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Stanley Lechtzin

Lechtzin was born in Detroit, Michigan. He was introduced to jewelry and metalsmithing during high school. He found particular interest in the activity and was the recipient of scholastic art awards. Lechtzin worked in a jewelry repair shop for three years. After high school Lechtzin worked as a draftsman and a cartographer. While working as a draftsman for the City of Detroit Public Lighting Commission he realized this was not what he wanted to do with his career and started to take night courses at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Philip Fike was the jewelry and metalsmithing teacher at Wayne State. Fike was referred to Lechtzin by Lechtzin's high school teacher. Philip Fike was open with his philosophies and instilled values of innovation and artistic integrity in his students. Lechtzin set up a studio and was receiving awards and commissions when he graduated from Wayne State University. Lechtzin realized he was competing against and showing with graduate students from Cranbrook Academy of Art. He knew that was the next step for his development as an artist and jeweler. Lechtzin entered Cranbrook Academy of Art during a time when the crafts were flourishing. At Cranbrook Lechtzin learned about and came to respect the academic community and its goals. He developed a sense of the value of academic freedom and the importance of research. Lechtzin's graduate work reflected an interest in ferrous metals and stainless steel flatware. His professor at Cranbrook, Richard Thomas, was involved in the creation of numerous liturgical and ceremonial pieces. After graduating from Cranbrook, Lechtzin applied for teaching positions on college campuses. He was also offered the opportunity to be a partner in a jewelry business. However, Lechtzin accepted a teaching position at Tyler School of Art. He came to Tyler and taught ceramics for two years and developed the jewelry and metalsmithing department. In five years he was ready to open the graduate program in metals. Lechtzin's post graduate work was the result of researching how to create large, light-weight, wearable jewelry. He studied electroforming processes and brought it into the metalsmithing field. Later studies in plastics led him to the successful use of both electroforming and plastics to create large, light-weight pieces. In 1978 Lechtzin had a break in his philosophy. He started to look to computers and computer aided technologies as a new way of making jewelry. Lechtzin believes artists are societies cultural antenna and as such address issues in contemporary society. Through these beliefs he envisions a new craft. He sees unique objects as always having importance in society. Through his work, Lechtzin strikes a cord in society through example with his work. By striking this responsive cord, Lechtzin believes change will occur. He is engaged in an exploration of where the metalsmithing and craft communities are changing in terms of how to fulfill the need for objects in society, what they will be and how they will be made. Lechtzin is noted for his work and research in electroforming and Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacture. More detailed information about Lechtzin is available at Tyler School of Art's Craft Department website.