The Donald Claflin Jewelry Studio in the basement of the Hopkins Center is one of Dartmouth’s coolest little-known resources. Started under the non-credit arts enrichment program in 1962, the jewelry studio is open to all Dartmouth students, with or without jewelry-making experience.
The studio has open studio hours, during which students can come in and receive assistance to make jewelry. Specific classes are offered on Tuesday nights, and there are a variety of classes taught by guest artists. The studio occasionally hosts jewelry parties like Ladies’ Night, and many campus groups can book the studio so their members can create pieces together, jewelry studio director Jeff Georgantes said.
I got a chance to meet with the friendly director, and he told me about his experience with jewelry. Georgantes started working at the studio in 2005 and has a master’s degree in both sculpture and jewelry. He was previously a college art teacher and was not initially used to each student making a different, personalized item when he started at the Claflin Jewelry Studio.
“The studio plays a very unique role in people’s life [because] people get to come here to explore their creative side without worrying about their grades,” he said.
Georgantes said his favorite part of his job is meeting and interacting with students, who often have “fascinating” life stories.
“The first time I was scared, but anyone can walk in and [people working there] will help you make stuff,” Karima Ma ’14 said.
Ma, who currently works at the jewelry studio, found about the studio from her sister, a member of the Class of 2012. She first went to the studio during Orientation, where Georgantes helped her make jewelry. To her surprise, he encouraged her to apply to work at the studio by the end of her first session, Ma said.
“The studio is not just a work place, it is also a social place,” Ma, who noted that the studio is a welcoming environment that gave her the opportunity to meet upperclassmen during her freshman year, said.
This coming year, a specialist in enameling will join the studio as a jewelry instructor and artist-in-residence and will teach many of the special topic classes, according to Georgantes. The jewelry studio will also be organizing events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Hop.
Making your own jewelry is also a thrifty alternative to buying your own — why wait to discover your inner artist?