MFA Thesis Proposal

Spring, 2015


Bakelite Brooch 2 Asphalt Pendant 2 Fossil Brooch 3
Bakelite Brooch 2 Asphalt Pendant 2 Fossil Brooch 3
Fossil Brooch 2 Fossil Brooch 1
Fossil Brooch 2 Fossil Brooch 1

(Click on a thumbnail to view the piece.)

When I attended UMass Dartmouth, each student was required to submit a “thesis proposal” during the second semester of their second year. In the jewelry department, this proposal consisted of a formal paper specifically outlining what your thesis would be about, and at least three pieces that bolster the claims laid out within said paper. Your advisors (usually three instructors from different areas) all had to give you a pass on both the written portion and the visual portion. This semester was spent working towards this goal, and you were given two chances to pass: once at the midpoint of the semester, and once at the end.

There was sort of an unwritten rule that you were going to fail the first go around, and then use the rest of the semester to figure out where you need to improve for your second attempt. With the exception of maybe one or two students this was true year after year. I was no different, and my first proposal did not pass either metric.

Given my previous work and experience, I decided that I would tackle the multi-faceted, leviathan of a topic known as value. (Or at least a portion of it.) The main area I focused on with this series of work was the hierarchy of materials present throughout both jewelry and elsewhere. Fossil Brooch 1, Fossil Brooch 2, and Bakelite Brooch 2 were the pieces that I created for the first attempt. Both of the fossil brooches were met with a lukewarm response at best, but the Bakelite brooch was well received. I still felt that the fossil brooch had some potential in one form or another, so I took the feedback I had received into consideration and created a successor, simply titled: Fossil Brooch 3. I thought more about what made the Bakelite brooch work as well, and I created a new piece titled Asphalt Pendant 2 as a result.