Design a site like this with
Get started

Introducing VMA: The Jewelry and Metalsmithing Area


Holly McDermott’s necklace

Jewelry and Metalsmithing (JEM) is one of Grand Valley’s fine art programs, and an expertise so specific it has its perks, with courses centered around conceptual themes. In addition to personal connections, the program also offers majors their own studio space and work bench, which quickly become personalized with photos, plants, magazine clippings, incense, and quaint trinkets. Learning jewelry as a fine art, students are encouraged to push boundaries with ‘traditional jewelry’ and developing their own unique artistic style integrated into their jewelry lines. Imagine pieces crafted with (molds of) teeth, pencils, hair, and even birth control packs. There are more casual daywear pieces too, of course, using gems, precious stones, and copper.


Student Holly McDermott in her studio

If you’re searching for distinct signature jewelry that can’t be found elsewhere, a golden opportunity is on the horizon. Advanced metalworking student Holly McDermott excitedly tells of a pop-up shop happening this weekend, featuring her jewelry as well as that of other GVSU students and alumni.

Support Laker craftsmanship at Dime & Regal, a local jewelry and art shop created by GVSU Visual Studies alumni Courtney Jones on Wealthy Street SE, Grand Rapids. The sale will be open on Saturday, September 15th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Jewelry and Metalsmithing courses are available as credits for majors, minors, and as an introductory elective for those interested in the process. They are taught by Renée Zettle-Sterling, coauthor of CAST: Art and Objects, and Pete Antor, Grand Valley alumni specializing in ranges of material. Courses cover technical processes of setting, casting, and soldering, as well as teaching about design and safety.

Stones are available for purchase
Stones are available for purchase

Alumni find themselves thriving in the jewelry and metalsmithing community and making great use of the knowledge they accumulate, creating businesses and acclaimed jewelry lines, becoming leaders, and showcasing their artwork exhibits. Many open their own line while still obtaining their degree. The Visual and Media Arts department is proud of the innovative and expansive minds that continue to blossom with creativity and impact the community.

Students in the JEM studio purchasing stones for their projects
Students in the JEM studio purchasing stones for their projects

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: