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2016 Graduate Highlights

2016 has proven to be an exciting year for the School of Jewelry and Metal Arts! Between exhibitions, new classes, and other great events, our students have been very very busy. In honor of their hard work, we have selected a small group of this years graduates to highlight.


Jenhui Chang

"Those Beautiful Little Pathogens"

"Wearing jewelry is special and enjoyable, but because I am allergic to metals and other things, I cannot wear jewelry. As a lover of jewelry, I try to overcome my allergies and deal with the reactions my body has to metal touching my skin. I have gradually come to accept the fact that the allergies win every time. I began to be curious about these tiny pathogens, and how certain tiny organisms have so much power and influence over human beings. 

Since I cannot overcome my own allergies, I wanted to conquer the irritants by creating a body of work consisting of jewelry and sculptural pieces inspired by a variety of cells that trigger people's physical responses. 

Also, I want to create awareness about people suffering from illnesses. Through this work, people may have a better understanding of the beautiful, yet powerful impact of those tiny cells, and develop empathy towards others instead of judging them from unpleasant appearances."


Hsinyu Candy Chu

Light & Shadow

"Growing up, my father immersed me in the ancient Chinese concepts of Yi-Ching (or The Book of Changes). He analyzes its classical theories and applies it in Fung Shui. He emphasizes the five natural elements (wood, fire, earth, gold, water) as he adjusts differences in magnetic fields to achieve balance and harmony.  

Having been exposed to such ideas, I am becoming increasingly interested in the idea of complementarity, of Yin-Yang. I believe that opposites are important as they help us to both see and allow us balance. The same is true of human moods; we can’t conceive happiness without sadness, and vice versa. Also, one emotion can bleed into the next and transform seamlessly. For instance, we understand and see light precisely because darkness also exists. In life, we are led to seek harmony among a series of opposing forces.

Interconnectivity of the universe and all beings can be representative of the Yin and Yang theory. If the symbol can be interpreted as the universe then all that is within the universe has both light and shadow sides. Light and shadow are two different energies that represent the diversity of elements. They are opposites, but also complements. Light overtakes shadow and shadow can overtake light. In other words, we can find light within shadow and shadow within light. We cannot separate them. The two different energies maintain balance and harmony.


Azita Mireshghi

Nature as Empowerment

"I find the nature that surrounds us to be the most significant force in our unnatural lives. The mystery, beauty, and power present in nature inspire me and help me stay grounded in the chaos that confines me. The objective of this thesis is to create a body of work consisting of mainly jewelry, including aesthetic elements from nature meant to convey the emotion of empowerment to the wearer.

The primary material for my work is metal: brass, steel, bronze, and copper. Unique elements such as intricate animal skin patterns and peculiar appendages such as horns, spark my curiosity and fascination. To capture their energy, I incorporate organic materials such as horn or horse hair, and etchings of textures meant to mimic their skin. The design and composition of each piece is influenced by tribal and ethnic adornments, biomorphic shapes, and forms used in armor. I work mostly on a large scale so each piece amplifies the body, helping the wearer empower themselves and give them the confidence to accomplish anything."


Diana Garcia Lecompte

“A halo of wonder encircles everything that he sees..."
Woolf, Virginia. The Common Reader (1925). 'The Elizabethan Lumber Room'.

"When I was a child in Bogota, Colombia, my family created an imaginary bubble of protection from the chaos that surrounded us. Under this shield I developed a sense of safety. Where I was not aware of what has happening around. I always felt protected by them as if nothing could happen to us. This feeling of safety is one of the greatest memories from my childhood.

Because of my protected upbringing, I design metal pieces that make the wearer feel safe, the same way that I feel when I was a kid. Utilizing elements from my childhood, I recreate my universe in the form of jewelry. My jewelry creates a space around the body and the piece itself. The wearer is meant to feel as though the jewelry is creating a bubble in their physical and spiritual space."


Xiaomin Li

The Contrast of Animate vs Inanimate in Wearable Forms

"Over the two years I have developed my own way of working on the concept called the contrast of animate vs inanimate via wearable forms. The contrast lies in both the concept and the visual effect. My inspiration comes from my personal interest, creating the impression of living plants. I chose plants such as seaweed and cactus for their potential geometric structures. I am fascinated by their unique structural beauty. Usually, I make organic forms stand for the animate part, constructed frame works for the inanimate part.

In some of my works, for interpreting how the thesis generated in my brain, I added a part which was mixed with the organic and the geometric elements. I am also working on creating visual contrast by coloring and combing positive part with negative part together. The scales of my works were controlled in the range of wearable forms, because I see what I am creating as in the field of applied art. I hope to build a bridge, which is my art jewelry works, to connect our daily lives with art closely.