More than a jewelry sale: Friendships also forged in class at JJC
BY DENISE M. BARAN-UNLAND Correspondent November 13, 2013 11:20AM
Bua McLean shapes rocks into jewelry at Joliet Junior College. | Supplied photo
If you go
What: Handcrafted jewelry sale
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday
Where: Joliet Junior College, C-Concourse, 1215 Houbolt Road, Joliet
Etc: Those selling “one-of-a-kind” jewelry at the event will include Bev Decman of Joliet, Renate Tracy of Joliet, Katie Brock of Homer Glen, Bev Docherty of Homer Glen, Cathy Mustari of Homer Glen, Lynn Rozycki of Homer Glen, Jane Davis of Morris, Karen Jankowski of New Lenox, Claudia Goethe of Plainfield, Bua McLean of Seneca, MaryLou O’Brien of Shorewood, and Deb Reynold of Shorewood.
Contact information: Call 815-280-2223 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: December 15, 2013 7:29AM
It’s a lot cheaper than group therapy.
That’s how Jane Davis of Morris feels about the Joliet Junior College metalsmithing class that she has been attending for 17 years. The class will host an on-campus jewelry sale Thursday.
Fifteen women, including class instructor Cathy Mustari of Homer Glen, consistently have repeated that class and have formed deep bonds that go beyond forging together gold, silver, copper, brass, niobium, fabric, beads, glass, stone and various found objects to make earrings, pins, rings, bolos, bracelets, necklaces, beads and ornaments.
“We have shared new grandchildren, surgeries, cancer treatments, laughter and tears,” Davis said. “We bounce ideas off each other and we have so much fun sharing our creations. We return year after year and it’s always so much fun at the end of the summer when we all get back together again and show what we’ve made.”
Mustari was the art director for Channel 32 in Chicago in 1984 when her husband, Bob Mustari, began teaching full time in JJC’s business department and Mustari decided on a whim to take a jewelry class taught by the late Joy Thompson.
Thompson, Mustari said, instilled such a joy for metalworking in Mustari that Mustari quit her job to make and sell jewelry. Mustari eventually returned to school, earned her master’s degree in sculpture and jewelry from Governors State University in University Park, began teaching the class in 2001 and let her jewelry business go.
At the time, the metalsmithing class was a credit course for beginning art students, Mustari said. Two years later, the class’s popularity rose to the extent that the class was always full. So JJC began a second, noncredit course for non-art students to perpetually enjoy.
Why do students keep repeating it?
“It’s a wonderful environment and self-enriching experience,” Mustari said. “Once people get involved, they find out they love it.
“If you were to set up a studio in your home with all that equipment, it would cost thousands of dollars. The students range in age from 40 and up — we had one gal in her 80s — and they just share their ideas. It’s a great group.”
When Bob retired in 2007, Mustari retired, too. However, by the fall of 2008, Mustari missed the class so much, she enrolled and continued as a student.
When the class had no instructor for the fall 2013 semester, Mustari agreed to set aside retirement for one year.
One of Mustari’s students is Bev Decman of Joliet, a former instructor for the metalsmithing class. Mustari said she continues to learn from Decman.
“Bev is so knowledgeable, talented and unassuming, you just like being around her,” Mustari said. “She’s the one that said, ‘Cathy, why don’t you go back and get your master’s? You could teach this class.’ ”
Also on Thursday, JJC food services will host its annual Thanksgiving Buffet from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in A Building on the main campus. The cost is $11 per person.
In addition, the JJC Bookstore’s “Holiday Happenings” event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Features include seasonal gifts and ready-made and custom gift baskets as well as food and dip sampling. For more information, call the bookstore at 815-280-6767.