Dec 032007
Authors: Laurel Berch

Ear warmers, wrist warmers, embellished vintage post cards and a variety of jewelry can be purchased from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Jewelry and Fiber Holiday Sale today and Wednesday at the Lory Student Center flea market.

The sale, sponsored by the Metalsmithing Guild of CSU, is the final assignment for students of the intermediate and advanced metals and fibers classes. The sale features handmade, original designs that are under $20 for students.

President of Metal’s Guild of CSU Travis Parry, a junior seeking a bachelor of fine arts with a concentration in metalsmithing, said that the sale will also include more artistic, higher end, one-of-a-kind pieces priced at up to $100.

Haley Bates, a metalsmithing professor who has spearheaded this project since she came to CSU in 2003, said the purpose is to challenge student designers by presenting “real life” conditions that they will be exposed to if they decide to create their own line of production studio jewelry.

The assignment is for students to think of a design that they can replicate easily, create 10 pieces and sell them for $15.

Parry said this means finding the balance between creativity and profitability.

This “introduction to retail” assignment means students need to think about the complexity of their designs, the materials they will use, the time they spend on their creations and the “whims of the consumer” Bates said.

“It is a valuable learning experience,” said senior fine arts major Emily Youmans.

Despite the possible spontaneous whims of consumers, Bates has high hopes for the sale. She said it is going to be really fun and expects a good turnout.

“I think there are going to be a lot of nice pieces, so come early and bring cash,” she said. “We can’t take checks (or credit cards).

A portion of the money made from the sale will go to the Metalsmithing Guild to bring in guest artists to speak to members and to the metal’s department for tools and equipment to keep the art studio up to date said Parry. The majority of the money, however, goes back to the students.

Part of the challenge is for students to make a profit from the sale Bates said.

She said many students have spent more than they are likely to make, but that means customers are getting a bargain.

A lot of the work “would sell for more in a different venue,” she said.

Projects in this semester’s sale from the metal’s department include woven earrings made of sterling silver and steel, bracelets made with bike parts and plugs for stretched ears that are adaptable so women can wear normal earrings when they are in.

For the first time ever in the four-year history of the sale, fibers students are also adding their creations to the mix.

Ear and wrist warmers are offered in a variety of colors, stuffed animal toys and “fun” felt bracelets made of felt balls with felt threading details and silver bead accents.

Prayer shawls in vibrant colors, called tallitot, which are for use in synagogues are also available.

First-year art graduate student Whitney Crutchfield, who made needle felting embellished vintage post cards, said she was really excited that fibers is involved with the sale this semester and hopes they continue to be in the future.

Nick Campbell, a junior fine arts major who will offer sterling silver snowman-shaped earrings at the sale, said, the assignment is good experience for students who want to pursue design after school.

Parry is one such student. His goal is to make a living as an artist. He is already on his way.

He recently opened his own studio at Poudre River Art Center and said metalsmithing has been his main focus since he was “accidentally” introduced to it in 2003 when he took classes at Front Range Community College.

“The sale a great opportunity to support the students,” Bates said. “Buy local.”

Staff Writer Laurel Berch can be reached at

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