10 Questions for our alumni

Jessica Maclin, BFA, Studio Art - Illustration and Metalsmithing, 2013

Jessica Maclin, BFA, Studio Art - Illustration and Metalsmithing, 2013

1. Why did you choose to attend Grand Valley?

I liked the location of the university, and my tour of the campus left a good impression.

2. How or why did you choose your major or main emphasis area?

I've had a drive to create ever since I was a small child. Whether it was drawing, painting, making my own toys, or sewing my own clothes, I've always enjoyed working with my hands; it only made sense to turn my love of making things into a career.

3. What advice do you have for future students thinking about colleges?

College can be a phenomenal experience, but take a hard look at yourself before choosing to attend.Take time to evaluate your own goals and desires, and make sure college is the proper path for you.

4. What advice do you have for current students thinking about careers?

Don't be afraid to work with your hands! Working at a job that produces a tangible product at the end of the day is incredibly rewarding.

5. What did you do after graduating?

At the time of my graduation, my husband was in the army and stationed in Germany; I joined him there for a brief time, making a point to travel the country extensively before we settled Savannah, GA.

6. What are you doing now?

I'm a bench jeweler and hand engraver for Harkleroad Diamonds & Fine Jewelry, a locally-owned jewelry store in Savannah. I get to spend my days restoring family heirlooms, setting stones, and making custom pieces; I genuinely look forward to each day at the bench.

7. How have you used the skills you developed in your field of study in your life and/or career after GVSU?

Abilities learned in my metalsmithing courses such as torch soldering, three-dimensional design, casting, etc. are all skills I use every day as a jeweler. GVSU's fine arts program also puts an intense focus on good craftsmanship; this is a value really stuck with me and has served me incredibly well in my field of work.

8. What is the best advice you got from an instructor at Grand Valley?

One of my favorite professors always told us to learn how to market ourselves, and to marry somebody with health insurance. I recommend both of these things.

9. What is your favorite memory of being a student at Grand Valley?

A memory that really stands out to me was my first day in the art department's wood shop. My 3D design class was being taught how to use the band saw and I was incredibly nervous. I'd never handled a power tool besides a drill, and felt scared and totally out of my element. By the end of the lesson, however, I had successfully used multiple types of power saws and learned how to properly cut and measure wood. Learning new skills that had previously intimidated me was incredibly rewarding and I fell in love with the workshop that very day.

10. Anything else you would like to share with our Visual and Media Arts Community?

I would just like to express my gratitude to my former professors in GVSU's art department. They offered encouragement, discipline, and guidance, and taught me how to handle constructive criticism. Thanks to them, I experienced personal and artistic growth in ways I never anticipated.

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Image Credit: Jessica Maclin. You can see Jessica's work onĀ MaclinMetal.wordpress.com.

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Page last modified January 28, 2020