Fioné Harvey, Jeweler
Metalsmith for Ten Thousand Things, NY, NY
Graduated: Class of 2006
Major: Fine Arts
Home Town: Elmhurst, Queens, NY
What are your favorite materials to work with?
I like silver and I use a lot of wood. I use Cocobolo, it's an exotic wood from West Africa.
Do you think that attending PrattMWP helped to prepare you for any of this?
I feel I was prepped for it; classes demanded so much from us. At Pratt Brooklyn you have to go after what you want. I knew that I had to find a job in the jewelry field. I feel like I got lucky in a sense working at Ten Thousand Things because a lot of people are still looking for work. You know it's hard.
Was it a shock, hitting the pavement after school?
Yeah it was. I had this notion that I was immediately going to get a job working for a company - I didn't care if I had to start at the bottom. I just wanted to start somewhere. I got my first job off of Craigslist. I was working for this woman for about a year, then I got an interview with a husband and wife company in the diamond district. I worked with them for a little bit to improve my technical skills, then Ten Thousand Things grabbed me up and I've been with them ever since.
You've just been insanely busy since you got out of school!
I need a vacation (laughs). I don't care as long as it's someplace out of the city, just for a little bit - to go somewhere and read a book.
How do you think your work has evolved since you graduated?
In school you're stuck in that mindset of making things that are not necessarily, you know, commercial. As a jeweler, if you want to make money you have to make more commercial work. Some of my own work is very personal, it's about me... and sometimes I have to step away from that and, you know... make things pretty.
What made you want to go into jewelry?
I really like working with my hands. I really loved sculpture, but I worked slow and wanted to make everything perfect. I liked things more detail-oriented but it took me longer to finish projects. As a kid I always used to buy costume jewelry and take it apart... I wanted to do that, so I kind of went for it... and I fell in love with it. I love making things - I don't care how long it takes, I just go from point A to point B and enjoy the process of how things change. I get a lot of satisfaction out of that.
Do you have a studio at home as well?
I do. Right now things have been a little hectic at work, where we are preparing for a couple of shows so this past month I haven't been able to work on my own stuff. Working for Ten Thousand Things and doing freelance work as well, the social life and all that other stuff goes to the side until that project gets done.
You sound as if you like the stress?
A little, but I feel liberated once it's done. I like to push myself. Once it's done I can relax. I enjoy working. I feel that if I work hard I will reap the benefits eventually.
What's it like working for Ten Thousand Things?
I love working there - we have fun. It gets a little crazy preparing for shows at times, but we get the work done. Sometimes I think we make miracles happen because somebody always wants something done right away, but it's definitely a relaxed place to work. I feel blessed; I love my job.
So what does the future hold for you?
I definitely want to go for my master's degree, I would love to teach one day. I like working with kids and I volunteer working with New York City kids. If I can, I'd teach a class for kids.
Why did you decide to attend PrattMWP?
Well (laughs), I think it was initially because PrattMWP was cheaper.
Hey there's nothing wrong with frugality.
I actually didn't know about PrattMWP, growing up in the city. I was applying to Pratt Brooklyn and that's when I found out. They asked me if I had heard of their Upstate campus. It just made sense to me. I've just paid for everything myself; it just seemed smarter.
How did you feel about the size of the campus?
I'm glad I made the decision to go there. I really liked the small classrooms and the one-on-one with the professors. The instruction and the focus made it easier to make the transition to Pratt Brooklyn. A lot of my classmates from PrattMWP are my closest friends today because when we made the move to Brooklyn, the campus was so large and we all stuck together.