A unique combination

7/23/2012 2:19:14 PM

Jaclyn Humphries recently held her first solo exhibition in St. John’s through the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador. Her exhibition incorporated jewellery made from metal and fabric. (Photo by Mark Bennett)

Jaclyn Humphries, 27, has always been drawn to design. With a father showcasing his creativity in construction and a mother who sewed most of their clothing, she believes a talent for design is “kind of just in me.”
Like most people trying to determine her future career, Jaclyn struggled to decide what discipline to study, but it was during her time at College of the North Atlantic (CNA) that she found her niche.
“Originally I was interested in doing interior decorating, but I wasn’t completely sure. Textiles Studies is in town (St. John’s) and it was affordable so I didn’t have to move anywhere and I could test the waters and see if that’s what I actually wanted to do.”
It also helped that Jaclyn was very familiar with the Anna Templeton Centre which hosts the program.
“I used to go down there when I was younger and I used to dye fabric and everything. Then I just checked out the different courses that were available through CNA and I saw the textiles studies program and decided that was the best route to take.”
She enjoyed the creative freedom the program allowed. It helped Jaclyn discover the aspect she would concentrate her efforts on.
“I thought it was really great, really liked the one-on-one, and it was very practical. They teach you a lot about how to get yourself out there – not just about how to create things, but how to market yourself as well,” she says.
“They give you the materials and the ideas and you can go in whatever direction you want to and they help you out with that. I was making jewellery before I started textiles, but just before my final show I found that a lot of my pieces were becoming jewellery pieces. So my last semester in textiles was when I really realized that jewellery is the way that I wanted to go.”
A class field trip led Jaclyn to Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) where she enrolled after graduating from CNA’s Textiles: Craft and Apparel program in 2008.
“I just fell in love with the place and I really wanted to continue on and learn about jewellery. I decided that I wanted to expand on my studies and learn how to do metals and that kind of thing along with textiles.”
She was able to transfer the majority of her credits from CNA and finished the four-year degree program in just two-and-a-half years.  She received a BFA Interdisciplinary, focusing on jewellery design and metalsmithing.
“Starting off (at CNA) in a textile school that was really small and had one-on-one instruction, I found that the textiles program gave me a little bit more practical skills than the NSCAD program, and I was more specialized instead of starting off at NSCAD where you have to do a little bit of everything in the foundation course.”
She put her training to good use this past May when the Craft council of Newfoundland and Labrador featured Jaclyn’s first solo exhibition called Speaking Through My Hands. The council hosts two exhibitions every month and Jaclyn’s exhibition was chosen the first time she submitted her proposal. She had 29 pieces in her show which ran for one month in St. John’s.
“I was preparing and designing for about a year and it took me about a month to put the whole show together.”
Jaclyn feels her jewelry demonstrates a fresh approach to materials. Her rings often showcase a shock of ragged fabric curled up like the petals of a rosebud. By using handmade fabric instead of expensive gems, Jaclyn is attempting to restore fabric’s lost preciousness.
“This series of work incorporates the two mediums that I have been practicing for several years: metal and fabric. The work has been created using flat patterns and forms mirroring the textiles. Fabric is the accent and replaces the customary use of gemstones,” Jaclyn continues.
“My exhibition showcases both the comfort and texture inherent in fabric and its underestimated value.  It also displays the structure, strength, and resistance of metal, contrasting and relating it to fabric elements. This symbolizes for me the comfort, value and power that jewellery has in society, as well as one’s self.”
She feels the exhibition and her unique jewellery were well received, especially since they are very different than other things that are being created in Newfoundland and Labrador right now.
“It’s just the incorporation of the two really different mediums, the fabric and the metal; it’s something that people aren’t used to seeing. I guess that I feel like these are fresh ideas that I’m putting out there.”
Jaclyn hopes to express her creativity in this medium for years to come.
“I definitely put a lot into it so far and I’m going continue on. It’s something that you have to really be driven for and work hard to get where you want to be.”
Media Contact:
Glenda McCarthy
Public Relations Assistant
College of the North Atlantic