Meet Julie Sanford

Workspace at Studio JSD
Workspace at Studio JSD

Metalsmith and memory maker

By Mary Lu Laffey

Conversations at Studio JSD, Jewelry, Makerspace and Gallery, waver between “Can I have my saw back?” to “What time does class start?” Julie Sanford easily handles both questions.

A metalsmith, Sanford has a wealth of experience in the world of custom jewelry design and a degree in art education from Western Michigan University. Her workbench oversees a grouping of communal tables and accessible storage for the tools of the trade that include an anvil or two.

“We really have a shared studio,” Sanford said of the expansive, light-filled work area used by resident artists. Students, who sign up for one, or a series of her classes, or those presented by visiting artists, use the same area. One of the most popular beginner classes is a three-hour spinner-ring class.

“This is my third studio space,” she said. The north entrance leads directly into the work area. The south entrance opens into a gift shop with displays of one-of-a-kind items from metal sculptures and jewelry to flatware.

The special order sterling and stone flatware was Sanford’s contribution in a collaborative art installation for ArtPrize 2015. The Danish modern and Prairie-style inspired entry was titled, “Feast.”

She recently finished a kinetic broach, an entry in a Society of North American Goldsmiths Challenge. She called it, “Don’t feed the troll.” It is en route to a show in Asheville, North Carolina.

A native of Kalamazoo, Sanford relocated to Grand Haven 17 years ago. She considers herself fortunate to be among the few who have been able to “quit their day job” to pursue their dreams.

By offering classes at Studio JSD, she and her colleagues help others do the same.

Studio JSD
Jewelry, Makerspace and Gallery
219 N. Seventh St., Ste. 4, Grand Haven

Julie Sanford at work
Julie Sanford at work

About Julie Sanford

Julie Sanford, director of Studio JSD in Grand Haven, is an award-winning jewelry designer who teaches visual art. She has led classes and workshops at The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Oxbow-Summer Institute of The Chicago Institute of Arts, Kendall College of Art and The Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco. She serves as vice president of the Michigan Silversmiths Guild.