An interview with metalsmith and jeweler Amarette Gregor
When it comes to planning her career, Portland, Oregon metalsmith and jeweler Amarette Gregor is laser-focused. The artist recently participated in a CERF+ panel on building sustaining careers at Clackamas County Arts Alliance’s Art Extravaganza in Oregon City. CERF+ Program Director Jenifer Simon interviewed Amarette to learn more about her strategies for a purposeful and sustainable career.
(Jenifer Simon JS) What type of insurance do you have?
(Amarette Gregor AG) I have both liability and property insurance, because I wanted peace of mind for my tools and “stuff” as well as for people interacting with my work out in the world.
JS: How did you find an insurance policy?
AG: Google is your friend! Virtually every question you can think of has already been asked, and chances are you’ll find an article or two that will be really helpful. Don’t overlook the internet as an important resource. It’s also critical to make some real-time phone calls, check with friends or family and try to find someone with whom you can have a face-to-face relationship with.
JS: What questions should an artist ask?
AG: Find out what is covered, where it is covered, and what damages causes are covered. Earthquake? Flood? Get specific. Be prepared to tell the insurance agent about your business activities and equipment, what kind of studio set-up you have, and what your needs are. The right insurance agent will help you assess – and educate you – on what risks you might be exposed to. If an insurance agent isn’t asking you a lot of questions (or answering them!) find another agent who does. Find someone you’re comfortable having a real conversation with — this is who you’ll have to deal with if the worst should happen. CERF+’s website is an awesome resource for starting your insurance hunt!
JS: How much does insurance it cost?
AG: Amounts vary, but mine costs about $325 a year. I pay about $27 monthly.
JS: How do you safeguard your own health as part of your studio practice?
AG: As a metalsmith and jeweler, I’ve already suffered from tendinitis, which left me unable to work for 6 months. Now I’m very careful about taking preventative measures (like stretching) to stay tuned-in to my body and muscles. I think long-term and full-body. A lifetime career means seeing the big picture when it comes to maintaining your most important tool. Get creative when looking for stretches, massages or physical therapists (Google again!) Also, consider ways to diversify your activities or find help with a production process. Consider your whole body. Seriously, STRETCH!
Here are some stretches I do every day:
And, don’t forget your eyes! Shout out to safety glasses and magnifiers! A small amount of magnification can be provided by reading glasses. Even if you don’t need them to read, they can help reduce eye strain if you are doing detailed, close-up work for a long period of time.
JS: How do you stay so focused on your studio and business practices as an artist?
AG: This one’s easy, since I love what I do. I plan where I want to be in 5 years, 10 years, 15 years. I want my career to be purposeful and sustainable. And I’m a nerd when it comes to being prepared!