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'My own Jewelry Box' | Muskegon hosts larger-than-life art exhibit

"Jewelry Box" was created by Detroit-based artist Tiff Massey and is on display at the Muskegon Museum of Art through February 20.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — Tiff Massey has loved fashion for a long time. She grew up in the 1980s watching her older siblings wearing the latest trends of the time.

"On top of that, my father would get a lot of contemporary jewelry made, and so I would accompany him to the jewelry stores," she said.

It wasn't long before Massey was making jewelry of her own.

"I am a jeweler. That is what my background is in. It's metal smithing, specifically. So I've been fabricating and creating jewelry since '96," she said.

Massey became the first Black woman to earn an MFA in metalsmithing from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. But she wasn't satisfied with what she calls the "individualized experience" of jewelry. 

"I decided to make the jewelry larger so other people can experience the work," she said.

Massey says each piece of large jewelry featured in Jewelry Box took three weeks to a month to make.

"Those are all rings that I've created for myself that I used to wear all at once. Actually, a lot of these elements are things that I used to wear all at one time," she said.

This is Massey's second solo exhibit this year. It's also the first time all of these pieces of art have been on exhibit at the same time.

"It feels really feels good, especially coming from Detroit where jewelers or metal smithing is not really common. So for me to come from 7 Mile and Livernois and to be now presented in museums, it's definitely been an amazing ride."

You can check out Jewelry Box at the Muskegon Museum of Art at 296 W. Webster Avenue through February 20.

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