Erika Strecker grew up helping her mother, a full time studio potter. She graduated from Kenyon College with a major in painting and printmaking and became a CORE student at Penland School of Crafts in the small metals and jewelry program. At Penland in North Carolina, Erika studied under blacksmith Rick Smith and her love of forged steel began.
After apprenticing a year with North Carolina blacksmith and sculptor Bill Brown Jr. where she learned to work on a very large scale, Erika returned home to Kentucky and set up a forge near Shakertown. After two years of blacksmithing and selling her work, Erika completed a degree at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, becoming the first woman to receive an MFA in Blacksmithing.
Strecker has been working as a sculptor and metal smith for over 16 years. Working primarily in metal, Erika designs and builds both functional and sculptural works. She has exhibited widely across the country and has been commissioned by public, corporate and private entities internationally.
Strecker’s site specific commissions can be found at Berea College, the State of Kentucky’s Transportation Building, Vanderbilt University, the University of Kentucky’s Chandler Medical Facility, and Sheridan College in Wyoming, to name a few. She has received numerous awards including the prestigious Al Smith Fellowship in 2007 from the Kentucky Arts Council. Strecker is a juried member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists & Craftsmen.
Erika’s work can also be found at the Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft, Louisville, KY; at Swanson/Cralle Gallery, Louisville, KY; and at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, KY.