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Framing The Experience: GVSU Art Students at Artprize


An ArtPrize exhibit featuring Grand Valley State University students from the Art and Design Department may not have won the big prize, but it is winning praise from the students' teacher.  'Framing the Experience' is more than just jewelry or even art: it reflects experiences in the artist's life.

“ They all have a story behind it…"

Sitting just west of the blue bridge, set up in one of those moving pods, Shuying Vogt's been manning the GVSU jewelry and metalsmithing ArtPrize exhibit since day one.

“So this is my memory, I want to share my memory to the people who are here. I hope people will understand more because it’s different”

A mini art gallery; the walls are lined with framed, one-of-a-kind, unique jewelry pieces - not the kind you’d find in stores. The exhibit is titled, 'Framing the Experience'.

Students tie in research, interests and life's experiences.

“[It really talks about] the experience at Grand Valley. The experience in the art department, the experience in this particular studio and the personal experience of the student.”

That’s metalsmithing teacher Beverly Seley, who’s proud of her department’s first ArtPrize entry, but says she’s even more proud of her students.

Senior Jillian Thompson shows me how she created her pieces.

Hammering long strips of copper, she first researched African jewelry. Thompson says she studies a lot of African culture and decided to create slave bracelets.

“I named it bondage, because they were bonded to being here against their will," Thompson says, "coming over with chains on them, bonded to this new culture."

"I try to relay that in my images, especially with the blue patina. I wanted to show the process of them being on the ship ... I get that feeling from how the patina ended up on the bronze, and [also] the roughness of the copper, how I hammered it."
Junior Emma Hoekstra chose mourning jewelry, pulled from Queen Victoria mourning the death of her husband. She ties it into her own emotional experience.

“So, I kind of took that idea and made a line of jewelry for my family," Hoekstra says. "If I were to pass away, so they had something unique of me that I made.”

“I lost somebody close to me a year and a half ago, and it kind of hit me really hard - how much you miss somebody and then they just disappear. So I wanted to make something precious for my loved ones.  You kind of long for something that they left behind for you.”

The ArtPrize exhibits are on display until Sunday.

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