several of her own projects by the internship’s end.

In reflection, Betsy was thoroughly pleased with her time at both internships, and with all the things she had learned. “Janice Grzyb gave me a taste of what it was like to be a working production jeweler, craftsman, and teacher,” she explained, “while Erin and Brian showed me the tough and small world of what it is like to be in the metal arts.” Overall, she concluded, “It gave me a sense of where I want to be in ten years. The work I did and the people I met gave me a lot of ideas about what I can do, and the kind of person/artist I want to be.”