BLING 101


  • Ox-Bow 3435 Rupprecht Way Saugatuck, MI, 49453

SCULPT 654 001, 2 weeks, 3 credit hours, Lab Fee $150

Bling—a term that first hit the scene in 1999 introduced by rapper B.G. of the Cash Money Millionaires—has become more than just a household term to describe jewelry. Bling has specific material characteristics, often encompassing gold, platinum, and diamonds and operates at a scale that pushes the limit of wearability. Bling has also become contemporary nomenclature for adornment rooted in the African diaspora – jewelry that is reminiscent of the royal regalia worn by, but not limited to, Ghanaian Kings. Bling is the visual narrative and representation of individualism and style.

This class is for those who are not intimidated by scale. The materials aren't limited to metal. The rules: students have to define their own aesthetic in an enthusiastic, generative, and open style. Bling 101 will explore and define individual subjectivity through materiality and scale. Students will create a wearable portrait of themselves using the material and historical languages of Bling. The projects made in this course are specific to the students’ histories and personae and will be shared in conversations about who and what they represent.


I'm Still Down for You, photo, 201

I'm Still Down for You, photo, 201

Tiff Massey is a mixed-media artist from Detroit, Michigan. She holds an MFA in metalsmithing from Cranbrook Academy of Art, and a BS in Biology from Eastern Michigan University. Her work, inspired by African standards of economic vitality, includes both large-scale and wearable sculptures. Massey counts the iconic material culture of 1980’s hip-hop as a major influence in her jewelry. She uses contemporary observances of class and race through the lens of an African diaspora, combined with material drawn from her experience in Detroit. She is a 2015 Kresge Visual Arts Fellowship awardee as well as a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge winner, and was recognized as a Michigan Chronicle 40 Under 40 award recipient. A staunch advocate for Detroit’s artist community, Massey has served on numerous panels including the Detroit Institute of Art’s Friends of Modern Contemporary Art Lecture series and has participated in several international residencies including Ideas City by The New Museum of New York and with the Volterra-Detroit Foundation. Her work has been widely exhibited in both national and international museums and galleries.