Kristine Bolhuis flashed a gracious smile of appreciation when a visitor to booth A224 in the Original Art Fair section of the 2017 Ann Arbor Street Art Fair complimented her work.
“It’s always nice to hear,” says Bolhuis, who better get used to hearing it. That was just the opening day of the four-day event and the Ann Arbor resident’s handmade sculptural jewelry certainly stood out as unique at a fair known for creative uniqueness.
“I approach my jewelry as small, wearable sculpture,” says Bolhuis, who received her MFA in Metalsmithing from Cranbrook Academy of Art and also holds a BFA in Metals from Massachusetts College of Art and a BA in History of Art from the University of Michigan. “The pieces are very sculptural. I am working with pieces and parts that I build and assemble into little structural pieces. I love the idea that people can be wearing sculpture as they are walking around town.”
Bolhuis is an independent jewelry maker working out of her studio in Ann Arbor.
Her recent work has focused on lightweight metal constructions that move, flex, and collapse. The work is created at the bench where it is conceived of and constructed from start to finish. It is an exciting process of exploration and discovery.
“The jewelry has an inherent mobility and mutability, which encourages the wearer to manipulate its parts,” she says. “By exploring through handling, the jewelry reveals its essential structures and geometric patterns to the wearer.”
Bolhuis, who finished grad school in 2003, turned her immediate attention to her family and two children. A few years ago she brought her creative artwork back to life and is making her third straight appearance at her hometown art fair.
“I love this art fair because it’s where I am from,” she said, flashing that smile she showcases often while standing behind her amazing creations. “It’s just amazing here. I see so many friends and people I know stopping by. It’s part socializing for me too. It’s such great fun.
“And there are great shoppers here. People come from all over to shop the Ann Arbor Art Fair. It’s a destination for a lot of people and that’s great.”
Bolhuis has received several grants and awards including a Women’s Jewelry Association scholarship, a Niche award for jewelry, and a travel grant from the St. Botolph Club Foundation. Her work has been published in Metalsmith Magazine, 21st Century Jewelry, several of the Lark Books 500 Series, Art Jewelry Today and The Compendium Finale of Contemporary Jewelers 2008. Booth No. A224 at this week’s Art Fair is in Ingalls Mall near the Hill Auditorium and the bell tower.
For more on her work, log onto www.kristinebolhuis.com/