Students create their own jewelry


Claudia Hernandez

Studio major student works on creating metal jewelry.

Claudia Flores, Contributor

In fashion, it takes the right accessories to complete a look and at UTEP students can take a course that teaches how to create their own jewelry and metal accessories at the metals and jewelry program at UTEP. The program allows students to create earrings, rings, necklaces and even sculptural body parts that can be worn as a complement to their outfits.

“I often create things out of what can be called found materials, like staples and pins,” said Jess Tolbert, visiting assistant professor and head of the jewelry and metals program at UTEP. “These are things that are very common and have just one specific purpose, that is why I work with those materials.”

In this program, students not only learn to create jewelry and shape metals, but also they learn about current international trends and contemporary trends that allows them to explore different areas in jewelry fashion.

To some students, fashion is crucial and being involved in the creation of accessories can be a fun way to experiment.

“Initially, I took this class because it is a requirement, but I love to wear jewelry and it is just really cool to know that you can make something and be able to wear it, and when people ask about your earrings or other jewelry you can actually say, ‘Oh, I made them.’” said Karen Flores, a junior art major.

However, the process to create these pieces can be long and tedious as students have to dedicate  hours in order to achieve the desired form when molding the metals. The time spent on the process also depends on the material used to create the accessories.

“First you have to think of the concept, and then you have to make a template so you can see how to work on your design, then you choose the metal you want to work with,” Flores said. “Right now, I’ve been working on a  brooch for about two weeks and I’m going to have another week to finish it.”

To some artists, the fun part comes after creating the accessories, as they can keep their work or sell it in exhibitions and art festivals.

“In art exhibitions, sometimes the work is sold and a lot of times is kept, it just depends on its purpose,” Tolbert said.

The metals and jewelry program offers several courses starting with an introduction level, where students learn about the metals and how to work with them, to an advanced level, where students create major projects for exhibitions.