By Madeline Miller ’18
“Jewelry Making at the HOP”–one of the many activities that were part of Dartmouth’s Sophomore Family Weekend July 29-31–was a resounding success. About 70 people streamed through the studio over a period of just two hours! The Donald Claflin Jewelry Studio (or “Jshop”), located in the basement of the HOP next to Paddock library, represents one of the Student Workshops at Dartmouth and provides the tools and resources for students to design and create pieces of jewelry. Jshop also hosts larger group events outside of its regular studio hours, such as this event, which invited Dartmouth students and their families to enter the studio and design their own masterpiece.
Larger events call for simpler projects with less instruction. With only one employee to assist him, Claflin Studio Director Jeff Georgantes planned to include only two main projects: stamping and beading. Stamping projects could either be a key chain or a bracelet. Stamps included words or symbols, and hammered textures could either enhance the stamped design or stand by themselves.
Both projects lend themselves to simplicity while allowing for a huge amount of creativity. Every time I staff one of these events, I see projects very different from what I’ve seen in the past. At this event, one participant decided to twist his bracelet in an extremely unconventional way. While his initial design looked a little uncomfortable, he eventually worked the metal to shape it in a suitable way to match his wrist. Another participant created an exceptionally delicate border to her key chain, which a couple other participants admired and incorporated into their own design.
When the first group of 10 entered at the start of the event, it became clear that we would draw far more than the 25 participants we had anticipated. Beginning in an orderly manner with some brief instruction, we saw the studio quickly fill with activity. Those who had heard the first set of instructions busily hammered or selected beads, while newcomers rapidly joined in the crowds. Spotting new groups of confused-looking families, Jeff or I would explain the basics and get them started. Family members would often assist each other. One small but enthusiastic elementary school girl made her own miniature hammered bracelet and then showed her mother how to make one. A pair of sisters debated hammering techniques while their brother filed away the sharper edges of his bracelet.
While the large numbers were a surprise, it was wonderful to see so many people enjoying themselves at the Jshop. Whether it was the solitary couple carefully hammering “Dartmouth” onto a single bracelet or the enthusiastic family of five creating key chain after key chain, the event provided entertainment, joy and collaboration for all involved.
About Madeline: I’m an ’18 from Anchorage, Alaska. I’m a cognitive science major, a very involved member of the Dartmouth College Marching Band and a teaching assistant in the Claflin Jewelry Studio. My favorite Jshop project to work on with beginners is a silver band ring, as it involves an introduction to the soldering process and still moves quickly enough that I usually get to see their end result and satisfaction in their work!