Stephen was born to second and third generation Scottish American's. His mother's father, William Watt and his father's grandfather, John Walker both came from Aberdeenshire, a part of Scotland rich in Celtic and Pictish art. They settled in New York State and Vermont respectively, near the turn of the century. Susan's grandmother Delany was from County Tipperary in Ireland before emigrating in her teens to Auburn, NY. Her father's side of the family came to the US from Scotland by way of Nova Scotia.
Stephen was originally attracted to Celtic design by way of Celtic music. At age 14 he found his life revolving around the Allegany Highlanders Bagpipe Band. He went from crafting pipe band regalia to jewelry and art metal during his teens with the guidance of his art teacher Scotty MacCrea. Stephen later graduated from Syracuse University, where he met his wife Susan, in 1980 with an art degree in Metalsmithing which was followed by a Master of Fine Arts from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1982. His master work was focused primarily on Mokume-Gane and Married metals which is part of the inspiration for our multiple metal frame pieces today. During this time Susan received her BA in Marketing and a Master's degree in Education.
In 1983 Stephen and Sue returned to his hometown to raise their family in the quiet community in the Allegany foothills of Andover, NY. Over the years Stephen slowly grew his business from 3 designs sold by catalog to the bustling workshop and retail location that is here today. Meanwhile Susan was teaching math at Alfred State College and growing their family to include Andrew, Jeanne, Margaret, Donald, William, and Stephen J. In the mid 90's Susan also joined the family business using her background in business and marketing to run the business end of things so Stephen could focus on his artistry. Today Walker Metalsmiths is a community minded business that runs both a craftsman workshop, retail gallery, and thriving online business.
Stephen enjoys training his apprentices and passing on his skills to the next generation. He also is an avid member of the local Ski Patrol and is trained in mountain rescue. He's a long time member of the Andover Lion's Club and supports many other community projects including the Andover Block Party and school fundraisers. He also still plays bagpipes and marches in the 4th of July parade.
Susan was a member of the Andover School Board for 25 years before retiring. She enjoys reading, crochet, and tending her lilac and blueberry bushes. Her main enjoyment, and Stephen's as well, is their family, which now includes 5 grandchildren. Stephen and Susan can often be found playing hooky from work in the afternoons to take Betty and Daisy to the local playground or taking a long weekend in Vermont to visit Sylvia, AJ, and Mason.