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Gretchen Otto was born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. She received a BA in Fine Art with a concentration in Metalsmithing from Seton Hill College, Greensburg, Pennsylvania; an MFA in Metalsmithing from Cranbrook Academy of Art Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; a Teaching Certification K-12 from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan; and a PhD in Art Education from Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania. She began teaching at EMU in 1987.
Duality: I am an artist and an art educator. I have an MFA in metalsmithing and PhD in art education. I have taught art education at Eastern Michigan University for 16 years. For the last six years, I have taught metalsmithing. I tell my students that sometimes you have to wait a long time before you get the perfect job, but that it is worth the wait and the struggle to do something you love.
I have worked in both worlds all my life and I think it is reflected in my work. â€œGirlishnessâ€ vs. strong feminism; formality vs. emotional; portraying a light-hearted spirit vs. serious historical research are all a part of the decision making in my work whether conscious or unconscious. But most of all I just want to have fun.