Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Lynda LaRoche, M.F.A.

Second Advisor

Dr. Jim Nestor, D.A.

Third Advisor

Dr. Brenda Mitchell, Ph.D.


My thesis exhibition, Elegant Defense, researches the human need to protect our unconscious emotions by creating physical barriers through the use of body adornment. The exhibition focuses on emotional defenses that people unconsciously create as protective devices. When confronted, the viewers and/ or the wearers of such adornments become conscious of their own barriers. This interaction becomes relevant for the viewer on both a visual and emotional level. Concentrating on its wearablity as it reflects the variability of the human psyche through the use of materiality; the jewelry engages both the viewer and the wearer in exploring humanity's unconscious desire to protect what must remain hidden in our psyches. While examining the wearability of jewelry and questioning the traditions, the jewelry of Marjorie Schick, Rachelle Thiewes and Sharon Church support the importance of scale, identity, and the interaction of jewelry as site specific to the body in my work.