Guest artist hosts jewelry workshop at GVSU

GVL / Courtesy - Beverly Seley 
Made by Anne Havel

GVL / Courtesy – Beverly Seley Made by Anne Havel

Nicole Bobb

Guest artist Anne Havel visited Grand Valley State University Monday, Oct. 24 and Tuesday, Oct. 25 to present a lecture and host a workshop geared toward students of all majors interested in jewelry and metalsmithing on using enameling as an artistic form.

Enameling is a means of adding color to otherwise dull pieces of metal for the purpose of jewelry making. Havel first became interested in jewelry making in 1995 after visiting friends in California and stopping into various bead and craft stores.

“We don’t even recall why and we bought handmade beads. I was kind of fascinated by them,” Havel said. ”I started subscribing to (the store) Bead and Button and then I discovered a different type of glass–borosilicate. I liked to buy these beads from people and I liked to make jewelry from it and then I thought I should learn how to make them and so that’s what I did in the late ‘90s.”

Havel travels all across the country teaching about jewelry making and enameling. She travels about 30,000 miles a year from April to early March, taking off four months every year to created new pieces of work.

“I try to bring in someone every third year so a student in the course four years will have the experience (with enameling),” said GVSU jewelry and metalsmithing professor Beverly Seley. “I really didn’t know much about her work before we talked and I just loved her sincerity, her honesty, the clarity in her mind about what she does and why. She’s extremely thoughtful.”

Havel served as a chief financial officer in Manhattan for many years until she lost her job in March of 2001. After that, Havel began making jewelry full time.

All of Havel’s enamel pieces have to do with environmental or social commentary. Sometimes, her themes are not always obvious, but the titles of her works usually give viewers insight into her creative intentions.

“(Viewers) have an understanding of potentially what the piece is about and possibly get the feel of it. I do have pretty poignant titles for them that would make sense based on the drawings which are all abstract. It’s my attempt at starting a dialogue on things that disturb me,” Havel said.

“The bigger thing is to be open to new experiences and or new techniques because you never know when you’re going to remember something that’s the perfect technique for your idea,” Seley said. “Also with this, as hard as you try to control it, you can’t control it. You get mistakes, you get uglies and in the process, I think it stirs your creativity. It involves risk-taking and then problem-solving.”

Havel holds the position of treasurer in the Society of North American Goldsmiths and the Enamelist Society. In the future, she would like to have some of her work displayed in a museum and to be published in a major book.