Oh, the Places You’ll Go: The Claftin Jewelry Studio

By Alexandra Johnson, The Dartmouth Staff | 11/5/13 5:48pm

While most installments of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” are written in efforts to encourage exploration of the Upper Valley beyond Hanover, today’s column focuses on a little gem right here on campus. The Claftin Jewelry Studio, tucked away in the basement of the Hop, provides a creative escape from the world of problem sets and papers. If you’re not looking for the jewelry studio, you probably won’t find it ­­­— it occupies a less-trodden basement space in the Hop opposite the Paddock Music Library, but its relative isolation is a big part of its allure. I first discovered the jewelry studio my freshmen spring through word from a friend, and have been back several times since.


Walk into the jewelry studio and you’ll see a big tabletop workspace and a massive array of tools hanging on the walls. Don’t be overwhelmed — the staff is unbelievably friendly and will walk you through every step of the jewelry making process. After signing in, check out the various pieces of jewelry on display throughout the studio for ideas. Hallmark items for beginners include metal bangle bracelets and keychains, you can also engrave letters and symbols onto your pieces to add an unique touch.


After planning out your piece, head to the back room where you will channel your midterms-induced stress into the hammering of your future masterpiece. The variety of hammers and tools in the studio mean your jewelry can take on many different textures. If you are stamping letters onto your piece, don’t be like me and hammer multiple letters in backwards, unless you’re really going for the homemade chic look.


I once read a study that said people who work with their hands tend to be happier than people who sit at desks all day. After going to the jewelry studio this seemed rather obvious — of course it was more fun to whack away with a hammer than to type up notes on my laptop. But beyond the fact that venturing to the jewelry studio means time away from the library, it feels so satisfying to make something with your own hands, watching your piece morph and develop from start to finish. I never leave the jewelry studio with real works of art, but the sense of accomplishment achieved by simply producing a piece of jewelry is equally fulfilling. A trip to the jewelry studio isn’t a major time investment either — you can hammer out a bangle in less than an hour. Though centrally located on campus, going to the jewelry studio is a real escape, and one of the best ways to tap into your creative side.


The Claftin Jewelry Studio is open from 1 – 5 pm Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday; and from 1 – 9 pm Wednesday and Thursday.

Alexandra Johnson, The Dartmouth Staff