Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — An Indiana University Kokomo fine arts professor earns recognition for her jewelry making, in a show featuring artists from around the country.

Susan Skoczen-SouthardSusan Skoczen

Susan Skoczen, assistant professor of fine arts, received the Pamela Morris Thomford Award for Excellence in Metals in the Best of 2014 Ohio Designer Craftsmen's show at the Ohio Craft Museum, Columbus.

"It's an honor to be included in this exhibit, and then to be among the award winners is exciting," said Skoczen. "The jurors are national experts, and receive entries from all over the country."

The show includes clay, glass, fiber, metal, wood, and mixed media pieces created by members of Ohio Designer Craftsmen, an organization open to anyone interested in American crafts.

Jurors Namita Gupta Wiggers and Nicole Nathan from the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, Oregon reviewed more than 350 entries, and selected 90 works, by 74 artists. They chose two sterling silver and enamel animal-themed broaches Skoczen created for the show.

She has submitted entries to this particular show since she was an undergraduate student, and received the Emerging Artist award in 2003.

While she's always wanted to be an artist, Skoczen almost missed her calling in jewelry. Her high school art teacher owned a jewelry store, and let her students try making jewelry. She made one piece and disliked the process. As a fine arts student at Kent State University, she took a jewelry making class as an elective.

"I fell in love with the materials," she said. "After the first jewelry class, I declared a major in it, and then went into a master's program at the Rhode Island School of Design."

At IU Kokomo, Skoczen launched the jewelry and metalsmithing program.

The Best of 2014 Ohio Designer Craftsmen's show recently closed at the Ohio Craft Museum, and reopens July 12 at the Wassenberg Art Center, Van Wert, Ohio. It will move to the French Art Colony, Gallipolis, Ohio, September 5.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.