Bruce Metcalf earned a B.F.A. degree in 1972 at Syracuse University and an M.F.A. at the Tyler School of Art of Temple University in 1977. Metcalf taught at Kent State University in Ohio from 1981 to 1991. He has been a contributing editor of Metalsmith magazine for nearly two decades and teaches at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Metcalf uses various materials, including wood, metal, and Plexiglass, and diverse techniques for his jewelry, small sculptures, and wall reliefs. Employing disparate images drawn from personal experience, he contrasts familiar, mundane objects with the unfamiliar in an effort to create whimsical yet restrained works of art that comment on the human condition.
Kenneth R. Trapp and Howard Risatti Skilled Work: American Craft in the Renwick Gallery (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998)
Bruce Metcalf employs a variety of materials and techniques in his work, drawing from personal beliefs and experiences to present “tiny secular passion plays” that acknowledge both the dignity and the flaws of the human condition. The artist enjoys the democratic aspect of jewelry, stating that the audience is “whoever is near: passerby; checkout clerks; strangers on an elevator.” His work offers “a diary and a collection of souvenirs” to provoke reflection and inspire the imagination.