Date of Award

Spring 6-3-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Jewelry and Metalsmithing

First Advisor

Tracy Steepy

Second Advisor

Katherine Russell

Third Advisor

Breslin Bell


As a jeweler, ally, and sympathetic witness to the traumatic stories of survivors, my work aims to support the process of reconstruction and reintegration for victims and the greater community. To move beyond isolation, resentment, and debilitating helplessness requires care and support. I want my jewelry to act as catalysts in the healing process by straddling both sides of the trauma-induced situation, to create greater awareness and empathy. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence shows that women are more likely to become victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or other forms of physical and psychological abuse in unhealthy emotional relationships. These abusive behaviors can undermine women's self-esteem and sense of self-worth, leading to mental trauma. Women in such emotional relationships may feel powerless, controlled, threatened, fearful, and isolated. These experiences can lead to symptoms of PTSD, such as flashbacks, avoidance, emotional numbness, and insomnia. Trauma can make us shut down, collapse, freeze, or retreat. The sensory world of the victim is often a forbidden zone that they are unwilling to explore.

It is well-known that psychological therapy, medication, social support, and self-care for victims can aid in the healing of psychological injuries. Similarly, could the act of wearing jewelry, as a potential form of therapy, assist in the recovery process? In the following section, I will explore the societal support, opportunities, and environments that vulnerable people may need and how jewelry can serve as a catalyst to bring these fragmented and marginalized memories into awareness and reactions. It's essential to help people overcome the innate tendency to turn away from the painful realities that exist in the world. Developing sensitivity to acknowledge victims' testimonies in order to gain a greater comprehension of trauma is a choice we must make.


View exhibition online: Qianwen (Caroline) Lu, Healing and Empowerment



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