Desire: Storytellers & Storymakers

Professor Renee Zettle-Sterling of the Jewelry and Metalsmithing department and Associate Professor Caitlin Horrocks of the Writing department have teamed up with the efforts of their students on a collaborative project called Desire: Storytellers & Storymakers. Caitlin Horrocks’ Fiction and Creative Nonfiction classes wrote pieces focused on the central theme of desire, and interpreted it as they saw fit. The selected pieces of writing were then numbered and Renee’s students selected them at random from a hat. Each student was given a piece of writing to base a jewelry piece upon, which they would design and create through processes involving casting and fabrication.

Student Arianna Onesi received a fiction piece by Garret Hein in which the narrator continuously compares his life circumstances to a hot tub: increasingly discontented with the sensations, but feeling unable to get out. He wants to be a writer and moves to Texas, only to find out his girlfriend is pregnant, through which he finds meaning. Arianna ordered iridescent bulb ornaments with a semblance to bubbles, putting them together in clusters on a necklace chain with a silver metal ball in the middle that represents the baby.

Claire Bennett is making her piece based off of a nonfiction piece by writer Alysia Bader in which she describes trips to her great grandmother’s house who was a hoarder, going into detail about on the chaos and filthiness that she would pay Alysia to attempt to clean. As she gets older, she develops a sense of empathy and realization that hoarding is a sickness, and her perspective changes. Claire took pieces of metal and etched in them the significant imagery of the story: cat figurines, a music box, a toilet, clowns, Chinese vases, and Native American mementos. These are charms that will come together in a necklace.

Kayla Gottwald is making a sitting chestpiece inspired by the nonfiction piece of Marion Jamet, “Letters to the Never Men.” It centers around the stories of the men in her family’s lineage. To represent this piece, Kayla constructed a family tree out of a copper wire. A stone at the bottom, azurite, represents Marion’s place in the tree, and hanging from the branches with chains, there are circular pieces of copper with cut-out silhouettes that represent these men. Etched into the copper using acid, she added inscriptions from excerpts of the story.

Emily Ruth Driscoll wrote a surreal fantasy piece about dreams, and Connor Shea is creating a necklace centered around it. In the story, a girl finds herself existing only within other people’s dreams, distressed at not knowing her purpose. Throughout these dreams she is followed by a giant eye, and originally fears it, but then it speaks to her as the titan of dreams, and she discovers it wants to help her. It tells her that her purpose is that she is the guardian of dreams, and her presence keeps everything in order. Connor is constructing the necklace out of trinkets, held together with tendril-like wire, as the story has lots of tendril imagery. There will be an eye with a labradorite stone pupil, a crescent moon with moonstone, and a journal charm to represent the character’s dream journal. “I couldn’t have had a better person to do my piece,” Emily says.

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This collaboration has been in the works for quite some time (about four years). While presenting her work during her sabbatical showcase, Renee Zettle-Sterling met Horrocks and as they got to talking, they discovered they had a lot in common. The jewelry will be on display in the Padnos Gallery along with excerpts from the writing pieces that inspired them. These words will be on the wall, made out of 600 feet of vinyl. The reception is held April 4 from 5 to 7 p.m in the Padnos Student Art and Design Gallery. They’re very excited to see the masterpieces that have come from this, as creative minds have many things in common, and it’s amazing what is created when ideas are shared and shaped into different mediums.

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