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A new home

Jewelry program moves to old RWED building

Malcolm Gorrill
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Dec 01/00) - It was moving day at Aurora College on Monday.

Jewelry program students moved from their former location at the garage to their new digs in the old RWED research laboratory. Tables were hauled in, as well as at least one couch, and lots of boxes.

Gail Raddi was just one of the excited students. She said the new location was "more homey and comfy."

Raddi, a first year student, said she's enjoying the program.

"I'm learning lots and making lots of stuff."

Campus director Miki O'Kane explained that the former location, used by the program since it started at the campus in 1999, didn't work as well as officials had hoped. She said the old RWED building needed just minor renovations to provide a better location.

"We hope to get lots of use out of the building in the future," O'Kane said. "It's a nice working atmosphere."

Jewelry instructor Gail Hodder agreed.

"We have lots more space, and appropriate spacing," Hodder said. "The students just needed their own space."

This year the program has five first-year students and five second-years. Hodder explained there is a third year, devoted mainly to business concerns, but that it's only offered when numbers warrant.

"We have a good group of students, a positive atmosphere this year," Hodder said.

The students will host an open house and sale a week from Saturday. This will allow the general public to view their new location and will also help in fund-raising efforts for a trip next summer.

Hodder explained that, each summer, jewelry students across the NWT and Nunavut take part in an exhibition in the south. The trip being planned for next August is to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia for an exhibition at the Houston Art Gallery.

"If we raise enough money, we'll all go," Hodder said.

Hodder teaches the program along with her husband, Darrin White. She explained she teaches students how to make the jewelry, and she administers the program, while White focuses more on business aspects.

"It's really oriented to teach students how to run their own business when they're done," Hodder said.

Hodder and White are into their third year teaching the program, but they only started in Inuvik in September. Prior to that they were in Repulse Bay and Rankin Inlet.

Hodder explained they wanted to see the Western Arctic.

"There's trees here," she said. "It's pretty neat."