Q&A with Donald Claflin jewelry studio director Jeff Georgantes

by Rebecca Asoulin | 7/23/15 8:15pm

The Dartmouth sat down with Donald Claflin jewelry studio director Jeff Georgantes to talk about how the studio operates over the summer and what makes the space unique.

Does the studio have any special events coming up?

JG: Next Tuesday we’re going to do a pop-up jewelry studio over in Collis during lunchtime. For a couple of hours, people are going to have the opportunity to make beaded bracelets, and it’s free. It’s a way of just promoting the studio and creating fun and creative energy. And another one that’s going to be coming up is right before Fieldstock weekend. The thursday of that weekend—I like to think of as an opening to Fieldstock—we’re going to have Craftfest. The woodshop and the jewelry studio are going to collaborate and have a maker celebration — just making stuff, kind of like a making party. The jewelry studio will have earrings, bracelets, rings and hand- colored buttons.

How will guest artist Deb Stoner’s visit work?

JG: She is a jeweler, a sculptor and a freelance eyeglass designer. She does designs for Donna Karan. She is the head of the jewelry program at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. She is teaching a workshop at a prestigious art school at Maine. We’re lucky enough to be able to divert her before she goes to Haystack [Mountain School of Crafts]. She will be here for one day and during that day she will teach a free workshop just for Dartmouth students and give a slide presentation about her career.

How is the jewelry studio an important space for students?

JG: What’s amazing about this pro- gram is how long it’s been in existence. Student workshops have been in existence for 75 years and the jewelry program for almost 40 years. In that period of time, the world has changed a lot. During life before the internet, the idea of making things seemed to be much more important, but that still lives on. One of the most telling things that happens every year in the spring are seniors who have never had the opportunity to come down here and come down in their last month of being at Dartmouth. They list not knowing about it as one of their biggest regrets once they see how much fun it is.

Why did you get interested in jewelry making?

JG: I was lucky enough to go to a high school with jewelry making. Truthfully I was never really good at anything as a kid, and somehow I made a piece of jewelry, and it just came naturally to me and I became obsessed with it. I went to a college that had jewelry as something you could emphasize as part of the art degree. I basically started as a high school kid and never stopped. I think part of what intrigues me about it is the intricate construction and being able to focus on detail. It’s very different from working big.

What are some interesting projects students are working on?

JG: Doug [Tallmadge ‘18] is working on a project in a physics lab where he is creating this globe that’s going to conduct electricity. And it has to be globe within a globe. It’s been super fun helping him make it. He’s never made anything like this before.