Meet our Artist-in-Residence, Corey Drew!

Contemporary Craft’s Artist-in-Residence program supports artists in any stage of their career, with free access to our fully equipped studios, CC staff support and the opportunity to be an instructor in the Studio.

This summer, our Artist-in-Residence is Corey Drew, a metals artist and jewelry maker. Corey has been hard at work in our metals studio working on a new body of work and preparing to teach their first class at CC – Crafts and Drafts: Drawing on Enamel with Corey Drew on Friday, July 9.

Corey took a break from creating to answer a few questions about their practice and creative process. Read on to learn more about Corey!

What is your artistic background/how did you get into craft art and jewelry making?

I had always been interested in art, but I wasn’t sure what path I would take. I originally went to Edinboro University to study animation and took my first metals class my sophomore year to fill a 3D credit. Initially, I really struggled with the class. Working with metal was unlike anything I’d ever done before, but eventually I came to really love it. I took another metals class and, afterwards, switched my major to jewelry and metalsmithing!

What are your favorite materials to work with/types of items to make?

There are so many materials, and my practice really ebbs and flows when it comes to what I feel like making with. Right now, I’m doing a lot of enameling because it’s not something I’ve had access to do since graduating.

My favorite items to make are earrings and brooches. I love making wearable work, and I think it’s so special making art that people want to wear on their body. Also, as a fat person, I like that earrings and pins are generally one size fits all.

From where do you draw your inspiration?

Largely, I draw inspiration from my own body and experiences as a fat, queer, mentally-ill, non-binary person. I model for a lot of my own work, but I also like to use nature, especially flowers, to talk about transformation, relationships, and emotions. I also draw on queer history and symbolism.

What is your creative process like?

Chaotic haha. What I’m interested in talking about or making with can shift rapidly, and I often feel like I’m trying to keep up. Sometimes I come up with a concept and I figure out what materials and techniques will best represent that. Sometimes I start with a material or technique and figure out what I want to say with them.

Corey at work in our Metals Studio.

What attracted you to Contemporary Craft?

I wanted to connect and get involved with the local craft and metals community! I think building community is so important, and my art community largely switched to online after graduating. I knew I needed to forge some new, in-person relationships. I had tried volunteering and applying for an internship at Contemporary Craft in the beginning of 2020, and well, we all know how 2020 turned out. Last December I found out about CC’s artist residency program and applied!

What is the most rewarding thing about your practice?

It’s really important to me to talk about queerness, transness, and fatness and to connect with others who share those identities. I want them to feel seen and heard. I want them to wear my work and feel happier and more confident in themselves.

What challenges do you face as a working artist?

One of the biggest challenges has just been finding a place to work. A lot of metalsmithing tools go against my lease in one way or another. It’s been extremely tough trying to be an artist through the pandemic. So much went online, and I feel there’s a ton of online censorship of fat, trans, and queer people. This past year has been a huge learning experience.

Outside of your practice, do you do any other creative activities/what are your interests?

I really enjoy sketching and printmaking. I’m going to grad school this fall, and I’m hoping to try out glass and textiles. Outside of that, I enjoy playing video games, watching anime and cartoons, reading manga, cooking, and baking.

What are your goals for the future?

I’m continuing my jewelry, metals, and enameling education at Kent State University. I know I still have so much to learn! I will get the opportunity to teach which is super exciting to me. I think it’s so rewarding to be able to share my knowledge and love of metals with others. I would also like to continue creating wearable work.

Anything else you would like to add?

Along with my independent practice, I am the Co-Founder and Social Media Director of the online art gallery and artist collective, Queerly Collective. We feature a different queer artist every week as well as hold online art exhibitions. We recently released our third exhibition, Queers Just Wanna Have Fun II! You can keep up to date with Queerly Collective on Instagram. You can check out the show (as well as past shows) on our website.

You can find Corey on Instagram and through their website.