Fairport, Alfred University Graduate Joins Walker Metalsmiths Celtic Jewelry

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Fairport native Lindsey Heavner earns Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Alfred University. Seeking training in jewelry craftsmanship that she could not get at school, she sought out a part-time apprenticeship with her home town jeweler which has turned into a full-time job upon graduation.

Walker Metalsmiths master and apprentices

Master jeweler Stephen Walker, seated, with apprentices Wilie Walker, Lindsey Heavner and Abram Grossman.

Just as Celtic design sounds very medieval and hand craftsmanship is also old-fashioned, the idea of apprenticeship seems like something from a bygone era. But it works very well for us.

Walker Metalsmiths, a traditional craftsman centered goldsmithing company that specializes in Scottish and Irish themed Celtic jewelry, is continuing the time honored practice of education in the trade through apprenticeship. Lindsey Heavner, a 2010 Fairport High School graduate and 2014 graduate of the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, has been working part-time for Walker Metalsmiths Andover, NY workshop for the last year and a half of her time at Alfred. This May, she begins a full-time position with the company.

Master craftsman Stephen Walker has trained a number of apprentices with a four year program of on-the-job training at the jeweler’s bench. Alumni of his studio have gone on to start their own businesses, work for other jewelers, as well as staying with his growing company. Walker explains, “Just as Celtic design sounds very medieval and hand craftsmanship is also old-fashioned, the idea of apprenticeship seems like something from a bygone era. But it works very well for us.”

Walker’s family run business has two shops. The main workshop, showroom and mail-order shipping center is located in the rural Village of Andover, NY. Andover is 80 miles south of Rochester, NY and near Alfred, NY. Walker maintains a second shop featuring his unique modern Celtic design jewelry in the Village of Fairport, Lindsey’s home town, which is east of Rochester on the Erie Canal.

The cultural theme of Walker Metalsmiths’ jewelry is a good fit for Lindsey. Her grandparents, Robert and Margaret McGregor have incorporated their Scottish heritage into their own business, McGregor Winery on Keuka Lake.

Lindsey recalls her early interest in jewelry at Fairport High School. “Mrs. Harris is really the one who exposed me to making jewelry as something artistic. I spent a lot of my time in her art room.” During the summer of her sophomore year at Alfred Lindsey served an internship with famed Rochester metalsmith and sculptor Albert Paley, working with his archivist.

At Alfred, most of Lindsey’s art classes were in painting and sculpture. She also has a business minor in Art Management. She looked outside of the college for a way to continue her training in jewelry. Walker says, “When Lindsey first interviewed for an apprenticeship, it was her business minor that got my attention. I have often heard it said that an art student should have a business minor. After forty years, Lindsey is the first art student I have met who actually did that.”

Walker Metalsmiths has been making silver and gold wedding rings, engagement rings, Celtic crosses and other forms of jewelry in Andover for thirty years. The Fairport store opened at 140 Packets Landing during Canal Days of 2009. This year’s Canal Days Festival June 7 & 8 will mark the fifth anniversary of Walker’s opening. Lindsey is expected to be covering the store in her home town during June 2014 while the regular manager is out on maternity leave. Then she will return to the Southern Tier to continue her work and training in jewelry and gemstone arts. For more information on Walker Metalsmiths call 1-800-488-6347 or visit their website at http://www.WalkersCelticJewelry.com.

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